Gaughan Returns To Desert For ‘Some Fun Racing’
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver Brendan Gaughan will return to his racing roots this weekend as he tackles the off-road Laughlin (NV) Desert Challenge on Saturday and Sunday.
The Laughlin race will be the first of six SCORE events that Gaughan plans to compete in during the 2007 season in his bid for the off-road championship.
“I’ve never actually raced the Laughlin race because they began it after I stopped racing in the desert fulltime,” Gaughan said. “I’ve had a long dry spell when it comes to desert racing. I’ve run about three races in the past two years, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there in the dust.
“Dad and I got pumped up about desert racing again after Dr. Bud Feldkamp and I teamed up in 2005 to do the Vegas to Reno race and won. Since then, we have been building a buggy. It is a gorgeous race car, and it looks like with the truck schedule, we are going to try to make the entire SCORE International Desert Racing Series in Class 1.”
Gaughan, who has been testing his No. 77 South Point Racing Chevrolet Silverado in Florida this past week in preparation for the NCTS season, will start 43rd out of 46 entries on the six mile Laughlin loop in the Class 1 group.
He will be competing in a Kreger Fab buggy, which has competed in only one race (Best In the Desert), where Gaughan qualified second. The buggy is powered by a small block Chevy motor built by Kroyer Racing Engines.
“Derek Kreger did a phenomenal job on this race car,” Gaughan said. “I really think a lot of it. The Gearworks Transmission and Kroyer Racing Engine combination did really well in the Best In the Desert Race when we qualified second.
“To me, Laughlin is going to be like a glorified qualifying race – very quick and snappy. I think we’ll be able to clear anything Laughlin throws at us.”
Gaughan says the key to victory will be being able to drive through the dust. Coming from 43rd starting place, he will have a long, dusty path to travel.
“By the time I leave the starting area, the leader will probably already be by me on his second lap,” Gaughan said. “But it doesn’t give me as bad of a disadvantage as it normally would because by the time the leader finishes the first lap he is in the dust of everybody else.
“Whoever is the best dust driver will be the best in the Laughlin Desert Challenge this weekend. I used to be really good in the dust and at night, so I’m going to have my skills tested really quickly this race.”
For Gaughan, the return to the desert is all about fun. It’s about partnering with longtime friend Billy Holbrook. It’s about racing with old friends like Brian Collins, whose team will be pitting Gaughan’s buggy in Laughlin.
It’s about working with familiar sponsors like Goodyear and Walker Evans Racing Wheels – sponsors that have been with Gaughan since his desert racing career started 15 years ago. And it’s about renewing an ongoing sibling rivalry out on the desert with older brother John.
John Gaughan, whose company Las Vegas Dissemination Corporation sponsors his younger brother Brendan’s entry, also owns his own Class 1 team. Whether John is driving the buggy or not, Brendan Gaughan acknowledges that the rivalry between their two teams is fierce.
“It’s not just a huge rivalry. It’s war,” Brendan Gaughan jokes. “Those guys don’t like it when I don’t race for a while and then come out to the desert and beat them. That just makes me want to win even more.”
For Gaughan, this weekend’s Laughlin Desert Challenge will be the kick-off to the 2007 racing season. The season represents a lot of change for Gaughan – his Las Vegas based race team has a new name (South Point Racing) and a new manufacturer (Chevrolet). And with those changes, Gaughan hopes to have some new results.
He’d like to kick off the season with a win at Laughlin.
“I’m really excited to get back to the desert and race with old friends again,” Gaughan said. “This is racing for fun. NASCAR racing hasn’t been fun for me in a while, but we’re working on making it that way again.
“I’m confident it’s going to be a good year for me and the South Point Racing Team.”