Brendan Gaughan will start the EA Sports 500 from the 26th position on Sunday, Oct. 3, but notes he is confident in the Penske superspeedway program.
Gaughan is looking forward to race practice tomorrow morning with hopes of finding a drafting partner to help him move to the front of the field.
Following qualifying efforts, it was evident the Dodge was at a disadvantage to the other manufacturers. The first Dodge in the starting line-up will roll off ninth with Jeremy Mayfield at the wheel, while Jeff Green secured the second highest starting position, 18th. Ryan Newman’s No. 12 ALLTEL machine was the third highest qualifying Dodge at 19th.
Gaughan knows Talladega Superspeedway is an aero track. With that knowledge, he is set to hold his foot down and turn the wheel.
“Superspeedway races are about the team with the best car,” Gaughan said. “Penske Racing has made a concentrated effort to improve our program, and I think it shows. All I can do is hold the wheel and press the gas, and hopefully, avoid ‘The Big One’.”
When asked if there was anything a driver can do to pick up speed in superspeedway qualifying, Gaughan said, “If you would have asked me that before I ever worked with Buddy Baker I'd have said 'Oh come on. There's nothing you can do.' Baker has shown me you can do a lot at these places getting up to speed and we are still working on those.”
Gaughan’s Penske-Jasper-powered teammates, Newman, Chad Blount and Rusty Wallace will start the event from the 19th, 31st and 33rd positions, respectively. Blount, who has done extensive testing for Penske, entered the event in the No. 06 car sponsored by Mobil 1 and Stocks for Tots in an effort to gain test sessions that could potentially be beneficial to Newman’s team as it eyes the championship.