This Week in Ford Racing Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford F-150, is the hometown favorite for this weekend NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This will be his 10th ...
This Week in Ford Racing
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 10 International MAXX Force Diesel Ford F-150, is the hometown favorite for this weekend NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. This will be his 10th career start at the mile-and-a-half track where he has one win, one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Gaughan talks about the importance of racing at home and with his Circle Bar Racing team.
THIS WEEKEND MARKS YOUR 10TH CAREER START AT LAS VEGAS MOTOR SPEEDWAY, PLUS IT'S YOUR HOME TRACK. WHAT DO YOU LIKE ABOUT RACING IN YOUR HOME TOWN? "I love the original race track. That was where I had all my laps and, of course, got my one Craftsman Truck Series win there. I had some great memories of the old track, but the new track is phenomenal. The track Bruton Smith built is second to none. Find another place in the world that has a garage area like what he built there; you're not going to find it. And the track itself is very raceable. From the first race ever, I was three wide and we were the first race on it. I can't wait to get back there this year and see how much better after a year of the asphalt curing."
IN THE PREVIOUS 11 RACES AT LAS VEGAS, FIVE OF THEM HAVE BEEN WON FROM THE POLE. THE RACE YOU WON WAS FROM THE POLE. DOES THAT MEAN TRACK POSITION IS VERY IMPORTANT? "No, with the old track, people used to say that. They didn't think it was very racy but that day we won from the pole that was just the fact that we had a great race truck. Had I blown an engine and started in the back, we still would have won that race. We could pass anybody that day. I think that's what happens a lot of the time and that's why the old Vegas kind of got the reputation that it was not a racy race track. Whereas when you had you stuff figured out at Vegas, you were fast. Qualifying or race trim, you were fast. Travis Kvapil won from the pole last year when the track was new, but I think that holds true to the same theory. I think now, you can win from anywhere on that track. You can run two- and three- -- I'd be willing to bet this year -- four-wide once we go there. I don't think that is a trend that will continue at Vegas."
TALK ABOUT RACING ON THE HIGH BANKS OF VEGAS. "I love high banks. My first race ever was at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, in NASCAR, on the big track. I like the high-speed places. And the first time I got to go to the Texases and the Charlottes, the Atlantas, the bigger, faster, higher-banked places; it just fits my style. If you go back to my off-road career, the tracks I was always better at were the bigger faster places. The little tight places never really suited my style. So I just always liked the big, fast, scary, people-always-nervous-to-go-that-fast places. It's not a no- fear thing. My style always fit that. Anything that I've ever raced, I've always been better on the bigger, faster places - even from my days running dirt ovals. The bigger the dirt oval, the better I've done. I like the bigger, faster places. There's just something about my driving style that fits the bigger tracks. It lets you roll through with a lot of speed. The whole hard braking and all that has never really worked out for me."
WHAT WOULD IT MEAN TO WIN AT LAS VEGAS AGAIN? "Right now with how hard the Circle Bar team has been working, especially on the 10 team side, not just Rick's but the whole team, it would mean the world to the team. We've gone through a rough patch and we just need to get back on that positive side of things. To do it at Vegas, personally, is massive. It's my hometown, 60-, 70-, 80,000 people show up to that race. It would probably be one of the most special race wins or moments in my life to be able to get that again. With how hard we've been working, with some of the struggles we've had lately, to get off the slide like that and get a win at Vegas would be just monstrous."
THE UPDATED TRACK CONFIGURATION DEBUTED IN 2006. "I liked it last year. It was fantastic. I did like the old track. I had more laps than anybody on the old surface, but this new track, last year I was four-wide and nobody else would run that way. In the end, it was typical luck for me; last year we got a flat under caution. It's just the stuff that happens to me and Bryan Berry [crew chief] right now; it dumbfounds us. Hopefully we can go out there and run as good as we did last year and not have the flat under caution and see if we can't win this."
HOW IMPORTANT IS IT TO RACE WELL AT LAS VEGAS? "I always look forward to this race. This is the one that I told all the guys and girls on the team, I told everybody, this is the one that I really want to perform at. I want to perform at every race every year, but if there's one that you can spend that little bit of extra time massaging the truck and doing the little things, this is the one to do it on because I really want to win this one."
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE RACING FOR AN ORGANIZATION OTHER THAN YOUR FAMILY-OWNED TEAM AT LAS VEGAS? "It will have a little bit of a different feel just because it will be the first time that we're not going to be in our own stuff, but it's Las Vegas and it's still my home. It's still where my family lives, so everybody will be at the race. Even though I'm not driving the South Point truck - I'm in a Circle Bar truck - but the MaxxForce Ford still has South Point on the side. It's still us and it will be fine. Like I've said a lot, the biggest common factor between Circle Bar and the South Point team is that it's still a family-owned and family-operated team. It still has the same feel. Rick [Crawford] and the Mitchell family have done a great job of making us feel comfortable. We're going to Vegas and that's my hometown, so it's a big, important weekend for me. We spent a lot of time the last couple of weeks getting that truck ready for Vegas. Bryan had the truck on the pull-down rig before we left to go to New Hampshire to make sure we were ready. Roush Yates worked real hard to get us an engine early and they feel real good about the engine that they gave us for Vegas. We're really happy about everything. Heck, all that we have to do now is go win the race. That's kinda the last little part because we've got everything else done - the talking part - so now let's go win it again. I sure would love to get that win in Vegas for Circle Bar."
-credit: ford racing