Martinsville II: Brendan Gaughan preview

GAUGHAN SEEKS REDEMPTION, TOP-FIVE AT MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY LAS VEGAS, NV (October 15, 2007) -- Something to prove. Those three words sum up Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team's attitude as they travel to Martinsville Speedway for...


LAS VEGAS, NV (October 15, 2007) -- Something to prove. Those three words sum up Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team's attitude as they travel to Martinsville Speedway for the Kroger 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race this weekend.

It's the truck series' second go-around at Martinsville this season, and Gaughan's goal is to redeem himself after a less-than-stellar performance at the track in March in what he has called "the best short track truck he ever had."

"The last race at Martinsville, my Chevrolet Silverado was phenomenal, and I screwed up," said Gaughan, who finished 25th at Martinsville in the spring. "I'm not going to put the blame on anybody else but myself. I just did a bad job qualifying. I did a bad job in the race. It kind of stunk because I mean it -- we had the best short track truck I've ever had."

But Gaughan says he believes the truck that the team is bringing to Martinsville this time -- T-2 -- is even better than the Silverado he piloted there in March.

"We're taking what is now the oldest truck in the shop," Gaughan said. "I used to call it 'Old Faithful.' It was one of my favorite trucks, way back when, because every time I ran it, I had a top five. I never won in it, but I got top fives. Then, Steve Park took the truck and won with it at California Speedway in 2005.

"Since the body change to Chevrolet, we have turned it into one of our short track trucks. It had our best finish at Bristol with a second in August. It has been a very strong truck for us, so hopefully we can keep that momentum with it at Martinsville."

The team tested the No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado at the Las Vegas Bull Ring last Wednesday morning. The truck turned quick times, and Gaughan said he was happy with the way it handled.

And although Gaughan isn't a fan of short track racing or Martinsville Speedway, he's looking forward to tackling the .566-mile paper clip oval after the quick test session. Gaughan's goal is to better his best finish of sixth-place, which came at Martinsville in 2006.

"I have a crew chief in Bryan Berry that is really good at short tracks. I have a whole package right now that seems to really be working with all the help that we are getting from Chevy. I have had great short track trucks all year," Gaughan said.

"We've done a lot of testing with out short track program at the Bull Ring this year, and I've always said the testing thing is big for myself and this race team. We go to the Bull Ring and test -- and no, it's not Martinsville, but it is short track testing. It gets you in the mode.

"We got the truck to be the fastest truck we have ever had at the Bull Ring, so we really look forward now to going to Martinsville and proving that I am not that bad there."

Gaughan Returns to Martinsville High School for Hoops and Advice

Brendan Gaughan's favorite thing about Martinsville, Va., isn't the speedway where the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series will race on Saturday afternoon. His favorite thing about Martinsville is the championship Martinsville High School basketball team and Coach Troy Wells.

Gaughan, who was a member of Georgetown University's basketball team (1993-1997) and was coached under legendary coach John Thompson, has been a regular at the school's basketball gymnasium since 2003. Each year, he comes and brushes up on his basketball skills for a couple of hours with the team. He also takes the time to meet with the student-athletes to talk about the importance of staying in school and graduating from college.

"When I first got into the Craftsman Truck Series, my public relations person at the time took this idea that I played college basketball and used it as an opportunity to get exposure for us and go talk to high school kids," Gaughan said. "The first school that we did it with was Martinsville High School. Coach Wells brought me in and let me talk to the kids and work out with them.

"Back then, I didn't really know what I was supposed to do. But now, I have refined it and I have been lucky to go talk to other students in other areas of the country."

Gaughan offers advice to the students that he once got from his mentor and coach at Georgetown. Although he enjoys talking to the students and answering their questions he has the most fun working out with them.

"The older I get though, the tougher it is getting to run with his kids. The first year I did, I think I played four or five games. I think last year, I played like two or three," Gaughan said. "Thankfully, Coach Wells makes an old man look good. He always stops at just about the time I'm about to have a heart attack. He says 'OK, it's time to talk.' I love doing it, and as long as he likes having me and the kids like having me around, I'll keep doing it. Each year there are new, incoming kids on that team. I have a team to root for, and I even have some kids that I talked to in the past who are playing sports in college now, which is kind of cool."

-credit: spr

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Series NASCAR Truck
Drivers Steve Park , Brendan Gaughan