By Brian Hilderbrand
LAS VEGAS SUN
HOMESTEAD, Fla. -- Brendan Gaughan turned in his fourth top-10 finish of the
season Sunday in the Ford 400 in what could prove to be his final race in the
No. 77 Kodak Dodge for Penske-Jasper Racing.
Gaughan, a Las Vegas native, said he does not know if he will return to
Penske-Jasper Racing in the Nextel Cup Series next season, but indicated he
would run several Craftsman Truck Series races in 2005 for his family-owned
A Penske-Jasper official said last week that Gaughan's status with the team
would not be evaluated until after the NASCAR banquet in early December. Gaughan
has been the subject of several "silly season" rumors, including one that has
him headed to the No. 0 Haas CNC Racing Chevrolet.
"If I can run Nextel Cup and run the full season, great," Gaughan said. "If I
can run some races with really good teams, great. One of my big concerns is
trying to stay with Dodge; I do want to remain with Dodge Motorsports. It is
where I want to stay, but at the same time I've got to do what I've got to do.
"If I've got to go change manufacturers for a few years, then great, but the
Orleans team will never, ever leave Dodge Motorsports. I've got options for a
lot of things; I've got choices here and choices there. Good people are talking
to me that want me to do some things. At the end of the year, we'll weigh
options and see what it is best for me and what I want to do."
One thing Gaughan wants to do is to run as many truck races with Las Vegas-based
"Steve Park had a heck of a run to end the year -- from 29th in points ... to
ninth and still couldn't catch a break all year," Gaughan said. "You give Steve
Park one break and we're going to be awesome. I'm going to come back home next
year and run a bunch with him.
"Steve is still the driver; I'm just going to come and run for fun. We've got a
lot of trucks built and maybe we'll buy a couple of new ones. As much as I can
afford to run I'm going to go out there and play because those guys are still my
family, they're the most important thing to me. I'm going to go out there and
see if we can't win a few (races)."
In the meantime, Gaughan can take comfort in the fact that he was able to race
with the leaders in the Nextel Cup Series when he was provided with comparable
"We took a shot at fifth in the end," Gaughan said after finishing behind fellow
Las Vegan Kurt Busch. "I didn't care about any Chase for the Championship -- I
wanted a top five for Kodak. I didn't care about the three championship guys
(because) I drive for Kodak."
Gaughan finished second to Kasey Kahne in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year
points and 28th in the Nextel Cup standings.