Brendan Gaughan qualified fifth and ran in the top-five for most of the Food City 500 at Bristol in March. He has led at least one lap in each of the last two consecutive NEXTEL Cup Series races (once for seven laps at Watkins Glen and once for two laps at Michigan) and was in position to possibly score his first career Cup victory at August 15 at Watkins Glen International.
YOU HAVE BEEN RUNNING BETTER AND BETTER IN RECENT WEEKS. DO YOU FEEL LIKE THE TEAM HAS TURNED THE CORNER? "We've
been talking about it for months now. Things were and we were getting better for a while and we hit a stretch of
a couple of races where it went really bad for us. You go back to Chicago, how ever many races that was, and we
were running 12th when the transmission went. Went to Pocono and we were back and forth but were running 18th on
our way forward passing guys and got in the wreck. At the Brickyard, we settled around 25th, 28th for a while and
made an adjustment and got ourselves in the top-15 when we got wrecked. We've been when we are finally making the
right adjustments and looking better and the racecars are responding better and we just can't put it all together.
At the Brickyard we had a Penske chassis and handled great. We were 12th and moving forward when it happened. At
Watkins Glen we were leading, off of strategy of course, but the whole race we were passing a car a lap for a lot
of laps. We were up in the 20s but passing guys and then we were in the 18s passing guys. We were a very good
racecar with bad track position. We when got the lead, we just didn't slow down three tenths and let guys catch
us. We were good enough to stay there. We had a great racecar, one of Rusty's old chassis so that was a Penske
chassis. That was very exciting until I made a mistake and it was my own fault. I think we're taking the same
Punisher Dodge. It was the one that was the Punisher and that's exciting. We ran in the top-five for what,
three-quarters that day? That was pretty awesome. We'll go back there and hope for the same deal and see what
we can do with it and then head out to California, which was our best finish. I believe we're taking a brand
new car out there and that's exciting because all of our new cars have run well and see what we can do.
We're still waiting for some Penske chassis, we'd still like to have a few more of those, but we're getting
YOU WERE IN POSITION TO WIN THE RACE AT WATKINS GLEN. THAT HAS TO BE A BIG BOOST FOR THE TEAM. "My engineers
think that we needed at least one or two caution laps. We were going to run out of gas. We've been struggling
for so long that we would rather run out of gas leading the thing with two laps to go than finish somewhere else.
We were going to go for it. With any luck, it would have run out where I could have made the pits and we could
have put a splash in and maybe finished in the top-10 still but we were going to let 'er eat and give it a shot
for Kodak. Dan Carp, the President and CEO of Kodak, was there at the race and probably 3,000 Kodak employees,
fans, and family and we looked like a race team. To do that in Kodak's hometown felt pretty good. That was nice
to see and I think they know that we're almost to the catch up point. Let's get us some good runs at the end of
this year and let's get us that win that we think we can still get and be even more prepared when we move into
the new building and get ready for next year."
YOU RAN VERY WELL AT BRISTOL IN THE SPRING RACE. "The truck race was there so I've run under the lights and we
finished third. We're excited about that because it's what the fans wait for almost all year. It is a big marquee
race for everybody and you know the weather is going to be decent. It's night at Bristol and it's not going to
be real hot. You're going to see sparks fly, the flames come out of the exhaust pipes and you're going to see
a race, man. That's what the fans come to expect at Bristol. With any luck we can keep that 'Punisher' attitude
there and go back with it."
HOW BIG WOULD IT BE FOR THIS TEAM TO SCORE A FEW TOP-FIVES BEFORE THE SEASON IS OVER? "We'd love to do that. We
still think that with enough help from the teammates and how far we've come with my crew chief and engineer, and
me and Buddy Baker, we still feel like we have a shot to win something. Homestead was a great race for me, a
great racetrack for me last year. We can go all the way to the last one and still feel like we can get one.
We're not giving up on any of that."