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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.




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Brendan Gaughan [Pic credit: Getty for NASCAR]
Dale Earnhardt, Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, qualifies for eighth position Saturday, July 25, 2015 for Sunday`s NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway in Indianapolis, Indiana. Earnhardt, Jr. is fourth in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series (NSCS) standings. (Photo by Rusty Jarrett/HHP for Chevy Racing)
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Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, takes the chequered flag, Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars And Stripes Chevrolet SS, celebrates his win Sunday July 5, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup race at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Harold Hinson/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida (Photo Credit: Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, affixes the winner’s decal to his car in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Sarah Crabill/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, takes the chequered flag to win the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 6, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Trotman/NASCAR via Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, and Austin Dillon, driver of the #3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet, lead the field prior to the start of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 Powered by Coca-Cola at Daytona International Speedway on July 5, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, captures the pole position Saturday July 4, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Earnhardt Jr. was awarded the pole position based on his practice lap of 202.284 mph from Friday. Sprint Cup qualifying was canceled Saturday due to weather.  (Photo by Alan Marler/HHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr, driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet SS, captures the pole position Saturday July 4, 2015, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup qualifying at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Florida. Earnhardt Jr. was awarded the pole position based on his practice lap of 202.284 mph from Friday. Sprint Cup qualifying was canceled Saturday due to weather.  (Photo by David TullisHHP for Chevy Racing)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, stands on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 4, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Stars and Stripes Chevrolet, practices for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Coke Zero 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 3, 2015 in Daytona Beach, Florida.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver of the #88 Nationwide Chevrolet, races Trevor Bayne, driver of the #6 AdvoCare Ford, during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series FedEx 400 Benefiting Autism Speaks at Dover International Speedway on May 31, 2015 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo Credit: Photo by Todd Warshaw/Getty Images)

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