by Mike Snow - Orleans Racing
Driver: Brendan Gaughan
Owner: Michael Gaughan
EVENT: UAW Ohio 250
Mansfield Motorsports Speedway - Mansfield, Ohio
Sunday, May 15, 2005 - 2:15 p.m. (EDT)
Qualifying: Saturday, May 14, 2005 - 5:30 p.m. (EDT)
0.44-mile oval, 110 miles/250 laps
Trucks --- #6 primary #13 backup
“I personally have not raced at Mansfield. I’m going back to my old mantra of ‘I hate short tracks.’ The guys in the shop that have been with the Orleans team the longest remember the days of four in a row at Irwindale and two in a row at Evergreen, Bakersfield wins and all these short track wins that I have and I even said back then, ‘I hate short tracks.’ That’s going to be my moniker for the rest of my career.
“Steve Park had a lot of nice things to say about the place. The fans are awesome. I was talking to the Craftsman Truck Series Director, and it was amazing. It rained all last year and it was soggy and wet and 40,000 people still showed up and trudged through the mud to see the race. So we expect a really great crowd. It’s the only race in that area of the Midwest for any of the three premiere divisions. There are a lot of people to draw from. I’ve heard the track has put up a few more grandstands than they had here the year before. So we’re looking forward to a good crowd and we’re going to go there and try to beat their doors off.”
IS THIS REMINISCENT OF HOW YOU STARTED YOUR RACING CAREER? -- “I started different from most. My first race that wasn’t in the desert was actually at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway in a Truck race in 1997. That was my first NASCAR race. It was on the big track.
“I came from a different world. The first time I went to Tucson Raceway Park, I looked over the ridge and said, ‘Where’s the rest of it?’ That’s why I’ve always been so much more intimidated by short tracks. Somewhere along the line with Bill McAnally in the NAPA days we got pretty good at it.
“We’ve got two good trucks. I’m taking Truck No. 6, which I have not used yet this year. Going back to our one-team philosophy, this was actually Steve’s backup truck. It was our second best short track truck so it’s now my truck. Steve’s got a brand new short track truck that’s got just one race on it at Martinsville. So we feel really good about the vehicles we’re taking there.
“I normally don’t finish short track races with many of my fenders left so hey, if that’s what it takes, we’re going to try to beat our way to the front.”
IS IT ALL ABOUT HANDLING AT A PLACE LIKE MANSFIELD? – “Our aero issues that we’ve been working on are nil when it comes to Mansfield. You can finish without the front bumper and the rear bumper and still be just fine. We do believe that thanks to Billy Wilburn our chassis department has gotten up to speed. So we’re going to take some of that good stuff.
”I’ve got Rambo Liberati coming to help me out this weekend. I’ve got all the faith in the world with what Charlie Wilson is starting with. Now it’s up to Rambo and I to tune it in. We’ve got to make the show again this week and that’s part of this new points system. I feel really good with what I know about Rambo and what we have to start with. You take aero out and we’re just going to go and mash the gas.
“We’re 33rd in owner points and I think 34th in driver points. We had a good finish going at Gateway and we would have been in the top 30 but with nine laps to go we had that upper control arm break. It’s one of those things. Since November of 2003 my luck sure has been bad. It’s time for some things to change. I wouldn’t mind a good year-and-a-half string of good luck now.
“With a good run at Mansfield we’ll be in the top 30 and that will be a bid deal. That means we can focus back on our race setups and not have to focus on making the show. Once we get this reorganization done at Orleans Racing I believe it shouldn’t be an issue anyway. We should be able to qualify up front and race up front.”
Meet the Crew:
Race Day Duties
Las Vegas, NV
Rear Tire Carrier
Rear Tire Changer
Front Tire Carrier
Listen in on the #77: The team’s primary radio frequency is 451.3371.