by Mike Snow - Orleans Racing
Fontana, CA (Feb 24, 2005) --- It’s not often that one driver gets to tell another driver to start their race vehicle, but that’s just what will happen in this weekend’s American Racing Wheels 200 when the driver of the #77 American Racing Wheels Dodge, Brendan Gaughan will give the command to start engines.
Gaughan was tapped by American Racing Wheels to be the Grand Marshal for their event, an honor that’s not being taken lightly by Gaughan. The act is part of American Racing Wheels’ “Legends of Racing” theme they’ve had in place over the four years they’ve sponsored the California NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event.
“Obviously Brendan Gaughan has been a part of the American Racing Team for twenty-plus years,” noted American Racing Wheels’ vice president, Steve Kelley. “For twenty-plus years he’s been an American Racing Team driver and a good friend of myself and American Racing. We’re happy that Brendan is back out in a Craftsman Truck and racing in the AR 200. We look forward to a high finish for both he and Steve Park.”
Gaughan was notably touched when he received word that he would be American Racing Wheels’ Grand Marshal.
“I’m flat out honored that American Racing has asked me to be the Grand Marshal of the American Racing 200,” said Gaughan from his Las Vegas based Orleans Racing shops. “It brought a tear to my eye. Walker Evans, Bob Bondurant and Parnelli Jones were their three others. To have Brendan Gaughan on that list is just unbelievable. They’ve been with me a long time and with any luck they’ll be with me a whole lot longer.”
Explaining how the program came together, Gaughan said, “American Racing’s Steve Kelley and Bob Hange (president of American Racing Wheels) called up and basically said that they’ve had the Legends of American Racing Wheels program at California Speedway over the past several years and that they wanted to include me in the program,
to be their Grand Marshal. To be considered in the same breath as Parnelli Jones or Walker Evans is something that’s unbelievable to me.
“This is the fourth year for the American Racing 200 at California Speedway and they wanted me to be the Grand Marshal. I kind of laughed and said, ‘Well, I thought you had to be retired to be the Grand Marshal of a race if you’re a race car driver and can you really be in the race?’ They said, ‘You can do Gentlemen, start your engines from inside that racecar.’ It was just a deal that I’ve been with them since I was 15.
“I’m speechless. I’m honored that they’d even ask me.”
Told about Gaughan’s excitement on his Grand Marshal status for the American Racing Wheels 200 Steve Kelley replied, “We’ve had his dad (Michael Gaughan) and we’ve had Walker Evans and a lot of good friends such as Bob Bondurant and Parnelli Jones over the years. Brendan is just such a fan of ours and vice versa obviously. I think it’s a cool deal that he would even accept the offer. I’m glad he’s excited. It’s very exciting for us for him to accept that.”
You can watch Gaughan give the command to start engines for the American Racing Wheels 200 on SpeedTV. The program goes live at 6:00 pm (PST) this Friday.