Brendan Gaughan Pre-Race Report - Vegas
Driver: Brendan Gaughan
Owner: Michael Gaughan
Smith’s Las Vegas 350
Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Race: Saturday, September 23 – 6:15 pm
Qualifying: Saturday, September 23 – 3:10 pm
1.5-mile oval, 219
miles/ 146 laps
Notes of Interest: The Smith’s Las Vegas 350 will cap a very busy
week for hometown hero, Brendan Gaughan. In the days immediately preceding the event Gaughan will play host to a
poker tournament at his family’s South Point Hotel and Casino, an open house at the race shop, a private junket
with friends and numerous media opportunities within town.
Perhaps the most exciting endeavor will
be Gaughan’s drive from his home on the southwest side of town to Las Vegas Motor Speedway --- in his race ready
South Point Dodge --- on Thursday morning. The route will have Gaughan running down Tropicana to the Las Vegas
Blvd. Gaughan will then take the turn onto the street of lights and run to the area of the Barbary Coast, where
his pit crew, the Flying Aces, will slam out a four tire pit stop. Once serviced Gaughan will complete his trip
to the Speedway.
The team will also introduce its new livery this week. The color scheme change
comes in conjunction with the team’s new sponsor, The South Point Hotel and Casino.
Military Appreciation Program (MAP):
This week the Orleans Racing team recognizes the 66th Weapons Squadron. The 66th Weapons Squadron is
located very near the Orleans Racing shops, at Nellis Air Force Base.
The A-10 Division traces its lineage
to the 66th Fighter Squadron, which was activated January 15th, 1941 at Mitchell Field, New York. This P-40F unit
served with honor in North Africa and Italy. Later, when assigned to Ato Air Base, Corsica, the 66th converted to
the P-47D Thunderbolt, from which today's A-10 Thunderbolt II descended. Following World War II, the 66th was
transferred to Alaskan Air Command as an air defense unit, where it remained until 1957 when its colors were
retired. While in Alaska the unit flew the P-51, F-80, F-84, and the F-89.
During the Southeast Asia
Conflict, the 66th reactivated at Nellis AFB, Nevada, as part of the 57th Fighter Weapons Wing. The 66th Fighter
Weapons Squadron trained F-105F/G and F-4C Wild Weasel crews in tactics to destroy enemy surface-to-air missile
systems. The squadron's efforts profoundly reduced aircraft losses over North Vietnam. In 1975 the 66th
Fighter Weapons Squadron was again deactivated.
On October 1, 1977, the 66th Fighter Weapons Squadron was
again reactivated to conduct A-10 Fighter Weapons Instructor Course training at Nellis AFB. Tactical Air Command
assigned eight A-10A aircraft to the squadron and tasked the unit to produce 24 fighter weapons instructors
annually. On May 11th, 1981, the Fighter Weapons School reorganized and each squadron transitioned to a
"Division" within the school. The squadron designation remained the A-10 Division until 3 February 2003, when the
division transitioned to the 66th Weapons Squadron.
Today the 66th holds true to its mission and heritage. It
is comprised of 12 instructors who graduate ten weapons officers per year. The current syllabus is comprised of
35 sorties and 326 academic hours. Instructional phases include basic fighter maneuvers (BFM), air-to-ground (AG)
fundamentals and tactics, weapons (WE), reduced and high threat close air support (CAS), air-to-air weapons
employment (AAWE), special operations forces (SOF) integration, joint air attack team (JAAT) with Army aviation,
dissimilar air combat training (DACT), air interdiction (AI), combat search and rescue (CSAR), and composite
force mission employment (ME).
Orleans Racing’s owner, Michael Gaughan is the honorary squadron commander
for the 66th Weapons Squadron also known as “The Trough.” According to “The Trough” “Words cannot express
the gratitude for Mr. Gaughan’s care and generosity for HIS squadron.” “The Trough” also claims that they have
the best honorary squadron commander not only at Nellis but the entire United States Air Force.
Piece: Gaughan will drive Orleans Racing’s T1 (Lonestar)
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Trucks
Las Vegas Motor Speedway - Cup
Gaughan on Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
“Fortunately we were one of the four teams picked to test the new Las Vegas Motor Speedway and it’s
definitely going to be fast. It’s a lot faster than it was in the past. A lot of it depends on which tire
Goodyear brings which is a bad thing for the track because it can be really fast or really slow. People will say,
‘Look at how slow it was’ well the tire they brought is what caused it, or ‘Oh wow, look at how fast it is.’
Well, it was also the tire.
“The track itself is not the smooth as glass old Las Vegas that we’re
used to but it’s a track that is going to have it’s own characteristics. It’s got some bumps in it but the
banking is very nice. It’s got really good transitions. I really can’t wait to see it when the “Neon Garage” is
“The track itself does have a pretty good-sized bump going into Turn 1 and it’s got a few
ripples and bumps coming out of Turn 4, so it does have some different aspects than Las Vegas Motor Speedway used
to have. I do think that right from the get-go it’s going to be at least a two-groove race track and it may get
to three grooves in its first race ever just because the parabolic banking is really nice.
excited. It is my hometown of course and it’s the Orleans Racing team’s home. We’re right outside Turn 1. That’s
where the Orleans Racing shop is located. I’ll teach with the Richard Petty school that week to get some laps in
a Richard Petty car. It’s always exciting when we come to Las Vegas. It’s not like Charlotte for the rest of the
guys. Everybody’s home is Charlotte so when we go to Charlotte everybody is at home. We’re the only ones in Vegas
and we’re at the Speedway. So it’s definitely a different relationship than any other race team has with any
other race track.
“We also like to take care of our fans and friends. We do a catered deal for all
our fans or as many as we’ve got food for. We’ll have an Open House on Thursday from 4 to 6 pm and I’ll be doing
some autographs. I don’t like to ask my buddies to show up to that stuff because it’s our Open House and I don’t
want to intrude on them. We’ll be having the Open House after the teams pull into the race track and the teams
are always invited so you might see a couple of the drivers hanging out or a few of us out there goofing around.
“Then there’s the first annual South Point Poker Tournament. We’re going to give that a shot and
see if we can’t raise some money for Speedway Children’s Charities and have a good time with it. We do know we
have a ringer. Our former General Manager Mike Leslie has been allowed to enter the tournament under great
protest from many of the event organizers but we’re excited to have Mike Leslie who is a great poker player. He
won one of the satellite tournaments during the World Series of Poker this year. He’s a good friend, one of our
old friends from the off-road racing days and a great poker player. So we’re going to have some fun.”
Meet the Crew:
Race Day Duty
Mechanic / Tuner
Rear Tire Changer
Rear Tire Hanger
Front Tire Hanger
Tire Spec /
Culver City, CA
Las Vegas, NV
Front Tire Changer
Listen in on the #77: The team’s primary radio frequency is 451.3371.