Runner-Up Finish Has Gaughan Hungry For More as Team Heads to St. Louis
Following a second-place finish at Bristol Motor Speedway, Brendan Gaughan admits that he and his entire South Point Racing team are happy with their stellar run at the Tennessee track, especially considering the up-and-down season they have endured.
But second-place isn’t what Gaughan or his team wants.
The Las Vegas-based team is hungrier than ever for its first win since the 2005 season with driver Steve Park. For Gaughan, a trip to victory lane at Gateway would be his first win since the 2003 season.
“We were all really happy with a second-place finish, and we should be,” Gaughan said. “But we had a chance to win the race at Bristol , and that’s not going to be our last chance this season to get a win.
“I believe that we are that level of team again. This race team is at a point that we can win races – and we are going to. And every single guy on this team – whether they are on the road or in the shop believes that we will win.”
Gaughan and his South Point Racing team head to Gateway International Raceway this weekend with the goal of capturing that elusive NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) victory. Gaughan, the 2003 winner at the 1.25-mile St. Louis track, will pilot the No. 77 South Point/Casino Queen Chevrolet Silverado which has raced previously this year at Martinsville , Mansfield and Memphis .
“The truck we are taking has been a good truck for us. We’ve had one top-10 finish ( Mansfield ) and two finishes where the truck was great, but we couldn’t finish the deal like we needed to,” Gaughan said. “We’re going to St. Louis with a team that is ready for a win, so we’re going to see if we can’t rekindle some of that magic this team has had in the past with a truck that I know is capable of winning.
“It’s the same tough St. Louis track. Turns one and two are tight and banked, and three and four are sweeping and flat, so it’s hard to find just the right combination. When I won the race in 2003, I shifted on both straight-aways. I wish that we could still shift, but we can’t.
“So with the packages that Bryan Berry (crew chief), Mike Roos (shock specialist) and the guys have put together for me this year, I’m confident and I don’t expect us not to be good in St. Louis .”
The St. Louis track is a special venue for Gaughan. Not just because he dominated the NCTS race there in 2003 and brought home a victory, but his father and team owner Michael Gaughan also owns the nearby Casino Queen in East St. Louis , Mo. The No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado will carry a Casino Queen decal on its decklid for the race.
“The Casino Queen just expanded and revamped its property, so it’s really a brand new facility,” Gaughan said. “My dad was here for the grand opening, but it will be the first time that I get to see it, and I hear it is absolutely beautiful.
“It would be pretty cool to get another win for the “new” Casino Queen, and for Dad, who will be at the race on Saturday.”
For the newly married Gaughan, things can’t get much better. He’s enjoying being a husband to new wife, Tatum. And just days after getting married, Gaughan qualified on the outside pole and scored a 2nd-place finish at Bristol .
Now as the NCTS heads to Gateway, Gaughan is determined to build on his best finish of the season last week and improve it just one more position. Afterall, with nine races remaining in the season, there are still a lot of points and spots to be gained – and a top-10 points finish is within reach for Gaughan and his South Point team.
“We want to finish the 2007 season with a big push into top 10,” Gaughan said. “We want top-10s and top-fives and we want to win some races – and this team can do that. Our finish at Bristol was just the beginning in my mind.”
It’s a finish that the newlywed has taken a beating over from his team and others in the garage.
“My wife, Tatum, has really had a lot of fun with it,” Gaughan said. “She’s been reminding me that my best finish of the year came the week after our wedding. And to be honest, so I don’t break my streak, Tatum and I may just go find a Justice of the Peace in St. Louis this weekend and renew our vows.”