SEPTEMBER 5, 2004
Brendan Gaughan Logged the Best Finish, to Date, of His Rookie Season in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Race at California Speedway: Gaughan started the Auto Club 300 from the fifth position and finished sixth at California Speedway on May 2.
"California Speedway was really good to the Kodak Racing team," said Gaughan. "We had a great weekend from the time the guys unloaded the truck. When the race started, the car was loose, but Shane [Wilson] and the guys worked on it and set it right."
"Back then, it felt like we were moving in the right direction and California was the momentum we needed to carry forward. Ended up [that] we have still struggled, but this race team is strong and I believe in it. We have had some strong races here recently; we just havenít had the finishes to show for it. I love racing at California and I look for this time around to be the same."
Brendan Gaughan Competes in the Hot Seat: Following the event, Gaughan was burned because he refused certain precautions that he now readily accepts.
"I used to think I was too tough for certain items in the cars, like heat shields," Gaughan said. "Our race [at California Speedway] was so hot; I was sweating profusely before I even got in the car. Then trying to race 250 laps, while boiling in my seat wasnít any fun. All I know is I am a fan of heat shields under the seat, under my feet, wherever they can put them, I want a heat shield."
Words From the Spotterís Stand: During the final laps at California in May, Gaughan was posted fifth while his teammate, Ryan Newman, was posted sixth. Newman wanted one more position before the checkered flag and Gaughan was not willing to relinquish it without a fight. Roger Penske delivered a friendly reminder from the spotterís stand.
"Just donít wreck each other!" Penske said.
Taking Some Time Off: Gaughan is spending Monday evening through Thursday morning at home in Las Vegas.
"This will be the first time I have been home since our off-weekend in July. I feel like going home to Vegas really helps me to regain my focus when I am in a bit of a fog. The last few weeks we have had good runs, but we have had equipment failure and I have messed up as a driver, like hitting the wall during qualifying at Bristol. A refresher at home is just what I need to get my mind off the past and really visualize the future."
Team Chemistry: Gaughan says the Kodak Racing team has banded together to avoid the outside adversities.
"With equipment failures and driver error the past few weeks, it would be very easy for the Kodak Racing team to point fingers right now. We have been very careful to keep our focus and look ahead. We have banded together. We are in this for the long haul and we realize we are building something for the future. We want to succeed and we have put more pressure on ourselves this year than anyone could. For a team to come together the way we did; a new driver and crew chief along with a tire guy from Vegas, combined with the Jasper Motorsports foundation and then you throw in technical support by way of engineering from Penske and a new manufacturer (for the No.77 team anyway), wellÖ We know we havenít been on top, but we know we have what it takes to get there."
Team Test Session: The Kodak Racing team tested PJR-35 at Memphis on Monday, Aug. 29, to prepare for the upcoming Richmond event.
Equipment: Gaughan will race chassis PJR-31 at California Speedway on Sept. 5. PJR-31 is the same chassis Gaughan raced at Texas (St. 16th/Fin. 38th) and California (St. 5th/Fin. 6th) earlier this year.