Indy IRP: Brandon Whitt preview

'Now what?' Brandon Whitt and the ...

'Now what?'

Brandon Whitt and the #38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra team head to the .686-mile Indianapolis (Ind.) Raceway Park, for Friday's Power Stroke Diesel 200; the 15th race in the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.

Coming off a stellar performance at Memphis two weeks ago, the 22-year old Whitt scored his first career NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series win and pole, both in the same night. Sitting in second when the green flag dropped on a green-white-checkered finish, Whitt stayed with wily veteran Ron Hornaday enough to take advantage on the final turn, with a thrilling pass, and picked up the "Elvis Trophy" in victory lane at Memphis.

A native of El Cajon, Calif., Whitt is driving his second full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Known for his penchant of being fast and loving speed, Whitt is considered one of the top up-and-coming young drivers in stock car racing. His truck his owned by Red Horse Racing, which consists of general manager Marty Gaunt, a winning veteran leader of motorsports teams; Jeff Hammond, a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship crew chief now serving as an analyst for FOX Sports; and Tom DeLoach, a former Mobil Corp. executive who, with Hammond, owns and operates PIT Instruction and Training LLC, the number one pit crew training center in the world.

The Cure Autism Now Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding autism research and accelerating the pace of scientific progress toward effective treatments and a cure. The organization is the largest private funder of biological research in autism, providing more than $20 million in grants since its inception in 1995.

The thoughts of McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra driver Brandon Whitt heading into Indy:

"Someone asked me the other day, 'Now what?' Easy-- we want to do it again. The off weekend was fine, but, to be honest with you, I was ready to get back out there and keep the momentum going. I didn't want to stop and have the extra week to think about it. We're on a high note right now, and I just want to keep this going. It's great what a win like that will do for the team's confidence.

"It's amazing how fast it seems everything has happened over the past couple of weeks. I keep thinking, a few weeks ago at Kentucky, was our first top 10. Then we qualified on the pole at Memphis and went onto win our first race. In a very short period of time, we went from just trying to break into the top 10 to sitting in victory lane. It's something that I can't describe.

"But as my crew chief, Jamie (Jones), has always said, 'We're only as good as our next race.' It's weird really -- when you've had a bad race or some bad luck keep you from getting a good finish and believe me, we've had our share of those, you say that to yourself as a 'pick-me-up.' You can't spend all your time dwelling on what went wrong in the last race; you just have to move forward. Now, on the other side, that saying is meant to bring you back to Earth and keep you focused.

"It's true. There have been a lot of people that have patted me on the back over the past week, because we got our first victory. But, they'll all be patting someone else after this weekend. Well-- it'd be nice if they were stilling patting me, but you know what I mean. It's all about keeping an even keel. Only a few will remember Memphis after this Friday at IRP, and the same can be said about IRP once we go to Nashville. However, I do know this: there isn't a better feeling in the world than lifting that trophy in victory lane. It's definitely a place I want to visit again and soon.

"Memphis and IRP are quite similar. We're bringing the same truck to IRP that we won with at Memphis two weeks ago. IRP is a short track, a lot of brakes. This is the same truck we bring to every short track. We went and tested Caraway right before we left for Memphis and we had a great test there; really tried a lot of things and learned a lot in the process. I believe most of what we learned at Caraway should apply to IRP as well. Hopefully we can keep the McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra in the top five or top 10 at IRP all night and give ourselves a chance at the end."

-rhr-

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Ron Hornaday Jr. , Brandon Whitt
Teams Red Horse Racing