Gaughan, South Point Racing Ready To Tackle Talladega SuperSpeedway
Big, fast and out of control. That’s how Brendan Gaughan describes Talladega Superspeedway.
It’s also why Gaughan, driver of the No. 77 South Point Chevrolet Silverado, says he loves racing in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) at the 2.66-mile tri-oval.
“It’s one of those tracks that I just really like, and I’m really glad the Craftsman Trucks race here. It’s one of the best races all year,” Gaughan said. “The track is big and fast, and it’s a little bit out of control, which is like the rest of me anyway.
“The track just suits my driving style, but this is one place where you won’t see me racing on the high side. For some reason, the middle has always worked well for me, so you will probably see me racing three-wide in the middle.”
Gaughan finished 12th in the inaugural NCTS race at Talladega Superspeedway last season. The race track was also the site of his career-best NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series finish – a fourth-place effort in the fall of 2004.
“I don’t really know what happened to us last year,” Gaughan said. “We were running in the top 10 most of the day, and we just kind of faded in the end after a restart. But that was last year.
“We’re coming to Talladega with a Chevrolet that is suited for this track. Looking back at Daytona, I feel like we were the best Chevrolet out there all day before we got wrecked. I think we have just as good of a truck for Talladega .”
Not only does South Point Racing have a well-prepared race truck for Talladega , but crew chief Bryan Berry says they have the right driver behind the wheel for the challenges of the Alabama superspeedway.
“You have to think a lot to race at Daytona and Talladega ,” Berry said. “You have to find your way through holes and make places in the air, and Brendan does a really good job with that.
“Brendan thinks every lap,” Berry added. “He puts himself in the situation to make things happen. That’s why you see a lot of rookies struggle at tracks like Daytona and Talladega – unless they have a fast truck – because they don’t know where they need to be three steps from now. Brendan has the experience and the knowledge, and he uses his brain through the whole race to think three steps ahead, so he can pull it off.”
Berry says knowing that he has a driver who carefully thinks and plans his moves on the track makes his job on the pit box a little easier.
“We’ll work in practice and during the race to do what we can to the truck to make it drive good, so that Brendan can drive inside and outside people and not upset the truck,” Berry said. “We’ll make the truck suck up the best we can so that Brendan can get through traffic.
“Then, we’ll turn it over to him and let him do his magic. He does a really good job, just look at what he did at Daytona this year before he got wrecked. He was running up front.
“Do we have a truck that can win with him driving – yes. There is no doubt in my mind that we can definitely win Talladega .”
And that’s the goal for the South Point Racing team with six races remaining in the NCTS season – to pull off wins and top fives at each race track on the schedule.
“We had a rough weekend at our home track, but we have to put that behind us,” Gaughan said. “We have a great race team and I still believe we can get to the top 10 in points before this year is over. We’ve just got to go and do it. We’ve got to go win races and finish in the top five every week to get ourselves there, and I think this team can do that starting with Talladega.”
Crew chief Bryan Berry on strategy at the 2.66-mile tri-oval:
“It’s all about timing and who you are with, and Brendan always finds his way. At speedways, it has always seemed that Brendan and (Ron) Hornaday work well together because they trust each other, they don’t run over each other so they always find each other. If there’s a way for the two of them to get together, they will.”