Brendan Gaughan Pre-Race Report - Gateway

Notes of Interest:

The Dodge Ram Gaughan will drive is Orleans Racing's T10 truck. This Dodge Ram's last outing came at the California Speedway, where it finished 21st. The backup Dodge will be Orleans Racing's T13 entry.

The last time Gaughan raced at Gateway he was in the #62 Orleans Racing Dodge, where he led the field to the checkers. The win netted Gaughan $52,460 and was one of six victories in the 2003 campaign.

Gaughan on Gateway:

"Gateway is a lot of fun. I have a lot of bad runs there and a couple great runs. It's one of those tracks where fortunately aerodynamics kind of gets taken out of play and you rely a lot on your geometry. Right now the Orleans team is struggling with our geometries a little bit. We're trying to get our suspension program in a better position. This is not a track you want to go to when you're struggling suspension-wise but if you figure it out there you can figure it out anywhere. So we're going to go there and Billy Wilburn has got us some sort of geometry on it that he feels really good about.

"Turns 1 and 2 are really tough corners. It's high speed and heavy braking down to very slow. It's a very, very tight corner. NASCAR has taken our ability to actually drive the racecars away now. We actually just have to sit there and be a monkey. Now we don't shift and we don't do anything. With the new gear rule we're not allowed to be using a shifter. So it's going to be new for everybody.

"In the past, when the Orleans team won there in 2003 I shifted four times per lap downshifted twice and upshifted twice. So it's going to be a little bit different for us and we're going to have to make it work with a different theory."

WHAT MAKES YOU GOOD AT GATEWAY? "One thing that made us good is we had a really good suspension package for there. We had a really good front end setup that made it stick through the really tight Turns 1 and 2 but not get real loose over in Turns 3 and 4. That's what you battle. It's one of those place where you can be great on one end and horrible on the other or you can find that nice medium ground. We found that medium ground really well and we were just a rocket ship.

"Now shifting was a big deal because you could take and slow down so much better using the engine, get the thing whoa-ed down, get the rpm's down where you have the horsepower to get back on the throttle. Kevin Kroyer builds great power. We were never really nervous about blowing an engine there so we could run a lot of horsepower, turn at all those low rpm's, and get it on the horsepower band. Now I don't see how NASCAR can come up with one gear for both corners. It's just going to be a wait-and-see for this year."

NOW THAT WE'RE USING 2005 POINTS WILL YOU APPROACH QUALIFYING ANY DIFFERENTLY? "No. The 77 team is still not in the top 30. We're 35th in owner's points so we still have some work to do to get ourselves in the show. NASCAR has had 34 or 35 teams show up to every race this year in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Car counts are good. They're up. That's a good thing for the series and a good thing for the sport. NASCAR is going to be sending regular guys home that probably shouldn't be going home. I haven't looked at the entry list. It's a stand-alone weekend with Cup and Busch racing somewhere else. So we'll probably be in the show fairly easily. Give us one or two good runs and we'll be back in the top 30 and we'll be going out and forgetting about qualifying and getting down to racing."

WHAT DOES IT DO TO YOUR PSYCHE TO MISS THOSE RACES? "It sucks for the whole team. It's really not a psyche situation. It just upsets you. You've got sponsors to take care of. If I was qualifying 33rd and was going home, that does something to your psyche. Then you say, `Oh man! Maybe I can't do this. Maybe I'm not very good at this stuff.' But when you qualify 19th and get sent home, it does nothing to your psyche. That says, wow, NASCAR's got this messed up. They need to make a change here.

"The guys in the shop worked hard. The sponsor, Jasper Engines has supported us and said, `Hey, we knew we might run into this problem.' Now that we're going to go to a couple tracks where there's going to be 38 or 39 teams show up and it should be a little easier to make the show. Now we'll go back and jump in and try to go back and get in that top 30 and not worry about qualifying. For those top 30 qualifying doesn't matter any more."

AT MARTINSVILLE WE WERE OFF BY 0.05-SECOND. BUT GUYS IN THE SHOW WERE 2.5 OR 3 SECONDS OFF. "That's part of what they've done. They said they did this rule to stop people from starting and parking. I think NASCAR reacted to, once again one of the things that used to upset me last year was the media blows things out of proportion. They have to find something to write about. So they wrote about Andy Hillenburg and Andy Belmont and Kirk Shelmerdine and Morgan Shepherd saying they were doing something wrong. They weren't doing a dang thing wrong. They showed up to the racetrack. They made the race by the rules of the day. Everybody that was supposed to be in the show normally made the show and those guys got out of the way. Now NASCAR's created a situation where we have three teams that are in the top 30 in points and they're going to make every race with a million different drivers and be three seconds off the pace but the owner is just selling the car out each week to the highest bidder so he can stay in the top 30. I don't think that's right. I think that the other way, everybody that was supposed to be in made the show. Some guys took spaces that were open and got out of the way when it was time to get out of the way. I didn't see a problem with that."

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