Gaughan Determined To Win, Move Into Top 10 In Points At Homestead-Miami Speedway
Brendan Gaughan and his South Point Racing team have two goals this weekend – to win the season finale NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race at Homestead-Miami Speedway and clinch the 10th spot in the NCTS driver’s points standings.
For Gaughan and his team, that would be the perfect end to a season that has been a roller coaster ride of strong finishes and bad luck. The team has two runner-up finishes ( Bristol and Texas ), one third-place finish ( Michigan ) and five DNF’s.
“I know this team can win and get to the top 10 in points this weekend,” said Gaughan, who is currently 13th in the driver standings, just 14 points out of 10th spot. “We’ve had a lot of bad luck this year, but I do know that we have the ability, we have the truck and we have been given all the help to do it from Chevrolet.
“Now, we just have to go and gain 14 points. It can be one position, and we can gain them all. We know this is a doable deal – we want to get that 10th-place spot and bring this team back into the top 10 to prove that all the gains that we have made in the past couple of years were big time gains.”
Crew chief Bryan Berry agrees that Gaughan and the No. 77 South Point Racing team has what it takes to get to the front of the pack and win at Homestead-Miami Speedway as well as gain the “small hurdle” he calls the 14 point deficit to 10th-place.
After all, Gaughan was the runner-up finisher at the 1.5-mile oval last November. And in January, the team tested at the speedway and found what Berry said is an even better setup for the Chevrolet Silverado at the Florida track.
“I know we can win at Homestead ,” Berry said. “Aside from it being home for me, it’s Brendan’s kind of race track. A lot of people aren’t going to throw it on the top side like he’s going to. He makes it happen there. We finished second last year, and our truck was even better in the test in January. We just need to be one better this time around.”
Berry continued: “Our mile and a half program is where it needs to be. Look at Michigan – we finished third there. Had the cautions gone our way and we would have had a long green run, a lot of people think this team would have won. At Kentucky , we had a flat tire late in the race while we were running third. And cautions got us again at Texas two weeks ago. Hopefully, our mile-and-a-half program is far enough ahead of everybody else that we won’t have to worry about it on Friday night.”
The No. 77 South Point Casino Chevrolet Silverado at Homestead will be T-20, which is the same truck that Gaughan raced to a runner-up finish at Texas Motor Speedway just two weeks ago.
“We expect pretty good things,” Gaughan said. “We didn’t even take this truck apart after Texas . We kind of just blew the dust off it, serviced it and sent it right out to Homestead .
“There’s maybe a little bit of a different setup as far as Bryan is concerned, but not much. We are going back with almost the same thing that we ended there with last year, and we’re just going to try to improve one spot on it.”
Gaughan says the fact that the team tested there earlier this year is just another plus for him and his team as they enter the season finale at a multi-groove track where he loves racing.
“The test should help us a ton,” Gaughan said. “I brag so much about testing – that’s why our mile and a half stuff has been so good this year. It’s really the only style race track we’ve really had a chance to go test on. We tested at Homestead , Charlotte and Chicago a couple of times. That’s been the strongest suit for this team and when we get to test, we’re good.
“And Homestead is a great place – it’s got four and five grooves of racing. It’s my style of place because it relies a lot on air, and the aero places I’m pretty good at. It has a really high groove, and I am able to get such a good run off the corners. I just have to get into the corner a little bit better to get a little bit faster, which I know Bryan can make happen. Maybe we will be in Victory Lane afterwards talking about it.”
Gaughan Talks About The Championship Battle
“First and foremost, this weekend is about this team and this team wants to finish in the top 10. Chevrolet did a bunch for us this year and brought us into their house. We would love to be another Chevrolet in the top 10 for them. Another thing is Ron Hornaday – we want to help Hornaday get his championship. That’s a big deal. If I can make sure that I stay in front of Mike Skinner the whole night – we’re going to try to win this race – but if I can try and stay a spot in front of Skinner and help Hornaday out, I will. Chevrolet has been good to me and I remember being in the same position a few years ago (2003) – not relying on anybody and running my own deal. It’s nice though when you have friends who will help. I’m definitely not going to do anything stupid. I’m not going to get even near either one of them and get them loose – I don’t want to screw around with the championship, but I would like to help Chevrolet in anyway possible. Winning the race for me, would take the most points, so that is one way to help.”
Crew Chief Bryan Berry Thanks Chevrolet For A Year of Unwavering Support
“Since this is the last race of the season, I have to thank everybody at Chevrolet. They have gone above and beyond – anything that we have called and asked for whether it be support or parts and pieces, they have been right there and have done everything. It’s been much more than what they said they would do for us. We could not have this race team headed in right direction without their support. Chevrolet has done everything they can to help us get to the top 10 in points, and that is our goal – to get there for us and for Chevrolet. They are part of our team, and we just want to thank them for everything this year.”