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South Point Racing Looks For Redemption, Victory At West Coast Track

After the checkered flag waved at Daytona on Friday night, NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) driver Brendan Gaughan had one thing to say: “We’re going to win a lot of races this year.”

Despite being wrecked in the closing laps of the season-opening race and finishing 21st, Gaughan couldn’t hide his excitement about the South Point Racing team or his No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado. Now, Gaughan wants to back up his statement with a victory at nearby California Speedway.

“Daytona is a tough place in that nothing really corresponds to anywhere else except for team chemistry,” Gaughan said. “And this South Point Racing team has that. The way the pit crew performed that night was awesome. I have a 64-year-old fuel man (Bill Caldwell) who can do a fuel only stop faster than any other guy in the Series.

“The way the over-the-wall guys performed. The way that crew chief Bryan Berry calls a race and how calm he stays through the whole deal – he keeps me abreast of what’s happening, he stays calm. As good as Billy Holbrook is at spotting right now – everything as far as this team is concerned is on game.

“All the support that Chevrolet has given us and all the stuff we are doing independently to make us stronger is going to pay off, and we are going to win a ton of races this year. I’ve never seen this team so excited about it and so ready to do it.”

Gaughan would like nothing more than to start the winning streak at California Speedway, where the team will compete in the season’s second race, the San Bernardino County 200 this Friday night at 6 p.m. PT.

For Gaughan who prides himself on owning and competing in one of NASCAR’s top series with a Las Vegas-based race team, the two-mile speedway in Fontana is considered home turf.

“We say that we are the only team on the west coast, and when they come here, we fight at California like it is our own home track of Las Vegas,” Gaughan said. “Our team takes a little more pride walking into California.

“They are traveling to us, so we feel we should be rested better. We feel that it’s our job to protect that turf. We take California under that wing.

“We really were in a position to take that Daytona trophy back to the West Coast. We were sitting in the top 10 with 13 laps to go. We were sitting in the right place waiting to see what was going to shake out when we got caught up in someone else’s wreck.

"We feel that we had that one stolen from us, but 21st in points is not as bad as it could have been. To come home in 21st is kind of a gift, so we’ll take that go to California, win it and move us in to the top 15.

"I want to make sure that the California trophy stays out here.”

In five previous NCTS starts at California Speedway, Gaughan has one pole and two top 10s. The South Point Racing team also has one victory at California in NCTS competition with driver Steve Park (2005). Gaughan wants to add to those numbers on Friday night.

“California Speedway has always been a really great race track for the South Point Racing team,” Gaughan said. “It’s always been a great track for me – going back to my Winston West days when I won there.

“I’ve had that truck race won twice and twice we had it taken away from us last minute – we had a flat tire once and then finished third the other year. This year, I want to close the deal.”

© 2006 Cyber Speed Design