Brendan Gaughan Pre-Race Report - Mansfield
Driver: Brendan Gaughan
Owner: Michael Gaughan
Event: City of Mansfield 250
Mansfield Motorsports Speedway
Race: Saturday, May 27 – 2:15 pm (ET)
Qualifying: Friday, May 26 – 6:30 pm (ET)
0.50 -mile oval, 125 miles/250 laps
Notes of Interest:
Military Appreciation Program (MAP): This week the emblem of the Combat Control Team (CCT) will take its rightful spot of the No. 77 Orleans Dodge. The CCT motto is: “First There”.
The Mission Statement: Air Force Special Operations Command’s combat controllers are Battlefield Airmen assigned to special tactics squadrons. They are trained special operations forces and certified FAA air traffic controllers. The mission of a combat controller is to deploy, undetected, into combat and hostile environments to establish assault zones or airfields, while simultaneously conducting air traffic control, fire support, command and control, direct action, counter-terrorism, foreign internal defense, humanitarian assistance and special reconnaissance in the joint arena.
Their motto, "First There," reaffirms the combat controller’s commitment to undertaking the most dangerous missions behind enemy lines by leading the way for other forces to follow.
More on the CCT can be found at:
Gaughan on CCT: “The Combat Control Team is a branch of the Special Forces of the military. They’re the guys that have to sit on the ground and do the hard work. They’re the guys that get there and get buried into a place and stay there for awhile. They’re the guys you don’t get to hear about or talk about much. Out here at Nellis Air Force Base with the A-10 school that we do so much with, there are a couple of those guys that teach at the A-10 school. So we’ve had a chance to meet a couple of those guys. They’re a pretty strange, odd group of men but they’re fun to hang out with. They’re another branch of the military that we don’t get to hear much about that we want to make shout out to.”
The piece: Gaughan will drive Orleans Racing’s T6
Mansfield Motorsports Speedway
Gaughan on Mansfield: “I’m going to start with my favorite quote about short tracks: I hate short tracks. It’s an old-fashioned, good, mean, short track. Last year was my first year running there. We had some interesting weather. Hopefully this year Mansfield doesn’t have to worry about rebuilding a grandstand overnight after a tornado. The track did a good job handling that situation last year. It put them under a lot of pressure when that tornado blew through a night before the race. They did a good job getting the track looking perfect. You could barely tell anything had happened.”
“As for the track itself, it’s tough. It’s just a standard short track. You want to be on the bottom but you can pass on the outside there. There was a little bit of passing to be done, so that’s nice. That was the race we invented the Bodine Bumper. Todd and I goofed around during the race. We’re pretty good buddies. He pushed me down the straightaway and it didn’t wreck his nose. Then I tried to hit him and it wrecked my nose. I thought, ‘Hey, wait a second…’ and we invented the Bodine Bumper.”
“It’s a neat little track. It will be fun to go race there again because right now the Dodges are at a disadvantage – a marked disadvantage on the big tracks and at the short tracks we’re not. So it’s time to go out there and try to show that the Orleans Racing team aerowise might not be good but with the Dodge horsepower and good old-fashioned chassis engineering we’re going to go out there and try to win.”
SO YOU’RE EXPECTING A GOOD FINISH DESPITE THE FACT THAT YOU “HATE” SHORT TRACKS - “Yeah, we think so. You definitely can see that the Dodges are not up to snuff right now when it comes to big track racing. We’re still struggling and we’re the best Dodge team. We were the best Dodge again at Charlotte. Of course it was 14th – not that good. So we’re going to go to Mansfield with a little bit more confidence after Martinsville where we went from the back to the front. Hey, you know what? Dodges aren’t at a disadvantage here and we’re going to prove it. We’re going to see if we can’t start getting some of these wins on some of the short tracks and mile tracks that are coming up here pretty soon.”
ABOUT RAMBO COMING ABOARD AT MANSFIELD LAST YEAR – “That was one of the most amusing things I think I’ve ever asked anybody to do in my entire life. Frankly, it’s stupid. Billy Wilburn, of course, started the year with us last year and got offered a great deal with Robert Yates Racing and Dale Jarrett. Mansfield was the first race that Rambo was no longer with the Busch team that he was with. We needed a crew chief and he’s from Ohio. So I called him up and he said he was going to be in Ohio visiting in family. I said, ‘Wanna come be a crew chief?’ It was priceless. He showed up and said, ‘Hey, who’s my truck chief?’ and ‘Who’s my fuel guy?’ He didn’t know anybody. He just walked into a rag tag group and decided to be their crew chief and he’s been here ever since. It’s been a lot of fun. There were times when there was no pressure and there are times when there is pressure. There are times that he’s yelling and there are times when I’m yelling. But the last year has definitely been fun and definitely been good for the Orleans Racing team. He’s really helped bring us back up to speed. I’d love to see a win on his one-year anniversary and his home track race. There would be a lot of good story lines if we could get one there.”
Tony “Rambo” Liberati on his one-year anniversary with Orleans Racing – “It’s been quite an interesting little ride here. I’m enjoying it and I’m hoping that I’m going to get a two- and three- and four-year anniversary underneath my belt.”
ISN’T MANSFIELD A TOUGH PLACE TO START A NEW RELATIONSHIP? – “Yeah, Brendan had a need at Mansfield last year and I was there. I’m looking forward to going to Mansfield because it’s in Ohio. I’m from Ohio and I know the Mansfield track. I was at the Mansfield track when it was dirt. It’s sort of special and I’ve sort of laid it on Brendan’s shoulders that he’s going to win the race there no matter what. We’re going up there loaded for bear. We’re taking our favorite truck. Tom Buzze put the super-duper double throw-down set up on it and we’re ready to go. We’ve got that warm, fuzzy feeling and hopefully with it not being a big aero track because the Dodges have got a little deficit on the aero side here that we’re working real hard to fix. I’m looking real forward to going to Mansfield. All the Goodfellas are going to be there, AKA The Clampetts and the whole family. I’m looking forward to it.”
Meet the Crew:
Race Day Duty
Front Tire Changer
Mechanic / Tuner
Rear Tire Changer
Rear Tire Hanger
Front Tire Hanger
Tire Spec / Fabricator
Culver City, CA
Listen in on the #77: The team’s primary radio frequency is 451.3371.