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Gaughan To Sport Hoya Pride On Final Four Weekend

Brendan Gaughan admits that it’s not going to be easy focusing on Saturday afternoon’s Kroger 250 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway.

And it’s not because Gaughan dislikes the Virginia short track where he has a career best finish of sixth last spring. Instead, his heart will be with the Georgetown Hoyas as they compete in their first Final Four since 1985.

“My owner (my dad, Michael Gaughan) has threatened to fire me if I do not continue to focus on racing this week, and I actually take that threat seriously because he could. But I do have a torn heart right now,” said the former Georgetown guard (1994-1997). “My beloved Georgetown Hoyas are in the NCAA Final Four, which is the ultimate championship of any collegiate sport. My Hoyas are there, and I can’t be and that is tough.

“I was at the East Regional championship game on Sunday. I got to watch them cut down the nets and cheer ‘We Are… Georgetown’ with the team. I’m really upset right now that I can’t go to Atlanta for our first round Final Four game.

“We need to talk to Wayne Auton and Mike Helton and the powers that be at NASCAR,” Gaughan jokes. “And discuss the whole scheduling thing because I see a serious issue with scheduling conflicts.”

Although Gaughan can’t be at the basketball game in person on Saturday, he’ll be sporting his Hoya pride on his No. 77 South Point Chevrolet. Gaughan will carry decals featuring the Georgetown ‘G’ on the deck lid of his Silverado and the school’s mascot, Jack the Bulldog on the truck’s B-post.

“We’ve been given the rights by the University to run a Georgetown paint scheme. We ran one last year at New Hampshire, and we plan on running one again at Dover this year. But what better time to ride the ‘Hoya Saxa’ tide than at Martinsville when they are going to the Final Four?” Gaughan said. “We’re going to let Jack go for a ride and see if the basketball team’s success transfers to the race track.

“Tom Buzze, my general manager, has said that this week, because Georgetown is in the Final Four that I have to finish in the top four. Everybody knows I hate Martinsville, so that means I have my work cut out for me.”

To prepare for the Martinsville Speedway challenge, Gaughan and his South Point Racing team spent two days testing last week at Ace Speedway in Altamahaw, N.C. Chevrolet teammate and two-time Martinsville winner Dennis Setzer joined Gaughan at the test session to coach him on his short track driving style.

“Having Dennis come and help me meant a lot because he is my hero when it comes to short tracks,” Gaughan said. “For him to say that we had really sound and good trucks after that test really excites me. It has me looking forward to Martinsville.”

Gaughan has another reason for wanting to have his best run ever at Martinsville – two of his over-the-wall pit crew members hail from the Henry County area. Calvin Gravely, 38, works as the mechanic and jack man while Danny Goad, 23, is the team’s engine tuner and rear tire changer.

“We want to perform well for them,” Gaughan said. “We want Calvin and Danny to walk out of the Martinsville track with a sense of pride – that we were able to beat up on the other teams at their home track.

“I got to experience that in my backyard at Las Vegas a few years ago (2003), and I want for Calvin and Danny to have that this weekend.”

In fact, Gaughan hopes that the whole race team has something to celebrate when the checkered flag waves. And after scoring a solid finish at Martinsville, Gaughan plans on planting himself in front of the best television he can find to cheer on his Hoyas.

“I will be watching the game – my race team will just have to stay until it’s over,” Gaughan said. “It’s going to be classic battle of big men. I hope the refs will let the big men play. I think the difference in the game is going to be Georgetown’s forwards – Dejuan Summers and Patrick Ewing Jr. It should be a good game, but I say Georgetown by five.

“And then I’ll be in Atlanta on Monday.”

© 2006 Cyber Speed Design