Tuesday, July 29, 2003 DODGE THIS Teleconference Brendan Gaughan , No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram WHAT IS YOUR TIMETABLE FOR GETTING TO WINSTON CUP? "I really don't have one. I'm pretty happy with Dodge. They've been really happy with me.
Tuesday, July 29, 2003
DODGE THIS Teleconference
Brendan Gaughan , No. 62 Orleans Racing Dodge Ram
WHAT IS YOUR TIMETABLE FOR GETTING TO WINSTON CUP?
"I really don't have one. I'm pretty happy with Dodge. They've been really happy with me. Our program has come along out here in Vegas. You've got to have a great race team, and you've got to be ready to go to that level. Right now, Craftsman Trucks are where I'm at. At the end of this year, we're working with Dodge on trying to figure out what I can do next year. I'd like to come to Craftsman Trucks one more year and maybe run just a few Cup races to get ready for it, but I don't really have a timetable. I'm pretty happy right now."
DIDN'T YOU REALLY WISH YOU WERE IN CUP LAST YEAR?
"I'm pretty happy right now. We're talking about a team that's based in Las Vegas that has the Craftsman Truck Series lead. We have four wins this year. Every time it seems like Ryan wins I win either that weekend or very close, so I need Ryan to win more because that seems like a good omen for me."
WAS TRUCK SERIES TITLE A GOAL AT BEGINNING OF THE YEAR?
"I'm a big pain in the &*$. I think I can win a championship every year. I believewe built the race team for it. You find me any racer that thinks he can't win the championship and he ain't going to race. My guys have worked their butts off. They've worked harder than anybody. At this point it's a good, old-fashioned Wild West shootout. We've got 12 races and we're in a tie with a team that hasn't had any wins. Our manufacturer is atop the manufacturers' standings. We've built a great race team. I definitely think we can run for this championship."
IS THERE A CHANCE YOU'LL RUN A CUP RACE THIS SEASON?
"We may. We're working on some things. We have one nice Dodge in our shop. With any luck we will, but right now we're running unsponsored on the Craftsman Truck side. All our money and all our focused has to be focused on where we eat, and that's winning this championship. I'd like to run one or two this year. We'll see. We don't know if we've got the money."
COMMENT ON VALUE OF HAVING A COLLEGE DEGREE IN RACING
"From my standpoint, I played sports in college. I think that definitely helps our race team. Ryan has an engineering degree, and that has to help. I don't understand all the engineering aspects of the sport, but I understand the sports side of it and the people side of it. I had one of the greatest times in my life when I was there, and I wouldn't trade the college experience for anything. I don't care if it took away from four years of me racing or not."
DOES TRUCK SERIES SCHEDULE APPEAL TO YOU?
"I want to get to Cup on day, but the trucks are a lot of fun. Guys like Ted Musgrave and Bobby Hamilton seem to be pretty happy that they don't have to be like Ryan Newman and race the whole deal every week. It takes a toll on people, but my goal is to get up there and do that. I think the reason we're gaining popularity is because what we drive doesn't look like Winston Cup cars. When we run a companion event with Winston Cup, it's not like Busch cars that look exactly like Winston Cup. We're something totally different. We're one of the major divisions in NASCAR, but it's not a car. It's a truck, and that gives the fans something else to watch. Last week we stunk up the show, but you'll have that once in awhile. We definitely feel like we're a throwback to the Winston Cup Series. We've got big windshields. We've got big noses, and we've got a lot less rear downforce, and that makes it a lot more interesting but it does give us the ability to pass more than you're seeing in Winston Cup right now where they're all looking for track position. Guys in our series can come from the back to the front. It's not easy anywhere, but you can pass in ours."
ARE YOU TRYING TO MAKE THE SERIES BORING?
"We're not trying to make it boring. Every once in awhile, no matter where you race, you've got a point to prove. There are egos involved. We were really good on Saturday at Michigan, and that was unbelievable. Some days you don't want to let up. Some days you get in that killer mode and you want to finish strong instead of just finishing. That's what we were able to do last weekend. You've got to do it while you can because one of these days you're not going to be able to do it. You've got to enjoy it while you've got it."
"I couldn't see anybody. I didn't think they had stopped. We had a great pit stop. At one point I asked where they were and my crew chief said 12 seconds behind. Ryan had a mirror full of Kurt (Busch) at Pocono. I'm sure he'd rather had a mirror full of nothing. We had that mirror full of nothing (at Michigan) and it felt pretty good."
DID YOU BET ON YOURSELF TO WIN AT MICHIGAN?
"No, the problem is when you win like we've been winning the odds go down. My odds right now have dropped way too low for me to bet on it. When you're 3-2 to win a race it doesn't work. When you're 10-1, now you're talking."
WHAT DO YOU THINK ODDS ON NEWMAN WINNING CUP SHOULD BE?
"Well, it's like Ryan said. Anything can happen. Ryan's hot. If he keeps winning like that, if I was a good, old-fashioned odds maker, I'd keep it at about 13-1 right now just because of how hot he is."
DOES WINNING BREED WINNING?
"Any time you have momentum it helps the team. It isn't necessarily my side of it. It always feels good to win. It always feels good to do well. It's more what it does for the team. The guy who sweeps the floor in our shop is excited when we win. It's exciting for the whole team. That's what makes the team better. When Ryan goes out and wins, everybody in Penske's shop knows they've got the best job out there and they get excited and want to do it again. We are the guys who get to be on teleconferences and talk about it afterwards, but those are the guys that it means the most to."
WHY IS YOUR TEAM UNSPONSORED?
"We lost a sponsor late last year and that hurt us. We had NAPA Auto Parts and lost them, so we didn't have time to go search for one. The economy is in a tough spot right now. Some Winston Cup teams can't find sponsors. One of our deals is we're doing it to ourselves. We put Orleans on the hood and quarterpanels. The Orleans is giving us money right now, so we're going to take care of the people who are taking care of us. We would like a sponsor. Maybe we're not actively looking hard enough. We don't have a fulltime company looking for a sponsor for us. I don't think it's bad for the series. We have another manufacturer coming in next year, and I think that's going to spice some things up. We've got the possibility for Dodge to win their first driver championship since way back. I don't think it's bad for the series. Maybe we're doing some things wrong. Maybe I'm just a jerk and nobody likes me. I think it would be a steal of a deal."