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Brendan Gaughan Pre-Race Report - Bristol

AUGUST 28, 2004

Brendan Gaughan on His Return to Bristol Motor Speedway: Gaughan, who claims he is not a short track racer, looks forward to returning to Bristol Motor Speedway, which gained a new nickname during Gaughan’s first NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series event at the famed 0.533-mile track.

“I have always said I wasn’t a short track driver,” said Gaughan. “During our test session back in March, Rusty [Wallace] was a big help though. He came over and helped us out with the car’s geometry. Then during the race, I ran in the top-10 the majority of the race in the No. 77 “The Punisher” Dodge. When I watched the TV broadcast later, I laughed when I heard them call Bristol “The Punisher”. I have to say, for not being a short track driver I enjoyed the hell out of racing Bristol! I can’t wait to get back to see what the excitement is like under the lights.”

Gaughan Hearing Voices?: During the Food City 500, Gaughan heard someone other than his spotter and crew chief talking to him. Amazed at first, he finally responded.

“All I know is I am running in the top-five and we are under caution when all of a sudden I hear, ‘Hey man, it’s Rusty. How ya doin’?’,” Gaughan said. “I looked around at first and realized holy crap, he is on my radio! So I said, ‘Well, I can still see you, so I guess I’m doin’ OK!’ Then [Rusty] told me to hang in there and that I was doing a great job. I have had plenty of people talk to me on the radio, but it’s weird when the ‘other people’ are two cars ahead of you!”

Shane Wilson on Returning to “Thunder Valley”: Wilson is confident in Gaughan’s ability at the short track and says this time around, we might just have the finish to show for a great run.

“When we visited Bristol [Motor Speedway] earlier this year, we had a great race,” Wilson said. “The one thing we didn’t have, and it seems to keep following us around, was a good finish to show. Brendan ran a clean and competitive race. He swept around lapped traffic like he had been racing that track for years. I have to say, having been with him for five years, even I was impressed with the talent he showed that day. Unfortunately, the races are only logged at the checkered flag. No one looks at what happened in between the green and checkered flags.”

Gaughan on the Level of Competition in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series:

“The difference in competition at this level vs. another, like the truck series, is the number of cars capable of running in a tight pack. With the NASCAR Truck Series, there might have been 10 to 15 trucks weekly that I knew I was competing against. The rest of the teams gave it all they had, but some weeks it still wasn’t good enough.”

“At this level, there are more than 37 cars and some weeks, the entire field of 43. Everyone is running within one-hundredth of a second from one another and it is dog-eat-dog. Anyone who thinks they can just jump into a Cup car and hit the circuit needs a brake check. Drivers at this level have been competing in NASCAR divisions for years and only a few are ever lucky enough to make it to the top. There is a reason for that.

Racing is like any other sport. You have to start young and practice. You have to live, eat and breathe racing. Then if you are lucky, like me, some day someone will take notice. The thing is you have to be realistic and you have to be prepared to chase it forever.”

Equipment: Gaughan will race chassis PJR-28 at Bristol Motor Speedway on Aug. 28. PJR-28 is the same chassis Gaughan raced at Rockingham (St. 15th/Fin. 20th), Bristol (St. 7th/Fin. 20th), and Dover (St. 5th/Fin. 27th) earlier this year. Gaughan set no records at “The Rock”. He experienced handling conditions and a lack of confidence early in the event. Bristol was a different story. Gaughan raced the half-mile course as though he had been doing it for years. He was posted in the top-10 the majority of the day but received damage courtesy of another competitor. At Dover, Gaughan surprised everyone with his fifth-place qualifying effort. While trying to navigate through a multi-car collision, Gaughan’s car made contact with another competitor’s machine. The damage required a visit to the garage area for repairs.

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