Gaughan Confident As Team Preps For Mansfield Short Track
Short tracks have never been Brendan Gaughan’s favorite. But his attitude may be changing this year.
The South Point Racing team has been pouring a lot of effort into improving its short track program – and the efforts are paying off as seen by the No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado’s performance and the driver’s feelings about racing on the short tracks.
“The Martinsville truck, I still believe, was the best short track truck that I have ever driven,” said Gaughan, who posted solid practice times at Martinsville in March but ended up finishing the race in 25th place after several on track incidents.
“The driver made a mistake in qualifying and it cost the whole team during the race. But that’s what happens in this sport – it’s a team sport. The driver can make a mistake or the crew can make a mistake and it affects everybody.
“We’re taking the same truck as the primary to Mansfield – the 14 truck – and I plan on making up for Martinsville.”
Crew chief Bryan Berry and the South Point Racing team have been working all season to get a grasp on a solid short track program for the No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado and Gaughan. They have studied various shock packages and tested several times at the Las Vegas Bullring, which is located beside of the South Point Racing shop. Gaughan says the extra track time is priceless for him when it comes to climbing behind the wheel at a short track – and especially at Mansfield Motorsports Park, where he has a 15th and 17th place finish.
“Everybody knows that I claim to be a big track type of guy,” Gaughan said. “We just got done testing for the third time at the Las Vegas Bullring, which actually is very similar to Mansfield with the exception of newer pavement at the Bullring. And I think those Bullring tests are really going to pay off.
“I said it before the Charlotte test and race, and I’ll keep saying it – every time the South Point team and I get to test we always end up going to that track and running fantastic.
“We had an engine failure at Charlotte, but if that would not have happened, I’m confident we would have been a tough truck to beat. We had a beast there, but bad luck just bit us.
“We’ve been able to test three times, which is the great thing about our shop being at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway and our relationship with the speedway. They let us go out there and run. We go out there – whether its three hours, an hour or 10 laps. We take the truck over there, go run and try out a bunch of different setups. It really works out well for us. It’s part of the advantage of being out here – we get to do that. We think we’re really prepared for that race.”
Gaughan calls the Mansfield track “an ugly, mean short track.” But with all the additional preparation he feels confident about tackling and conquering the .5-mile oval.
“Mansfield is an old-fashioned tough as nails short track,” Gaughan said. “I think we have a better short track program now than we have ever had, and the last few tests at the Bullring have gone really well, so I believe we’ll be as good as we were in practice at Martinsville.
“Now it’s time to transfer that to qualifying and the race.”
Gaughan Takes On New Role In Front of the Camera
Brendan Gaughan is taking on a new role – television broadcaster for the World Series of Off-Road Racing. Gaughan, who started his racing career in the desert, is going back to his racing roots and what is familiar to him as he launches his broadcast career.
Gaughan will be part of 18 one-hour programs for the series that will air later this fall on SPEED. He went to his first race in Minnesota last weekend following the Charlotte truck race.
“This was a great opportunity for me,” Gaughan said. “I always say that my desert racing is my fun time. It’s my hobby. Now, not only do I get to do some off-road racing in my spare time this year but I also get to be part of the broadcast team calling the races.
“With this new position, I have the opportunity to learn and practice being an announcer on camera in a low pressure situation. It’s something that could help me if I become interested in broadcasting later on in my career.”