*Gaughan resurgence coming at a good time *Drivers and teams staying busy during two week break DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 24, 2006) -- For Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Orleans Dodge) 2003 was a banner year - six wins and a fourth-place finish ...
*Gaughan resurgence coming at a good time
*Drivers and teams staying busy during two week break
DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (July 24, 2006) -- For Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Orleans Dodge) 2003 was a banner year - six wins and a fourth-place finish in championship standings (he finished 40 points behind champion Travis Kvapil) after leading the point standings for much of the second-half of the season -- but it was also a trying year.
Leading the points heading into the final race of the season, Gaughan was poised to win his first NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series title. A mid-race incident dashed those title hopes.
Fast forward to this season where Gaughan has mostly struggled. After his Orleans Racing team decided to scale back to a one truck team this year, Gaughan has been the top finishing Dodge in several races, but that hasn't always meant a top-10 finish.
By Gaughan's own admission, trying to regain his near-championship form has been tough.
"It is frustrating, but at the same time it's what you [race] for," said Gaughan, whose team owner is his father Michael. "It came easy for a few years. What we've gone through in 2005 and 2006 makes you remember why you did it. I've learned to better appreciate when times are good."
The credit for Orleans Racing's turnaround has been attributed to team chemistry. Gaughan and crew chief Tony "Rambo" Liberati made some changes after last season and the team has started to click.
"We've been together longer," said Gaughan. "The guys are working very well in the shop. All the deals coming together have really led to the, minor turnaround that we've had."
As the series goes into a two-week break, the Orleans team has a different idea.
"Our plans are there is no break," said Gaughan. "We've got a test at Chicagoland with Dodge. What we do is racing. We don't have time for a break right now.
"We thought we'd give the boys time to go to Mexico to play for awhile, but we don't have time because we're working too hard."
After back-to-back top-five finishes at Kansas and Kentucky, Gaughan is proving he's not ready to back down.
"I definitely think we have a shot at finishing in the top 10," said Gaughan, currently 14th in points. "Ron Hornaday (No. 33 KHI Chevrolet) was behind us six weeks ago and now he's sixth. It's just going to take solid, consistent top-10 and top-five runs.
"Once you run top in the five every week and you're consistently there, you battle for wins. And we will win this year."
NEWS AND NOTES, PART II
Drivers taking advantage of off weeks ... Timothy Peters (No. 04 Dodge Motorsports Dodge) is spending this week returning to a track where he has won a championship. On July 29, Peters will run a Late Model in the NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series at South Boston (Va.) Speedway, where he won the 2004 NASCAR Dodge Weekly Series Late Model track championship. ... Raybestos Rookie of the Year candidate Boston Reid (No. 25 Woodard Racing Dodge) is spending his break moving into his first house. "It's going to be nice to have a break. My girlfriend and I are going to spend the off weeks decorating and buying furniture." ... Jack Sprague (No. 60 Con-Way Freight Toyota) supported owner Jeff Wyler's other team, the Cincinnati Reds, this past Saturday night. Sprague threw out the first pitch when the Reds hosted the Milwaukee Brewers. Wyler is part of the ownership group of the Reds. ... Gaughan is going to participate in Ken Schrader's annual "M&M's Night Of Stars" on August 2nd at I-55 Raceway in Pevely, Mo. Along with Schrader, he will join drivers Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Steve and Kenny Wallace, David Reutimann (No. 17 Team Tundra Toyota), Rick Crawford (No. 14 Circle Bar Ford) and retired NASCAR champion Rusty Wallace. ETC. ... HT Motorsports announced that Danny Rollins is the new crew chief for driver Chad Chaffin and the No. 59 Harris Trucking Ford. ... Johnny Benson (No. 23 Exide Toyota) won the Outlaw Super Late Model race at Kalamazoo Speedway last week. ... Several drivers were at Martinsville Speedway over the weekend either running in the NASCAR Busch Series race or helping out. The list includes Aric Almirola (No. 75 FedEx Express Chevrolet), Dennis Setzer (No. 85 Flex Fuel E85 Chevrolet), Ron Hornaday (No. 22 Kevin Harvick, Inc. Chevrolet), Kevin Grubb (#15 Spondivits Bar & Grill) and team owner Darrell Waltrip.
What: Power Stroke Diesel 200 by Ford and International (Race 15 of 25).
Where: O'Reilly Raceway Park at Indianapolis.
When: 8:45 p.m. ET, Aug. 4.
Track layout: .686 -mile paved oval.
Race length: 200 laps /137.2 miles.
Posted awards: $519,687
TV: SPEED Channel, 8:30 p.m. (ET).
Radio: MRN, XM Satellite.
2005 winner: Dennis Setzer
2005 polesitter: Dennis Setzer
Top 10 drivers: 1.Todd Bodine 2,161. 2. David Reutimann 2,044. 3. Johnny Benson 1,998 4. Rick Crawford 1,930. 5. Ted Musgrave 1,913. 6. Ron Hornaday Jr. 1,905. 7. Jack Sprague 1,898. 8. David Starr 1,872. 9. Terry Cook 1,864. 10. Dennis Setzer 1,835.
Pre-race schedule (all times local): Friday--Practice 10 a.m. -- 11:00 a.m. Rookie Practice 11:30 a.m. -- 12 noon. Final Practice 12 noon -- 1 p.m. Qualifying 5:30 p.m. Trucks impounded after qualifying.