Brendan Gaughan Joins Rusty Wallace Racing
--Truck Series Standout to Make Bid for 2009 Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year Honors--
—Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC (RWR) announced today that former NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year, Brendan Gaughan, will pilot the team’s No. 62 Chevrolet in a full-season bid for 2009 NASCAR Nationwide Series Raybestos Rookie of the Year honors. Gaughan assumes the ride—formerly the No. 64—driven by David Stremme and Max Papis to a top-ten finish in the 2008 standings.
The car number change—from No. 64 to No. 62—further establishes Rusty Wallace Racing’s family-owned heritage. The No. 62 was chosen in honor of Gaughan’s family racing background, which includes eight Truck Series wins while driving vehicles fielded by his family-owned No. 62 Orleans Racing team.
Stated Gaughan, "It's going to be very exciting for me to drive the No. 62 again. That number has a lot of meaning to my family that not many people know about. My big brother John's football number was 62 and my two big brothers have always been my heroes in life.
“My father has always been into numbers as well; when we first came up with the number back in 2001, he loved to remind me that his lucky number has always been eight and that “six plus two equals eight;” he would always remind me as if I couldn't figure that out!
“I also feel that the number is a tribute to Rusty. With all of his years running the No. 2 Miller Lite car, our replacing the four with a two—in the same style as his old number—makes it this an even bigger honor for me.”
Further, the team announced that Las Vegas-based South Point Hotel and Spa will serve as primary sponsor of Gaughan’s No. 62 team for a number for races in 2009. RWR plans to announce the complete sponsor lineup for the No. 62 in the coming weeks.
Noted RWR team owner Rusty Wallace, “I’ve known Brendan and his family for quite some time now and they’re all absolutely first-class people. Brendan has shown that he has the talent to get the job done; I could see that back in 2004 when we were teammates at Penske. He’s a more mature and focused driver now than he’s ever been and we’re really looking forward to having him as a part of our team in 2009.
“I also just can’t say enough about Michael Gaughan and everyone at South Point Hotel and Spa. Mr. Gaughan is a first-class individual and he has a phenomenal group of people around him. Everyone at RWR is thrilled about this new partnership and we can’t wait to get to Daytona. I feel like our team’s potential grew by leaps and bounds last year; we really think that 2009 is going to be a great year for both of our teams.”
While the driver-owner dynamic is new, Gaughan’s move to RWR is not his first experience with Rusty Wallace. Gaughan was teammate to Wallace and the No. 2 team at Penske Racing in 2004, when Gaughan piloted Penske’s No. 77 in the Cup Series.
Said Brendan, “In 2004, I had one of the greatest opportunities of my life, to race for Kodak and the Penske-Jasper team. While there, I had the good fortune to be a teammate to one of my racing heroes, Rusty Wallace. Although we struggled, Rusty was always there trying to help our No. 77 team. Whether it was allowing me to drive his No. 2 Miller Lite car in our first test together at Rockingham, or his testing my No. 77 car at Indianapolis, he was always there trying to help us improve."
In making his move to RWR and its No. 62 Chevrolet, Gaughan leaves his 2008 Truck Series seat with Circle Bar Racing and its No. 10 team.
Stated Gaughan, “It was an honor finally to meet Mr. Mitchell and be invited into his extended family. I will never forget what he did for my family and me at a very difficult time last year. I made a promise to Rick Crawford and Lisa Mitchell at the beginning of last year that I would not drive for another Truck Series team unless Circle Bar Racing wanted to scale back to one truck.
“With that said, I also expressed that I still had a desire to move up in series. Racing with Rick was a great time and had it not been for the opportunity with RWR, I was really looking forward to continuing in my pursuit of victories for Circle Bar Racing.”
In addition to its driver and sponsor announcements, RWR also announced several other key personnel moves:
- Brian Berry, Gaughan’s long-time truck series crew chief, will accompany Gaughan in his move and head the No. 62 team in 2009.
- Former No. 64 crew chief, Dale Ferguson, will move to the team’s No. 66 entry and third-generation driver Steve Wallace, for 2009. Ferguson led RWR’s No. 64 team and driver David Stremme, to 16 top-ten finishes in 2008, en route to a top-ten finish in the final owners’ standings.
- Former No. 66 car chief, Shane Huffman, has returned to the team after a brief hiatus and will serve as car chief for Gaughan and the No. 62 team in 2009.
About Rusty Wallace Racing, LLC
Mooresville, NC-based Rusty Wallace Racing is a professional auto racing team steeped in the legendary history of its founder and one of NASCAR’s top-ten drivers of all-time, Rusty Wallace. In 2008, the team’s No. 64 entry was ranked among the top-ten overall in the NASCAR Nationwide Series.
For 2009, the organization will campaign the No. 66 and No. 62 Chevrolets in the Nationwide Series. Its No. 66 entry will be piloted by third-generation wheelman, Steve Wallace and its No. 62 wheeled by former NASCAR Truck Series Rookie of the Year, Brendan Gaughan.
The team enjoys backing from 5-Hour Energy, South Point Hotel and Spa, Dannmar Equipment, Oakley, Advanced Payment Systems and Chevrolet. For more on Rusty Wallace Racing, please visit rustywallace.com.