By Brian Hilderbrand
Las Vegas Sun
It is difficult to tell whether Brendan Gaughan is more excited about the 2005 racing season coming to a close or that the start of the 2006 season is only two months away.
Gaughan, who struggled through the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season with his Las Vegas-based Orleans Racing team, is adamant that the organization can recapture its past glory next year.
"We're going to be bigger, better and stronger than we've ever been," Gaughan said.
After fielding two trucks for Steve Park and Gaughan this season, Orleans Racing will scale back to a single-truck effort with Gaughan as the driver.
"The good news is that we have 14 trucks for one team," Gaughan said. "We've got two truck teams worth of employees, two truck teams worth of vehicles, two truck teams worth of pieces and parts ... and we get to pick the best one team, so we're actually getting an advantage by cutting it back."
After winning six races and nearly capturing the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship in 2003, Gaughan returned to the series this season, but did not win a race and finished 19th in points. His best finish in 23 starts was a third-place effort at Memphis Motorsports Park in July.
Gaughan, who runs the family-owned team that his father, Michael, started, said he officially was retiring the familiar Orleans Hotel sponsorship that has graced the team's trucks since 2002.
"We're not going to go out of (our) pocket anymore to run this team," Gaughan said. "We're going to have sponsors and run this thing like a real race team."
Gaughan said Jasper Engines and Transmissions, which sponsored his No. 77 truck, would return in some capacity next season as well as "a couple of new sponsors."