Fontana: Gaughan - Thursday Ford interview

Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford F-150 makes his seventh appearance at California Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Gaughan captured the pole position and finished second in 2003. He talks...

Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford F-150 makes his seventh appearance at California Speedway in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Gaughan captured the pole position and finished second in 2003. He talks about racing in California, what it will take to win and working with Circle Bar Racing teammate, Rick Crawford.

BRENDAN GAUGHAN - No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford F-150

ON RACING AT CALIFORNIA. "Back when I had the South Point Racing team, we called every west coast race 'our coast' and we had to defend our turf. Now driving for Circle Bar Racing, I can't claim that this is the race teams' turf, because I think they have Texas and Alabama to claim. But I still feel a very big connection. This is the west coast, all my friends and family will be here. A lot of my fans are based here in southern California. I grew up racing for Walker Evans just down the street on 60 and Market in Riverside. So, I spent a lot of time around this area growing up. I've had a lot of success here at California Speedway. This is the track that taught me to finish a race. I had a huge wreck, broke two ribs and burned an eyebrow off. I learned then that I had to finish races. I was fast, but I was too out of control. I came back the next year and beat Jon Wood, for a win here at California and won the championship that year in the NAPA Auto Parts car, the Winston West Series. I had a bunch of great runs here. I should have won this race in the Craftsman Truck Series twice, got a flat one year. Actually, I got a flat two years in a row with two laps to go, I had a tire go down and I finished second and third in those races. Steve Park won for the South Point team in 2005. That was a huge day for a team to get Steve Park a win. I have a lot of great memories here whether it's in racing, out of racing or just growing up."

IS THIS YOUR YEAR TO WIN? "I think so. Circle Bar Racing has done a lot with these bodies on our Ford F-150 pick up trucks. We went to the Atlanta test and our MAXX Force Ford wasn't very good. We couldn't get it in the race track. It felt really loose. Then Cowboy [Kevin Starland, No. 14 crew chief] and Bryan Berry [No. 10 crew chief] went back to the shop and did some work to make our trucks better. We've got a great fab shop at Circle Bar. The crew chiefs went back, made adjustments. We haven't tested it, but I know it is similar to what I've driven in other places and with the Roush Yates motors that we have, I feel like I have the best motor program that I've ever had. The body is going to perform like we want, the engine is going to do something that I've never had and I want to bring International a win here because this is my coast and it's time for us to get back on track. Plus, this race airs on FOX. If you want to jump start things and getting International their press and show that we have solid Ford trucks, you come here and win on FOX, you're going to do great things for everybody."

YOU AND CRAWFORD HAD A FAST TRUCKS IN DAYTONA. CAN ANYTHING BE TRANSFERRED HERE? "No, Daytona is so separate on every account. You have a smaller restrictor plate there and here we have a little bigger restrictor plate. You build those bodies just for Daytona. The trick is so many people want to slick their stuff up and put no downforce. Bryan Berry and I don't believe in that. We put a ton of downforce in our International Ford last weekend. This weekend we build a MAXX Force Ford that has a ton of downforce. The downforce makes you feel good through the corner and when you have an engine that has the horsepower and torque of a Roush Yates, they'll make up for that down force and I'll gain on them through the corner."

DAYTONA WAS A HANDLING TRACK. WHAT KIND OF TRACK IS CALIFORNIA? "California has a lot of handling but it's unique track. It's a very fun track to drive. It's multi-groove like Michigan. California has grown, where originally it was one or two grooves and everybody thought it wasn't going to expand. I've been all the way up at the wall here and then at the next lap been at the white line. It's a fun race track and it takes a ton of handling. You get to the center of these corners, especially one and two, it's really tight, you turn the wheel and you get loose in the center. Then as your coming off the corner, the nose flies a little bit. You get really tight off and you fly the nose and you're almost hitting the wall as you're coming out of two. You go into three and four and you've seen so many guys go into three here and lose it on their own. They'll go in the corner and the rear steps out on them and they spin on their own because this track has a ton of handling in it. That's why the Circle Bar Racing team put downforce in our truck. We think that's they way its going to make us handle around here."

WHAT DOES THE TRUCK NEED TO WIN HERE? "I believe you have to have downforce. It's going to take a downforce truck to win this race. It's going to take a really good engine package, which I'm glad we have. It always takes a little bit of luck in racing to be in the right place at the right time. But it's going to take patience. This race is not like Daytona where everybody is going to be bunched up the whole time. This is going to be a track where there is spacing; you can pick and choose your places and who your race next to. Plus you don't put yourself in a situation where you could be in trouble."

YOU'VE HAD JUST OVER A MONTH WORKING WITH A TEAMMATE, HOW HAS THAT BEEN? "Rick and I have been teammates for a long time in a way. We've been racing buddies and we always work to help each other. My first NASCAR Craftsman Series truck win came in 2002 at Texas and the reason I won that race was because Rick Crawford lifted to let me beat him back to the start-finish line, back in the old race to the caution days. The year he won Daytona, we always joked saying that we were wingmen because we went overseas to Germany and Italy and we made a joke about being teammates and wingmen at Daytona. We followed each other for 95 of 109 laps that day. We've always worked well together, now we just get to put that to the test. We get to share information. I drive totally different than Rick. I drive up high and Rick drives down low. Rick doesn't like much downforce and I like a lot of downforce. So, Rick helped me out at Daytona where I've probably had one the best trucks ever at Daytona and I'm hoping that we can bring some of my stuff to help him here at California and some of these tracks. Then when we get to Martinsville and Mansfield, I'm hoping he can do something to help me."

MORE ON RACING AT CALIFORNIA. "I love this track. I really enjoy racing here because it's such a wide place. For the Craftsman Truck Series, this is a marquee race where the rookies get to see what it is like to be on a big pit road with big pit stalls and a very fast pit road speed. You're going to deal with a speed here - faster than Daytona at top speed. When you go into turn one here, you're really hauling the mail. It's a big, fast place that you can get yourself in trouble if you're not paying attention."

HOW WILL WEATHER BE A FACTOR HERE? "I don't worry about it. As long as it is nice and cool, that always helps track temperature. We're racing in the afternoon here this year. So, that means it's going to be in the heat of the day. The last couple of years we've had some night races and afternoon races. So being in the heat of the day, that means the track will be slippery and not have as much grip. So we really need to work hard on your handling in practice."

-credit: ford racing

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About this article
Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Steve Park , Rick Crawford , Jon Wood , Brendan Gaughan