Brendan Gaughan Pre-Race Report - Phoenix
Driver: Brendan Gaughan
Owner: Michael Gaughan
Phoenix International Raceway
Race: Friday, November 10 – 6:15 pm
Qualifying: Friday, November 10 – 10:15 am
1.0-mile oval, 150 laps/ 150 miles
Phoenix Int'l Raceway - Trucks
Phoenix Int'l Raceway - Cup
Gaughan on Phoenix International Raceway: “We are the west coast team. Anytime we come west to Phoenix, California and Las Vegas we’re on our home stomping grounds. Phoenix is a track that I’ve raced at since the Walker Evans days. I think my first race was in Phoenix in 1998. So I have a lot of experience there. I’ve had a couple good runs in the West Series cars. My first year in the NAPA truck we finished 13th in 2000 and that was my career best finish at the time. I’ve got a lot of good memories of Phoenix.
“Phoenix International Raceway is definitely unique and that’s what makes the track so fun. Turns 3 and 4 are like the Milwaukee Mile. It’s a really flat driver-style corner where you’ve got to dance around and you’re never going to have the grip you want. You’re always going to be saying you want more front or rear grip and it’s really fast.
“Turns 1 and 2 are really difficult. When the sun goes down it really makes you blind going into Turn 1 and our race, of course, is at dusk. So we’re going to be blind going in to Turn 1. It’s got banking but it’s not a lot of banking. You drive in there really fast. It makes for one of the most exciting race tracks because as crew chiefs have said for years, you either set up for Turns 1 and 2 or for Turns 3 and 4. The question is always which corner you want to set up your race truck up to do better in.
“The race team has been fairly solid for the past couple of weeks. We’ve had very good trucks but we just haven’t had very good finishes. At Atlanta we blew a right, front tire and then we got back on the lead lap and then went down a lap because of a right rear tire. So we’ve had a lot of tire issues lately.
“At Texas we had a spring come out of the pocket and we couldn’t find it on the pit stop and it just ruined us the rest of the day. I spent the rest of the time just trying to hold on and not wreck Lonestar because we want to use it at Homestead. We’ve been working hard and the guys are doing a great job with the caliber of vehicle. We just need to quit hurting ourselves at some point.
“You create your own luck. Everyone says, ‘That was lucky,’ but you create your own luck. The great race teams can have a problem and fix it on the fly. This race team has had a lot better caliber equipment go out the door and we’ve created some really good luck. At Atlanta we use hard line pieces for our oil system, we had a problem where one of these little brackets broke but because we use such good stuff it didn’t break the line. It dragged the ground for a while but it didn’t blow up and we didn’t lose a motor because of it. We made our own luck there. Nobody else got to see it but we did. There are still things that we are not creating our own luck with. We have a few pieces and parts that we think need fixing and we need to turn our attention to. We’re doing that.
“I haven’t seen any footage of the Texas save yet. I promised Kevin Kroyer and Randy Anderson and a bunch of guys from Walker Evans Racing a bunch of years ago that I’d never quit on trying to save the thing. You drive it until the end. And that save at Texas was a perfect example of that. We pretty much looked wrecked but I kept it off the wall the first time and as it was going back down the track I was just hoping that it didn’t snap back up. I didn’t want to look like a rookie and go back into the wall. But I stayed in front of it just enough, straightened it out, lost one position and kept on going.”
Meet the Crew:
Race Day Duty
Las Vegas, NV
Front Tire Changer
Mechanic / Tuner
Rear Tire Changer
Rear Tire Hanger
Front Tire Hanger
Tire Spec / Fabricator
Culver City, CA
Listen in on the #77: The team’s primary radio frequency is 451.3371.