Craftsman Truck Series regular Brendan Gaughan is tipped to graduate full-time to the NASCAR Nextel Cup in 2004, with Roger Penske's team the most likely to run him - but still no confirmation has been received from either party.

Local newspapers have referred to the rumours surrounding Las Vegas-based Gaughan, who has made occasional forays into the stockcar top flight over the past couple of seasons, but Penske himself has yet to commit to any official confirmation.

According to the Las Vegas Sun, Penske Racing South's marketing director, Wally McCarty, has said that the team would announce its 2004 plans 'by the end of the year', while the rival Las Vegas review-Journal tipped the deal to have been completed by Christmas Day. Should Gaughan and Penske link up, it would almost certainly mean a third car for the team, which ran Rusty Wallace and Ryan Newman in 2003.

Speculation links Kodak to Penske as the sponsor of the car which, if the rumour mill proves correct, will be the #77 entry raced this season by Dave Blaney and Jasper Motorsports. The Jasper team ran Fords in 2003, but Penske is expected to switch the #77 to Dodge should the deal go through.

Interestingly, Shane Wilson, Gaughan's crew chief in the Craftsman Truck Series for the past four seasons has left the Las Vegas-based Gaughan family Orleans Racing team and started working with the Penske squad....

 

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