Event Preview – Las Vegas – Sprint Cup
This Week’s South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Brendan Gaughan will pilot Chassis No. 381 from the Richard Childress Racing NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stable. This RCR racer was revamped into a No. 33 Chevrolet during the off season. Most commonly ran as a No. 29 machine, this Chevrolet Impala earned two top-10 and five top-15 finishes in 2011 with Kevin Harvick behind the wheel at Chicagoland Speedway, Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Pocono Raceway, Michigan International Speedway and Bristol Motor Speedway. In addition, this entry raced in the 2010 Sprint All-Star Race at Charlotte Motor Speedway where Harvick started 13th and finished sixth.
Odds … Gaughan has one previous Sprint Cup Series start at the 1.5-mile oval, along with two Nationwide Series starts (best finish of seventh in 2009) and 11 Camping World Truck Series starts, earning one race win in 2003 after starting from the pole position. His lone Sprint Cup Series start at the Las Vegas facility came in March 2004 where he started eighth and finished 22nd. The Las Vegas native has made 38 total appearances in the Sprint Cup Series that includes running a full schedule in 2004.
One Down, Three to Go … The 2000 and 2001 NASCAR K&N Pro Series West champion returns to the seat of the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet for this weekend’s 400 miler Sprint Cup Series event. It was announced earlier this year that the 36-year-old driver would compete in four Sprint Cup Series races for RCR – Phoenix International Raceway, Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Auto Club Speedway. Las weekend, Gaughan started the 312-lap event from the 40th position at Phoenix International Raceway. He worked his way around the one-mile Avondale, Ariz., track, climbed his way through the field and drove the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet to a 27th-place finish in the desert.
Double Duty … In addition to his driving duties on Sunday, Gaughan will also pilot the No. 33 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet for RCR in Saturday’s Las Vegas 300 Nationwide Series race. Although this will be Gaughan’s second appearance for RCR (he competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway), this will be his first race competing for the Welcome, N.C.,-based operation in NASCAR’s junior division and will mark his 72nd-career start in the Nationwide Series.
Please Sign Here … Gaughan is scheduled to sign autographs for fans on Thursday, Mar. 8 from 6 – 8 p.m. local time at South Point Hotel & Casino, located at 9777 South Las Vegas Blvd. South.
BRENDAN GAUGHAN QUOTES:
You will not only return to Las Vegas Motor Speedway to compete in the Nationwide Series race, but the Sprint Cup Series race, as well. What will it be like returning to NASCAR’s premier division and compete in front of your hometown fans?
“Thankfully, the No. 33 team had Phoenix as a practice run and, because of that, I have a lot more confidence going into this weekend’s race at Las Vegas, especially with how we were running at the end of the race. It’s important for me to run well at my home track. I do believe we’ll run better than we did at Phoenix and I’m looking forward to doing so in front of my fans.”
With your lone Sprint Cup Series start taking place in March 2004, do you think there will be a small learning curve when you hit the track on Friday for practice?
“The big learning curve for me was the Sprint Cup Series race at Phoenix. I have never raced the new style car before so it took me a while to get used to its handling. I don’t foresee too much of a learning curve and, plus, I’ll be competing in the Nationwide Series the day before so I can take what I learned in that race and apply it to Sunday.”
You returned to the Sprint Cup Series after a seven-year hiatus. What was it like returning to the series and working with veteran crew chief Gil Martin last weekend at Phoenix International Raceway?
“Working with Gil (Martin, crew chief) and the pit crew was awesome. We started off pretty rough in the early going of the race. Gil was great on the radio and gave me time to catch up. By the end of the race, we were running competitive lap times even though our finishing position doesn’t show it. We are all comfortable with each other and are now up to speed on things so we are all looking forward to the race this weekend in Las Vegas.”