Orleans Racing is pleased to announce the addition of Billy Wilburn to the team roster, effective immediately. Wilburn assumes responsibilities for it's second Craftsman Truck entry, which will be driven by Brendan Gaughan.
With Wilburn's nearly 25 years of industry experience interim general manager / team driver Brendan Gaughan is excited to have Wilburn assume crew chief responsibilities at his successful Orleans Racing operation. "It's not often someone of Wilburn's caliber becomes available and to be able to have him come to our race team is a real plus for our team and it will only make our team stronger than its ever been."
"Making the situation even better for us is my time with Billy at Penske Racing last year, which should help our program here at Orleans Racing gel that much quicker. This is really a giant boost for our race team."
"This is a topflight team with all the right ingredients," Wilburn cites as his reason for leaving Penske Racing, where he'd been employed since 1990.
"It has all the material and a talented crew is here. All the components for success are right here. We've got a great driver. We've got good backing. We 've got awesome support from Dodge --- all the tools are here. That made Orleans Racing very appealing to me. Everything we need to succeed is here."
Looking forward to the 2005 season Wilburn outlines his objectives with Orleans Racing by saying, "The goal is to win races number 1. And if the program works out as it should hopefully we'll be competing for the championship in '05. That's step number one for us here at Orleans Racing."
Asked if leaving his old employer was a tough decision Wilburn doesn't hesitate in answering. "It was a very tough decision (to leave Penske)," said Wilburn. "I had a lot of great opportunities and Penske's been a huge part of my career. Everything I've learned in Cup racing was through Penske.
They worked with me on a lot of things. I did a lot of things while I was there that allowed me to learn and be a more versatile person in their program.
"Rusty Wallace gave me a super opportunity to be his crew chief and I learned a lot. We were successful, but not to the point where we needed to be for it to continue. Rusty's in the last year of his career and I wish him the best and hope he's successful. I wish the Penske organization success and a good year as well. It was a tough decision. Yeah, the toughest one I've ever made."
Gaughan plans to make Wilburn's transition as smooth as possible. "He knows I've got all the confidence in the world in his talents and abilities. And while he's not been here long his approach to the business seems to be pulling the team together more tightly than it has been in the past. I know that his drive will inspire the team and drivers to dig just a little bit deeper."
The Orleans Race team will field two entries in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2005, with Steve Park driving the #62 Orleans Racing entry fulltime and Brendan Gaughan driving in at least 16 of the Craftsman Truck Series' 25 races.