'FOCUS' Brandon Whitt and the ...
Brandon Whitt and the #38 McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra team head to the 1.5-mile Kansas Speedway, for Saturday's O'Reilly Auto Parts 250; the 12th race in the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season.
Whitt, 22, is a native of El Cajon, Calif., driving his second full season in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Known for his penchant of being fast and loving speed, Whitt is considered one of the top up-and-coming young drivers in stock car racing. His truck his owned by Red Horse Racing, which consists of general manager Marty Gaunt, a winning veteran leader of motorsports teams; Jeff Hammond, a NASCAR Nextel Cup championship crew chief now serving as an analyst for FOX Sports; and Tom DeLoach, a former Mobil Corp. executive who, with Hammond, owns and operates PIT Instruction and Training LLC, the number one pit crew training center in the world.
The Cure Autism Now Foundation is a non-profit organization dedicated to promoting and funding autism research and accelerating the pace of scientific progress toward effective treatments and a cure. The organization is the largest private funder of biological research in autism, providing more than $20 million in grants since its inception in 1995.
The thoughts of McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota Tundra driver Brandon Whitt heading into Kansas:
"This team has really matured on the super speedways this season. Last year, our rookie year, we were pretty good on the short tracks, but there were times we struggled some on the super speedways, especially the mile-and-a-half tracks. Obviously we've benefited from the TRD (Toyota Racing Development) deal, but lost in all of that has been the difference that Jamie (Jones, crew chief) has made. My point being, the entire team has grown and improved from last year to this one.
"Don't forget, last year was our rookie season. Not, just my rookie season, but the entire team's rookie season. So, it was only natural that it would take us a while to mature. Where we are in the standings doesn't begin to show how competitive this team has been all season. There have been some things happen that we seem to have no control over that have really affected the way we finish. To make things more frustrating they always seem to happen in the latter stages of the race.
"We've started a nice little stretch of races where we run without the Cup Series. That works two ways. It's good for the Truck Series when Cup regulars come over and race. It gives us a chance to see how we stack up against some of the best drivers in our sport. It's fun to race against those guys and they always seem to bring out bigger crowds, which is always a good thing for the Truck Series.
"But, on the other hand, when we start running more races away from the Cup guys, the more we get to see just how we stack up against one another. You get a true reading on where we stand in the Craftsman Truck Series. It's really two different markers, both of which are good. We love the challenge of racing against the best, but we also like to see just how good we are among our peers; those being, the other Truck Series regulars.
"Regardless of who we're running against, the McMillin Homes/Cure Autism Now Toyota crew is looking forward to it, each week out. Kansas should be good to us. It seems the faster the track, the better we are. That being said, Kansas is a fast track with plenty of room to race. It will be a great opportunity to get back a couple of disappointing finishes from earlier this year; some of those races where we were running in the top 10 until late in the race. This Red Horse Racing team's motto has been 'focus,' from driver to pit crew, we have to stay focused on the job at hand, and this weekend, it's a top-10 finish."