Brendan Gaughan is facing a pretty tough situation: he's trying to bounce back from a gosh-awful weekend at Atlanta last weekend while getting ready for one of his most difficult tracks...Martinsville Speedway.
But there's one thing about Gaughan - it's almost impossible to deflate this eternal optimist.
"Even Martinsville Speedway knows this is not one of my favorite places . I love the track...I just stink at it," Gaughan said during a break in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing at Martinsville Thursday. "We're excited about coming back here, but we know we've got some work to do."
That's what Gaughan and about 20 other NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers were doing Thursday, working to get faster for the Kroger 250, set for April 9. And Gaughan was facing perhaps the biggest challenge.
Two years ago the Georgetown University graduate almost won the NCTS championship. After a year in the NEXTEL Cup ranks, he's back in the truck series and he hasn't gotten off to a great start. He failed to qualify for last week's event in Atlanta and is outside the top 30 in points.
"We're working on making sure we can make enough speed to make the race," Gaughan said of his testing goals at Martinsville.
"I think a lot of it is me on a track like this because I notoriously don't do well at Martinsville. We need to work on me a little bit and I think the sad thing is we're going to have to make it a qualifying race truck and count on the race being a bit of a downer just because I need to make the race.
"But we're gonna keep working at it and we're gonna come here and make the show. You never know...maybe I'll even get a top five at this dang place one of these days."
Other drivers testing at the track Thursday included Gaughan's Orleans' racing teammate Steve Park, Ron Hornaday, David Starr, Jack Sprague, Bill Lester, Todd Bodine, Robert Huffman, Johnny Benson, Mike Skinner, Shige Hattori, Brandon Whitt, David Reutimann, Darrell Waltrip, Todd Kluever, Tam Topham and Alex Yontz.
Mike Skinner consistently turned in the top speeds of the day, but Waltrip was close behind all day. Both drive Toyotas.
Rookie Todd Kluever lost an engine in his Roush Racing Ford just before the lunch break and did not return to the track.
Another round of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series testing is on tap Friday.