Las Vegas: Gaughan - NASCAR spotlight

Gaughan both racer and entertainment director as series heads to his hometown DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 24, 2005) -- It doesn't take much to get Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge) excited. But this week, the Las Vegas...

Gaughan both racer and entertainment director as series heads to his hometown

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (Sept. 24, 2005) -- It doesn't take much to get Brendan Gaughan (No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge) excited. But this week, the Las Vegas native is really excited.

Gaughan and teammate Steve Park (No. 62 Orleans Dodge) comprise the home team in Saturday's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Las Vegas 350 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

To say that the 2003 race winner is pumped up is an understatement.

"We don't even need to do a press release for the Orleans team this week. It speaks for itself," said Gaughan. "In 2003, we had almost 70,000 people show up for the race and we went out there and got the pole and spanked the field.

"Last year, Steve had a good run (finishing third). This is the race we mark every year and say this is THE race. If we win Vegas we all get to keep our jobs and everybody is happy."

Back-to-back weeks have seen Park on his home track -- New Hampshire International Speedway -- and Gaughan on his own ground. Ironically, Gaughan edged his teammate last Saturday at NHIS with a 10th-place finish to Park's 12th.

Park would like to turn the table -- but he'd settle for a one-two finish regardless of which driver wins the big prize.

"We're excited about it," said Park, who won at California Speedway in February, some 150 miles west of LVMS off Interstate 15. "We had new trucks built and took them out last week, shook them down and had a good test."

Adds Gaughan, "We're coming out with our guns loaded. We're going to try to (win). Whether it's Steve or myself, I want us both up there and hitting each other for the win."

Performing at home before friends and family can be a distraction. Not for the outgoing Gaughan, who will attempt to become a series record-matching, 14th different winner this week.

Gaughan's family has been in the Las Vegas gaming business for more than 50 years. His father, Michael, owns the Orleans Hotel and Casino where most of the teams stay this week as well as other properties in addition to the two race teams. The team's race shop is located behind Turn 1 at LVMS and will open its doors for a luncheon and open house on Friday.

Thus, the younger Gaughan figures to be entertainment director as well as competitor.

"We're going to take a few folks out Thursday night and do a little Las Vegas style," said Gaughan. "Everybody thinks so many things about Vegas and I like the guys to come to Vegas and have a good time."

-nascar-

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Steve Park