Rusty Wallace Racing Teammates Looking to Continue Early Season Momentum
Fresh off a pair of top-ten finishes in last week’s Nationwide Series race in California. Rusty Wallace Racing teammates Brendan Gaughan and Steve Wallace head to Las Vegas this week, set on keeping their early season momentum alive.
While every race is important in the team’s chase for the 2009 Nationwide Series title, this week’s event takes on a special significance, as the battlefield lies in the deserts of Las Vegas, the hometown of Gaughan and RWR primary sponsor, South Point Hotel & Casino.
If history is any indication, the RWR duo looks to be a pretty good bet this weekend in “Sin City.” Las Vegas Motor Speedway marked the spot for the debut of the “reborn” RWR effort in 2004 and the 2008 event was the team’s best Las Vegas outing to date.
David Stremme, piloting the team’s No. 64 car, started 21st in 2008 and climbed as high as second before ending up with a fifth-place finish. His teammate, No. 66—Steve Wallace also showed great strength, starting 12th and climbing as high as fourth, before a lap 46 accident ended his day.
Thus far in 2009, RWR seems to be one of the teams to watch in the Nationwide Series, as Gaughan—a former Truck Series winner at LVMS—enters Vegas looking for his third straight top-15 and second consecutive top-ten effort. He currently leads the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings and sits eighth overall in the driver standings.
Noted Gaughan, “Vegas is always a special race for me. It’s a track where I’ve traditionally ran very well and it’s always great to get to hang out with my friends and family; that means a lot to me. There will be a lot of them at the race on Saturday, so hopefully we can put on a good show and rack up another top-ten finish for our South Point Hotel & Casino team. I’ve got a lot of confidence in the team and equipment at Rusty Wallace Racing, so I’m ready to get it on.”
Meanwhile, teammate Wallace is looking to build some momentum of his own, as the third-year driver rebounded nicely last week in California, after being taken out of contention at Daytona. His top-ten effort in California vaulted him 19 spots, to 23rd, in the driver standings.
Both Wallace and Gaughan are heading into battle this weekend upon the same horses which carried them to top-ten finishes in the California event. Wallace will pilot RWR-022, the team’s intermediate workhorse over the last two seasons. The “22 car” carried Stremme to his fifth place effort in last year’s event at Las Vegas and also scored a pole at Nashville in 2007 with Wallace aboard.
Said Wallace, “The 22 car was probably my very favorite car in 2007; we won a pole with it at Nashville and almost put it in Victory Lane at Kentucky. David ran really well with it last year, but I’m sure glad to have the 22 car back in my camp this year. We had a great run with it last weekend at California and I’m looking forward to doing it again this weekend. We had a top-five run going at Vegas last year and I more or less made a rookie mistake. I’m ready to make up for that this year and put our USfidelis Chevrolet Impala SS up front at the end of the day.”
Meanwhile, the weapon of choice for Gaughan and the No. 62 team this weekend is RWR-020, the car which Gaughan wheeled to his ninth-place run last week in California. Before that, the “20 car” last ran with Wallace at the helm in 2008 at Charlotte I, Chicagoland, Michigan and California II.
Notes of Interest:
- Personal Appearances: RWR team owner, Rusty Wallace, along with team drivers Brendan Gaughan and Steve Wallace, will appear for public autographs at South Point Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, on Friday from 6:00 PM-7:00 PM. Visit southpointcasino.com for more information.
- Building the Brand: Look for Steve Wallace in the latest Nationwide Insurance television commercial promoting their “Driver Pick Em’” game on ESPN.com. This commercial is the fifth national television spot currently on air featuring Wallace. The Nationwide spot follows commercials by team sponsors 5-Hour Energy and USfidelis. Wallace will also be featured in two other national television commercials for additional clients by mid-2009.
- Ready, Set, Talk!: The ever-personable Brendan Gaughan will serve as in-race reporter for the live national telecast of this weekend’s event in his hometown of Las Vegas. His No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet will carry a number of high-definition on-board cameras and Gaughan will interact with the ESPN2 team throughout the race. Joked one crew member who spoke on the condition of anonymity, “Oh boy, that’s just what they need to do—let Brendan talk on television during the race; those TV guys are going to have one heck of a time getting a word in! Hopefully, though, he’ll talk his way right into Victory Lane at the end of the day.”