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Gaughan predicts 'great race' at new Vegas

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series conducted its first test at the revamped Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Wednesday with all the drivers in attendance raving about the new circuit.

The 1.5-mile oval has undergone massive changes since the last time the series visited it with the banking now much higher than before and graded like the Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Four teams were in action, testing tyres for Goodyear, and all were excited about the type of racing that the new circuit should produce.

Hometown hero Brendan Gaughan winner of the 2003 Las Vegas 350 at LVMS is still fond of the old track but has found much to like about the new pavement and banked turns.

"I liked that old track," Gaughan admitted. "It was smooth as glass and they did a great job. But this place is going to be fun. It's got some characteristics that Vegas didn't have before. The speeds are 'way up and I think it's going to be a fast place if we can get Goodyear to pick us a good tyre, they brought a couple different ones for us to try, we'll have a great race."

Although speeds were generally up over the previous layout, Gaughan warned that the race speeds seen in next months Las Vegas 350 would depend largely on the type of tyre Goodyear brings with them.

"It depends on which set of tyres you put on," said Gaughan when asked to predict speeds. "There are a couple sets of tyres that are actually slower, and a couple that make us a little faster and a couple that make us 'way faster. (The track qualifying record of 165.320 mph was set by Mike Skinner in 2004.) It all just depends on what tyre you put on. All in all, I've seen us in race trim do 31.7s and 31.6s, so I think you'll definitely see at least a second faster."

"This ought to be called 'Las Vegas Superspeedway' now," added series veteran Rick Crawford. "It's a really nice place. You're going to have side-by-side racing, a lot of drafting, a lot of speed, and a lot of excitement for the fans. I can't wait to come back next month. I like the width and the grip of the racetrack. They did a nice job on the construction. The speeds are going to be faster."

© 2006 Cyber Speed Design