Saturday, February 21, 2009

Rookies and restarts

Brendan Gaughan, a NASCAR West Series champion and veteran NASCAR driver, is considered a rookie by Nationwide Series standards. He has raced in the Truck Series and the Cup Series, but only has three Nationwide Series starts.
When he finished ninth in the Nationwide Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, he was the highest finishing rookie in the race.
"This is the most fun I've had in years," Gaughan said.
Gaughan, a driver from Las Vegas, won a couple of West Series championships racing for Bill McAnally Racing. He spent a few years racing in the Truck Series and had a stint with Penske Racing in the Cup Series driving the No. 77 car for the team.
Now he's driving the No. 62 Chevy for Rusty Wallace, who has a two-car team in the Nationwide Series. His son, Steven Wallace, drives the No. 66 car for the team and finished 10th in the race at Fontana.
"Ninth and 10th, I hope the boss is happy," Gaughan said. "He's got his job and he can't be in the booth and be too excited but I hope we excited him tonight."
Rusty Wallace is a commentator for ESPN and was working in the broadcast booth during the race.
As for Gaughan, he said he was able to make up three or four spots on the restarts. It could have been a 15th place night for him, but instead he ended up as the top rookie.
"I've raced here in Sprint Cup and I've raced Winston West and I've raced Craftsman Truck and I've been to a lot of places, but I've never raced Nationwide," Gaughan said. "Fortunately the rules say that I can get an extra set of tires every week by putting a big yellow stripe on my bumper and it gets me a little extra media. I mean, right now I'd be ninth place getting in my street clothes driving home if I wasn't the Raybestos rookie tonight."

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