Gaughan finished fourth, his best finish in 29 career NEXTEL Cup Series starts and first ever top-five. Gaughan
scored his second top-10 finish of the season (he finished sixth in the May 2Auto Club 500 at California Speedway.
He took Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors for the fourth time this season and for the second consecutive race.
Gaughan becomes the fourth Raybestos Rookie this season to score a top-five finish, joining Kasey Kahne (10),
Scott Wimmer (1) and Scott Riggs (1). Gaughan becomes JUST THE FOURTH Raybestos Rookie since 1975 to score a
top-five finish in the EA Sports 500 at Talladega. The others: Ricky Rudd (fourth in 1977), Ron Bouchard
(first in 1981) and Tony Stewart (fifth in 1999). "We made it all the way in here so we had a little extra.
Shane Wilson [crew chief] and all the guys gave me one of the best superspeedway cars ever built out of the
Penske shop. This car was awesome. The guys just did a great job. Shane Wilson made a great call. Me and Doug
and Shane, we all talked on the radio. They said 'Do you want to roll it?' and I go 'I'm from Vegas. Let's go.'
I mean, we've got nothing to lose. We're not running for a championship and we just hung 'er out up there, man.
It was awesome."
HOW DID YOU GET IN POSITION TO GET THE LEAD AT THE END OF THE RACE? "We were pretty quick. We had been up to the
front a couple times and when that wreck happened I got lucky. I was almost in the middle of it and I missed it.
I put it in fourth immediately and left it there and just chugged, trying to save fuel and we made it."
YOUR NAME HAS BEEN IN THE RUMOR MILL LATELY BUT YOU HAD A GOOD RUN TODAY. "The only people that have me in the
rumor mill is Lee Spencer and Mulhern. You are the only guys that want to write it. The rest of us have been
excited. We knew we've been getting better. That is the best superspeedway car out of the Penske shop and I
think we proved it. We got a nice top-five and the top rookie for a change. We need the Raybestos checks. We
could use the money."
YOU RAN UP FRONT AND DROPPED BACK AND RAN UP FRONT AND DROPPED BACK ALL DAY LONG. "Buddy Baker said I was going
to like Talladega and he's right. We had a great racecar. The guys at the Penske shop did a great job. We have a
brand new superspeedway program and this is one of their first cars out of it and it proved it today. We went to
the front to the back and I think the fans enjoyed it. They got Junior to win but I'll take an exciting fourth
WHAT DOES THIS GOOD FINISH MEAN FOR YOU AND THE TEAM? YOU HAVE BEEN PART OF THE SILLY SEASON RUMOR MILL.
"Everybody has to have something to write about, even Jim Utter who sometimes struggles to find things [smiles].
We've been awesome. Kodak is really supportive of the Penske organization as is Doug Bawel and the Jasper folks.
A great job to the boys. And my engine tuner, Bob Dodge, had a baby on Monday and he wasn't here so
congratulations to him and his family.
YOU WERE LEADING ON THAT FINAL RESTART. "I was trying to block the hell out of Kevin Harvick and I just didn't
want to wreck. Baker told me that I would end up loving this place. We went from the front to the back from the
front to the back and in the end we rolled the dice. We all came on the radio and said 'What do you want to do?'
and I asked how close is it. They go 'We think we're going to run out before we go green' and I said 'Let's go.'
There's no reason to try to hold back. We're not going for a championship."
DID YOU THINK THERE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A CAUTION THERE AT THE END? "I don't know what happened. All I know is that
I came down the back straightaway and saw a bunch of wrecks everywhere. We didn't need one. We were all by it.
It looked like it was in the middle or back of the pack and the whole field was by it and let us race to the
finish and then throw the caution/checker at the same time. I think they made a great call."
WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR THE PROGRAM? "This is awesome. Kodak got a top-five here, been a long time for that and
this race team it's only a sign for better things coming."
WAS EVERYBODY KIND OF WATCHING WHAT THE 8 CAR WAS GOING TO DO? "Everybody knows that the DEI program is still
tough to beat and they did it again today. The Penske organization has never been great on these places and
they've made a concerted effort to get a superspeedway program, to get themselves better and better. They've
gotten it better and we proved it."
IS THIS A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION? BETTER THINGS TO COME? "Absolutely. Kodak team is looking for better
things next week in Kansas. Unfortunately we don't have a new car there next week but we're going to take a
good racecar that had a good run at Pocono and try to get another top-five."
DID YOU SENSE A MORE CAUTIOUS APPROACH AT THIS RACE BECAUSE OF THE CHASE? "It doesn't matter to me. I'm not in
the Chase. I'm just trying to win races and that's all we care about. Everybody else may have been cautious but
I told Ryan Newman the other day that he's looking for a championship and I'm looking for a win. Help push me to
the front because I could use that win."