Jasper Engines and Transmissions Returns as Primary Sponsor for Final Time in 2004: Brendan Gaughan will once again drive the yellow No. 77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Dodge. Atlanta Motor Speedway is the final track on the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule where the JET Dodge will appear.
“So far this year, I haven’t given Jasper too good of finishes,” Gaughan said. “This is my last chance this year to put them up front and I hope to make them proud.”
Fire!: During the spring race at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Gaughan struggled throughout the event with handling conditions, but on lap 286 of the 325-lap event, Gaughan radioed his Penske-Jasper pit crew to let them know the ignition box had begun to spark. The box eventually flamed up and Gaughan brought his machine down pit road.
“It isn’t easy driving with one eye on the track in front and one eye on the dash,” Gaughan said. “I was afraid I would miss my pit stall and have to go back around. I pulled into the box and the guys tried to extinguish the flames and we thought it worked, until I got back out on the track again.”
“When it first started to spark, I thought, ‘Hmmm, I hope they don’t use water on an electrical fire’. That is why the guys work on the car and I just drive it.”
Gaughan has Limited Experience on Atlanta Motor Speedway: Before the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series made its first stop at the Hampton, GA-based track, Gaughan’s experience at the facility was limited to his stint as a Richard Petty Driving Experience instructor.
“The Petty school is exactly what it says, an ‘Experience’. It is meant to give the fans an idea of what the NASCAR drivers do and how they handle certain situations, but it isn’t the real thing. I had track time, but I think it is a pretty safe statement when I tell you the Penske-Jasper Dodge did not handle the way the Petty cars would.”
Gaughan is Excited about Heading Back to Atlanta Motor Speedway: Gaughan likes the 1.5-mile tracks and while he does not have the success rate to prove it this year, he is not giving up.
“Most of my wins in the NASCAR Truck Series came on the 1.5-mile tracks. I had a great run at Kansas and a great car. I spent the entire race going from the back to the front at Kansas, but I ended up right where I should have been. We are taking the same car to Atlanta that we had in Kansas, so if everything goes the way it should, I might be looking at another top-10 finish.
Gaughan’s Atlanta Motor Speedway Statistics:
Brendan Gaughan– NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series Statistics at Atlanta
Date St. Fin. LC/LT (%) Status $ Won
14-Mar-04 25th 33rd 314/325 (96.6%) Running $ 63,120
Equipment: Gaughan will race chassis PRJ-032 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. PJR-032 or “The 50-Yard Car” is the car Gaughan raced at Kansas two weeks ago (St. 13th/Fin. 10th) and at Pocono in August (St. 10th/Fin. 28th). Gaughan attempted to race in the May 22 NEXTEL Open with PJR-032 (St. 10th/Fin. 23rd) but was one of 11 drivers whose Open event ended before it started, hence, the nickname – “The 50-Yard Car”.