Phoenix: Brendan Gaughan preview

GAUGHAN, SOUTH POINT RACING RIDING TEXAS MOMENTUM INTO PHOENIX LAS VEGAS, NV (November 5, 2007) -- Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team were so close to winning last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway that they could taste their first...

GAUGHAN, SOUTH POINT RACING RIDING TEXAS MOMENTUM INTO PHOENIX

LAS VEGAS, NV (November 5, 2007) -- Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team were so close to winning last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway that they could taste their first victory of the 2007 season.

But an untimely caution on a green-white-checkered finish froze Gaughan in the runner-up position and didn't give him a chance at taking the lead and the win. Now, Gaughan and his South Point Racing team are hungrier than ever to get to Victory Lane.

"This team can win and we want to win before this season is over," Gaughan said. "We want to win for Chevrolet because they have helped us out so much more than was ever promised. We want to win in our final two races from the West coast. We just want to get back in the win column because it has been a while for this team, and I know that we have the talent to be there."

With two races remaining, Gaughan is just 80 points out of 10th spot in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver's points standings. Gaughan believes his team will break the top 10 at the end of the season.

"Right now we are kind of hitting a stretch, and hopefully call it a peak," said Gaughan, who has a second-place (Texas) and eighth-place finish (Atlanta) in the last two races.

"We are going to try to keep running as good as we have been and keep that momentum. All we have right now is the present, and we have two races to get to that top 10 in the final points. I'd like to get us two more top-five finishes. No matter what the other teams do, I think we can get it."

Gaughan knows that getting a top-five at Phoenix might be a tall order. In six previous starts at the one-mile oval, Gaughan has a best finish of 12th-place (2003) and three 13th-place finishes.

"For some reason in the trucks, this team has just never put together a great run there," said Gaughan, who will pilot T-15 at Phoenix. "Our best run was 2003. We were killing everybody and we had a problem and ended up finishing 12th, but that's it.

"It's a driver's style race track, and it's a very fun place to race -- I just haven't done well there in the past. There's no better time like the present to change that. We have a lot on the line and a lot to prove in these next two races."

And Gaughan can't think of a better place to prove how far this team has come than with his first top-10 or even top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway this weekend. For Gaughan, it's a matter of pride -- he considers Phoenix part of his home turf.

"It's on the West coast, and our home turf for the next two races is still right here in Las Vegas and the West coast," Gaughan said. "We always like to brag when it comes to Phoenix and California and Vegas and say that this is our side of the woods. We don't want the other teams to come in here and show us up -- we want to protect our turf."

A good finish would help better his team's point position and it would be a great birthday present to several people who are affiliated with the South Point Racing team.

Tire specialist and jack man Chris Justice will celebrate his birthday on Friday while front tire carrier Harley Rauch will have his birthday on Sunday. Sunday is also Gaughan's new wife, Tatum and her twin sister Tiffany's birthday.

"Our team is really tight knit group," Gaughan said. "We're each other's second family. It would make for a pretty cool birthday celebration for everyone if we could come out of Phoenix with another solid finish."

Gaughan To Meet, Talk with Local High School Students

Before taking to the track at Phoenix International Raceway, Gaughan will meet with 60 students at Buckeye Union High School in Buckeye, Ariz., on behalf of the APS Power Players Program. The APS Power Players Program, which was launched in April 2005, supports the Arizona Character Educational Foundation in promoting character education through the state of Arizona.

The APS Power Players program arranges assemblies like the school meeting with Gaughan to help teach students the basic principles of character using the "Six Pillars of Character" -- Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.

Gaughan, who attended Georgetown University from 1993-1997, has visited with high school students in several race markets this year for similar assemblies, which he hopes helps both the teachers and the students.

"I'm not really a role model -- look at me -- but what I do is I have fun with kids," Gaughan said. "There's no such thing as a bad kid, they are only taught to be bad. If you can get to a kid when they are young, and I can maybe affect one -- just one of the kids that I go and talk to throughout the year -- to me that is a special deal.

"I was fortunate enough to have a great family growing up and I was fortunate enough to have John Thompson coach me in college. I was fortunate to have some great people in my life to mentor me and kind of show me around.

"I just like talking to kids -- I'm on the same wave length. Mentally, I'm 13 years old. It works for me. I get to hang out, and I get to tell them a little bit about some of the fun stories that I have been able to be involved in. If you can affect one of them out of that class -- I would love to get more than one -- but one is all that it takes."

-credit: spr

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Brendan Gaughan , John Thompson