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Rookie Gaughan brings experience to Gateway

Brendan Gaughan has driven a complete season in Sprint Cup and has 162 starts in the Camping World Truck Series, but at age 34, he's a rookie in the Nationwide Series.

“We've been joking all year,” Gaughan said. “I finished second in the Sprint Cup Rookie of the Year in '04, won the Camping World Truck (ROY) in 2002. I killed the curve in the Nationwide Series for age this year. The average age at the beginning of the year, they told us, was 23 or 24. It would be a whole lot younger if I wasn't there.”

The veteran NASCAR driver with the rookie tag has put his experience to use in his first Nationwide season. Driving for Rusty Wallace Racing, Gaughan is eighth in the points entering Saturday's Missouri-Illinois Dodge Dealers 250 at Gateway International Raceway in Madison, Ill.

Gaughan finished second at Lowe's Motor Speedway and fourth at Kentucky Speedway but has only three more top-tens in 18 races.

Crew chief Bryan Berry returned from a four-race suspension last week at Chicagoland, and Gaughan believes the work Berry did in the shop during his time away from the track will pay dividends at Gateway, a nearly flat 1.25-mile oval.

“While he (Berry) was gone, he spent a lot of time on the flat-track program, spent basically … a week doing some engineering stuff, what I always call a Bryan Berry science project,” Gaughan said. “Usually, when he does a science project, it works out well for me.

“He's basically coming with some new (suspension) geometry that he wants to try for us at Gateway, similar to what we did at Phoenix (where Gaughan finished seventh) and change a few things around because of how tight Gateway's (Turns) one and two are. When Bryan Berry does his science projects, I get excited.”

Gaughan sees additional progress further down the road in the second half of the season from the team's new technical partnership with Kevin Harvick Inc.

“It's still brand new,” Gaughan said. “You can't really read too much into it so far. Last week, Steven (team-mate Wallace) drove a KHI car that they built for our race team. You can definitely see a lot of differences in the aerodynamics of it.




Related Pictures

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Brendan Gaughan [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, crosses the finish line to win the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia.  (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/NASCAR via Getty Images)
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Kevin Harvick, driver of the #5 Bad Boy Buggies Chevrolet, races Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Ford, during the NASCAR Nationwide Series Great Clips 300 at Atlanta Motor Speedway on August 30, 2014 in Hampton, Georgia. (Photo Credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)
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Chris Buescher, drives the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford during the Nationwide Children`s 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Chris Buescher, driver of the #60 Nationwide Children`s Hospital Ford Mustang Ford, celebrates in victory lane after winning the Nationwide Children`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Sarah Glenn/Getty Images)
Sam Hornish Jr., driver of the #54 Monster Energy Toyota, leads the field at the start of the Nationwide Childrens`s Hospital 200 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on August 16, 2014 in Lexington, Ohio.  (Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Marcos Ambrose, driver of the #09 Stanley Ford, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Nationwide Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on August 9, 2014 in Watkins Glen, New York. (Photo Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)

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