Hometown hero Brendan Gaughan sweeps

Las Vegas 350

 

¿I gotta say thank you first to the people of Las Vegas¿

 

Brendan Gaughan swept the Las Vegas 350 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway tonight.  The Las Vegas native earned the Bud Pole Award, led the most laps during the race (106 of 146), enjoyed a four-second lead in the late stages of the race and then beat last year¿s winner David Starr to the finish line by 0.900-sec.

¿I can¿t say thank you enough to Las Vegas,¿ said Gaughan.  ¿Did you see the turnout we had tonight for a Craftsman Truck Series race?  That was absolutely phenomenal.  I gotta say thank you first to the people of Las Vegas.  I¿d like to think they came out just to support The Orleans team.

¿This truck is excellent.  The Orleans team builds special race trucks.  This was the same Dodge that was just awesome at Michigan, finished second last week at Fontana when it should¿ve won the dang thing.  The driver¿s adrenaline was definitely pumpin¿ when (crew chief) Shane Wilson called me and said, ¿You¿ve got a nine-second lead.¿  But he was smart.  He kept yelling at me, saying, ¿Don¿t waste it.  Just in case something happens, save it.¿  We were just kinda peddlin¿, trying to keep pace.  When the caution came out (lap 137 for debris on track) ¿ a magical, past-champion Craftsman Truck Series debris call ¿ it didn¿t matter.  Harley Rauch is the man when it comes to building these things and we spend a lot of time on our transmission ratios.  This thing on restarts was just phenomenal.  It had the greatest restart ratios.  I¿d like to say it was driver but I¿m telling ya, this team is the best.¿

Jack Sprague, the 1996 and 1998 Las Vegas Craftsman Truck Series winner, was closing in on Gaughan in the final stage of the race, only to lose his engine on the final lap.  Gaughan was asked if having Sprague hunting him down so close to the checkered flag affected his concentration.

¿He hit me coming into Turn 3 on the restart ¿ pulled up behind me and hit me,¿ Gaughan admitted.  ¿The only thing I thought was, ¿Hey Jack, I¿m not 22 anymore.¿ ¿

Crew chief Shane Wilson offered up the technical side of the convincing victory, the team¿s fifth of the 2003 season.

¿We knew we were going to get tight (as the race wore on).  Whenever it cools down, you get extremely tight.  It was still cooling down by the time we did that first (pit) stop.  We took a lot of wedge out, did some tire pressure adjustments.  We made multiple changes to make it better.  We gained about three-tenths with those changes and it put us where we needed to be.¿

Gaughan and The Orleans Dodge team continue to lead the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series points battle, 67 ahead of second-place driver Travis Kvapil.

For David Starr, his finish ¿ second ¿ was one position worse than last year¿s Las Vegas 350.

¿It wasn¿t bad.  Brendan Gaughan ¿ if you¿ve been watching the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this year since it started at Daytona ¿ that No. 62 truck has been stout week in and week out.  And that¿s why they¿re leading the points.  They¿ve got a great race team.

¿My crew chief, Dave McCarty, he¿s so intense and hates to lose.  He gets mad, but as I tell him what¿s going on, he¿s up there on that box, thinking what changes to make.  The truck wouldn¿t turn.  They worked on the truck every pit stop, freeing it up, freeing it up, and they got it where it was pretty decent.  We still could have probably made it a little bit better, but my hat¿s off to my team and Dave McCarty.  They did a great job.  Wish we could have won.¿

NASCAR veteran Dennis Setzer finished third.

¿The night was pretty good to start with.  That crowd up there (in the grandstands) ¿ that gets all the drivers excited.  It¿s exciting to be in front of a big crowd like that.  We were pretty good early in the night.  We got into the middle part of the race and got really loose.  I started complaining a little bit and the guys really made some great adjustments on a couple stops.  Unfortunately we got together with Travis Kvapil (on lap 30) one time and spun ¿ a long, lazy spin up in (Turn) 2 and got up next to the wall.  Fortunately, we didn¿t hit the wall.  I was able to make adjustments after that, actually, and it probably got us better in the race.¿  

LAS VEGAS 350 Unofficial Finish

  1. Brendan Gaughan -- $46,700
  2. David Starr
  3. Dennis Setzer
  4. Travis Kvapil
  5. Jack Sprague
  6. Andy Houston
  7. Terry Cook
  8. Ted Musgrave
  9. Matt Crafton
  10. Bobby Hamilton
  11. Robert Pressley
  12.  Scott Lynch
  13. Randy LaJoie
  14. Brandon Miller
  15. Shane Sieg
  16. Eric Jones
  17. Bobby Dotter
  18. Chad Chaffin
  19. Jon Wood
  20. Bill Lester
  21. Tyler Walker
  22. Robby Benton
  23. T.J. Bell
  24. Randy MacDonald
  25. Jerry Hill
  26. Brandon Whitt
  27. Carl Edwards
  28. Wayne Edwards
  29. Shawna Robinson
  30. Doug Keller
  31. Phil Bonifield
  32. Dana White
  33. Lance Hooper
  34. Jerry Allec Jr.
  35. Jamie Aube
  36. Rick Crawford

Failed to qualify: J.C. Stout, Jason Small, Trevor Boys, Chris Horn, Kelly Sutton, Conrad Burr, David Gilliland, Rick Bogart, Loni Richardson, Tina Gordon, Jason York, David Stover, Ricky Sanders, Kenny Hendrick, Tim Woods.

Time of race: 1 hour, 46 minutes, 7 seconds.

Caution flags: 5 for 20 laps.

Raybestos Rookie of the Race: T.J. Bell.