BRENDAN GAUGHAN (No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge Ram)
OPENING REMARKS ďDover this weekend is probably the first weekend Iíve been excited about this season. Iíve been excited to be back at home. Daytona was fun because Daytona is a wild card. Weíve been working on getting our equipment back up to snuff. Billy Wilburn did a great job for us getting our chassis fixed and giving Charlie Wilson some of the time to take care of the normal crew chief things that need to be done while Billy cleaned our shop out. He got rid of all the junk and made it back to what it used to be.
ďThe last couple of weeks Iíve had the opportunity to work with a crew chief Ė Rambo Ė Toni Liberati or Liberace like I like to call him. Heís too short to be a Rambo, so Liberace works for me, but weíve had Rambo the last couple of weeks. It started out like Ďcome and help me these next two weeks and get me through this tough spot where Iím looking for my crew chief.í After the chemistry he and I had and the way the Orleans team has run, we do things as a team. After qualifying at Charlotte, I looked at the whole team and said Ďall right guys, Iím pretty happy.í I put it to a vote of both teams and every guy on the 77 and 62 raised their hands. They wanted Rambo to come and be our crew chief full time. I offered him a job. He went out and met my dad and now Rambo is going to take over the reigns of the 77. Iím pretty happy.
ďThis is the first week also that I feel like our Dodges are capable of winning. Weíve been working on things, have new bodies on our race cars. Itís the first week that I feel our Dodges are ready to start winning. The engine department is up to snuff. The bodies are up to snuff. Iím pumped up about this weekend.Ē
MENTALLY, WHAT MAKES THE TEAM READY TO WIN? ďOne of the big things is Rambo is infectious. Heís a guy who comes in like me. Heís always up on the muscle. Heís always aggressive. He doesnít yell at the guys, which is what you would expect. He knows how to get the guys to work hard for him. He knows how to motivate. Charlie Wilson, the crew chief for Steve Park, has been here the last two and a half, three years. Charlie has been working his tail off, getting bodies fixed, getting things back where I feel like we can repeat at the level we used to compete at. This is the first Dodge body Iíve had that I feel like it aerodynamically correct. We went to the wind tunnel with it. Weíve been doing a lot of testing. I really feel we honestly have something to contend with. With Ramboís personality and the chemistry we have and the chemistry he brought to the teamÖ. Iíve got the young team. Weíve got the kids on our team. These kids have responded like I couldnít believe.Ē
HAS THIS BEEN A FRUSTRATING PERIOD? ďItís been a lot of fun actually. I expected it to be somewhat more frustrating, but itís been a lot of fun. Iíve been out there trying to pseudo general manage it. I have a good friend thatís trying to help me do the business end of it. Iíve got to handle the Jasper Engines and Dodge stuff and Iíve still got to handle the racing end of the deal. Itís been a lot of fun. Iím back in control of my race team and back in control of my own destiny, which is something I can have a lot more fun with when I can do things my way. Right now Iím sitting in Georgetown University at the old Yates Field House. Itís a big on-campus multi-sport gymnasium, and Iím hanging out with a bunch of guys I played ball with. Iím out here working out with them, and Iím back enjoying what I do. I canít say itís been frustrating. Iíd have to say itís been a lot of fun right now.Ē
DO YOU MISS THE CUP SERIES? ďI guess everybody misses the money. None of us can lie. Look at how greedy some of the guys are. Theyíre definitely in it for the money, some of Ďem. Do I miss it though? No. Iím much happier doing what Iím doing, much happier being with the team that means so much more to me than driving for some random company that people say, Ďwell, this is big.í I canít really say I miss it.Ē
COMMENT ON DODGE IN THE 2005 NASCAR CRAFTSMAN TRUCK SERIES ďWe know the Dodges are strong, and it hasnít been a deal where the Dodges couldnít win. It was the Orleans team. We got Steve (Park) a win, and I was real proud of him. That was more a driver win there. He drove the heck out of that truck to get that W. Our trucks were not up to the caliber they should be. For Steve to get that win was big for Steve because that was a pure driver win. The Dodges are definitely at a disadvantage in many categories especially versus the Toyota. NASCAR has given up so many concessions to make them fast. These guys are going out there and putting qualifying setups in and it makes it tough to make shows, but Dodges are still the best trucks. Weíve got the best drivers, and weíve got the best trucks, so weíre still winning. Itís tough to go to NASCAR and say we need help in this department when we win all the races.Ē
DID YOU WATCH THE COCA-COLA 600? ďDo you mean the six and a half hour yawner? Actually I took a break. I went to a movie in the middle of it. Thatís the fun thing about not being in Nextel Cup any more. I went to see The Longest Yard. It was a good movie. I watched a replay of it, and of course I Tivoed it so I could watch bits and pieces. It was an interesting race. Iím not going to knock on guys. You kind of wonder what some guys are thinking some days. It was a boring race except it had a lot of what the fans want Ė a lot of crashes and a lot of controversy with teammates taking each other out in the Ganassi camp, and that was an accident. Casey getting Sterling, the Michael and Dale thing, wow. Having Ryan Newman come back from that mess and finishing where he did. Jimmie Johnson, I love him to death. Weíve been friends forever. Dang, heís good. It was a fun race for me to watch. I watched the first part of it, went to a movie, came back and the race was still on. Watched the end, so I enjoyed it.Ē
COMMENT ON BILLY WILBURN ďI was really happy for Billy. Him and D.J.ís first race together and they squeeze out a top 10. Thatís pretty awesome. When Wilburn left the Orleans Racing Team, there were no politics, no double talking, no hiding what you really mean. We left on great terms. He wanted to be back in North Carolina, and he really did a great job fixing my shop up. It just wasnít the right situation for him with the age of the mechanics I have. Heís better in a big, set structure, and I think heís going to be fantastic at Yates. I think heís going to survive over there. Iím excited for him.Ē
COULD YOU CALL HIM UP AND ASK A QUESTION? ďAbsolutely. When he left to go back to North Carolina, on the way out the door he was going to come help us out at Mansfield (Ohio truck race) if I needed him. It was deal where he left because he had personal things he wanted to take care of. He got home. He made some phone calls and the Yates thing came up. I couldnít be happier for him. That was awesome. If I do need something I can call and ask for him. Itís still a good relationship with him. Iím happy about that.Ē
COULD YOU GO TO HIS HAULER AT A COMBINATION RACE? ďThe thing about the trucks, they donít work identical, which is nice about the Craftsman Truck Series. The same geometry, the things that make this sport such a hit and miss sport, still holds true. If I ever needed something, I feel 100 percent confident I could go over and ask Billy Wilburn and heíd help us out.Ē
DOES IT HELP WHEN THE TEAM PUTS HEAT ON THE DRIVER TO PICK IT UP? ďIt depends on what it is. If itís an equipment problem, no, it means nothing. If itís the driver and he needs to step up, yeah. I canít speak for Jason Leffler or Brian Vickers. Iím not in those organizations, and I donít speculate on those guys. Theyíre both friends and they both do a heck of a job driving race cars. I donít think they forgot (how to drive), but in my case, every race car I was in last year got blown away the day I walked out the door. You can find them all for sale at the old Penske Racing shop, so I donít doubt what happened to me.Ē
CAN PRESSURE MAKE A DRIVER PRESS TOO MUCH? ďIf a driver pushes a little too hard in the equipment he has that day, yeah, it can happen. Itís our job to get the most out of whatever car we have. I put enough pressure on myself. I thrive on pressure. I played for John Thompson. I love pressure. I start every race in the Craftsman Truck Series like Bill Russell did Ė with butterflies. If the butterflies go away, then you need to quit what youíre doing. We all know how I think of most of the media most days. Itís just a way to appease the media and get what they want out of a sponsor to make it look like theyíre working hard.Ē