Las Vegas...It was a triumphant evening for Brendan Gaughan and Orleans Racing at the Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sweeping top honors across the board, this top ranked NASCAR Craftsman Truck team, grabbed the pole, took the win and...
Las Vegas...It was a triumphant evening for Brendan Gaughan and Orleans Racing at the Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Sweeping top honors across the board, this top ranked NASCAR Craftsman Truck team, grabbed the pole, took the win and cinched the Manufacturer's Cup for Dodge.
"What a night," said an obviously ecstatic Gaughan. "I can't believe we finally won Las Vegas. I lied to myself a bunch and tried to pretend this was just another race worth 185 points. But I really wanted to win this one for my Dad (Michael Gaughan), the entire Orleans Team and the Orleans Casino. This is absolutely the very best. It is also an honor to have been able to cinch the Manufacturer's Cup for Dodge. Now I want to bring home the Driver's Championship."
Starting out the day in top form, Gaughan put his No. 62 Orleans Dodge on the Pole for the second time this season with a time of 33.302 for a speed of 161.152 mph, 0.048 seconds ahead of last year's Las Vegas winner David Starr. "I know we've beaten David at his hometown track," says Gaughan, who holds three wins at Texas Motor Speedway. Last year David did a turn around and beat me here. Once was enough and we didn't want it to happen again."
When the Green Flag waved, Gaughan immediately pulled into the lead for the first lap. "When you're running for a championship, you definitely want to take the lead whenever you can to earn those all important bonus points," explains Gaughan. "You get five points for leading a lap so it was a good start."
Running between first and third for approximately the first thirty laps of the 146 lap race, Gaughan was a little loose in and when the caution came out on Lap 30, Gaughan pitted for an adjustment, fuel and tires. "The crew did me proud," said Gaughan. "They had me in and out without missing a beat. They definitely are the best."
Taking back the lead on Lap 34, Gaughan continued to run in front until his second and final pit stop of the day. Pitting under Green, Gaughan pulled in on Lap 95 for tires, fuel and a small adjustment. Pulling back on the track, Gaughan retook the lead on Lap 103 and never relinquished it. A yellow on Lap 136 for debris bunched up the trucks, but Gaughan and the Orleans crew weren't too worried. "We were great on the restarts," he said. "Our gear specialist Harley Rauch gave me the perfect restart machine. Everything was right there."
"We won the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Manufacturer's Championship in 2001," said Scott Richter, Dodge NASCAR Truck Program Manager. "And, we are extremely proud to have earned that honor for a second time. Brendan Gaughan's five victories were definitely extremely instrumental in making this possible and we would like to thank him and all our other Dodge drivers for their hard work and dedication."
With five races left in this year's series, Gaughan now holds a 67-point lead. "We're definitely charged," says Gaughan. "Our whole team has momentum and that is definitely one of the keys to winning. Our Orleans Dodge trucks are top-of-the-line and everyone has the exact same goal. It certainly isn't over yet, but the one thing that's for sure, is that we will giving it everything we've got to earn the title."