Brendan Gaughan Post Race Report - Vegas
Third Consecutive Top-15 Finish Catapults No. 62 Driver to Fourth in Driver Standings
—For Rusty Wallace Racing driver and Las Vegas native, Brendan Gaughan, Saturday’s Nationwide Series event in “Sin City” was a big time event. With his sponsor, family and friends all in attendance, Gaughan and his No. 62 team delivered equally big time results.
After posting the fastest speed in the first practice session on Friday, Gaughan emerged as one of the favorites for the pole position for Saturday’s race. However, a crash with less than 20 minutes remaining in Friday’s final practice sent Gaughan and company scrambling to prepare a backup car prior to qualifying.
On Friday evening, the Vegas native remarked to media, “I’m totally comfortable with our car for tomorrow. We don’t have any practice laps on it, but like Rusty (Wallace) told me, at this team, we don’t have backup cars; they’re all primaries. We’ll be ready to go for tomorrow.”
In Saturday morning’s qualifying session, Gaughan backed up his statement, putting a No. 62 Chevrolet which he had previously never driven into the top-15 of the starting grid for the event.
In Saturday’s afternoon’s race, Gaughan and his No. 62 team persevered through what was one of the most accident-marred races in recent history. After suffering damage in several incidents, the Bryan Berry-led No. 62 team was able to enact repairs that allowed Gaughan to spend 198 of the race’s 209 laps among the top-15. En route to a seventh place finish, Gaughan also led three race laps.
Following the No. 62 team’s effort in Saturday’s event, Gaughan has emerged as an early-season Nationwide Series title contender, catapulting four spots, to fourth-place in the standings, a mere 108 points points behind leader Carl Edwards. Gaughan also retained the overall lead in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, by a margin of five points (37-32) over Michael McDowell.
Said Gaughan, “Big time teams pull off big time feats and that’s exactly what our Rusty Wallace Racing team did today. To take a backup car—which I had never driven—and put it in the top-ten in Las Vegas is pretty big. I was beating myself up a little bit after the practice crash on Friday, but my guys promised me that all of our backup cars are prepared the same as the primary ones; they were definitely right.
“Our car was a little tight all day long, but Brian Berry (crew chief) and Shane Huffman (car chief) did a good job of getting me freed up enough for that last stint and we were able to pull off another top-ten. I have to tell you, this is the most fun I’ve had in racing in a long, long time. I can’t wait to get to Bristol.”