Gaughan Looks To Play Spoiler In Charlotte Truck Race
Brendan Gaughan takes great pride in the fact that his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) team isn’t based in the middle of racing’s hub. Instead Gaughan’s team calls Las Vegas home.
But coming to race in his competitors’ backyard doesn’t faze the five-year NCTS veteran. In fact, it’s giving the 31-year-old even more reason to strive for his first victory of the year.
“I would love to ruin their day – just like they want to ruin mine when they are in Las Vegas,” Gaughan said of the Charlotte-based NCTS teams. “We ended up almost winning this race two years ago. Ted Musgrave and I were going door-to-door, right down to the wire, so I still want that trophy.”
To Gaughan, coming to Charlotte to race is just like going to Syracuse or other Big East schools when he was a backup guard for the Georgetown Hoyas. You may be the underdog because you’re on their home turf – but that just makes you want it even more badly, Gaughan says.
“I would absolutely love to steal their thunder at Charlotte this Friday night and take the trophy back with me to Las Vegas,” he said.
And after two days of testing in Charlotte and a date at the wind tunnel on Monday morning, Gaughan is very confident that his South Point Racing Chevrolet will be a stout competitor on the mile-and-a-half track.
“Testing for the South Point Racing team has always been a crucial thing,” Gaughan said. “Maybe it’s me the driver that needs it. Whatever it is, it really does pay off. We had a great test with two equally good Chevrolets although we were practicing with two different setups – one being a coil bind setup and the other being a conventional setup. After the test, I think everyone had a tough time deciding which truck to make our primary.
“That has been the greatest thing about the partnership that the South Point team has made with Chevrolet and how far this team has come. All our trucks are just as good as the other.”
After reviewing the two-day test and wind tunnel notes, it was decided that Gaughan would pilot South Point Racing’s chassis No. 10 with a conventional setup under the hood.
“I think it is a smart play on our part to go with what we know and what we are most comfortable with, and that’s the conventional setup,” Gaughan said. “No matter what the truck does, Bryan Berry (crew chief) knows what calls to make and how to make the adjustments to give me a competitive truck.
“The thing is that I would like to have more seat time using the coil bind setup, but with NASCAR’s testing policy, it’s hard to do that. I really do think that testing is key. And right now, we just need more time to practice that setup.
“To me, both trucks were fast and both had their good points. I’m a big track kind of guy, so I’m just looking forward to getting back behind the wheel at Charlotte on Friday night and hopefully getting that trophy I lost here a few years ago.”
Gaughan has some additional incentive to have a solid run at Charlotte, too – his longtime fuel man Bill “Wingnut” Caldwell,
64, will not be with the team this weekend. Caldwell just underwent a double knee replacement surgery.
“He’s the oldest fuel guy in NASCAR that I know and after double knee replacement surgery, he thinks that he’ll be back by Texas,” Gaughan said. “And to tell you the truth, he’s about the only man I know who could do it that quickly.
“We’ll miss old Wingnut this week, so it would be kind of cool if we could do something for him by bringing a win home.”