By Josh Farmer, IndyCar Reporter & NASCAR Contributor
FORT WORTH, Texas — While Brendan Gaughan is in need of a good run to stay in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Chase, he has a rather chipper attitude heading into this weekend at Texas Motor Speedway.
Heading into Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge, the lone Richard Childres Racing driver in the Chase lies seventh in the Xfinity Series standings, 18 points behind fourth place. He fell from sixth to seventh after crashing out of the Kansas Lottery 300 and finishing 31st.
Despite falling down the order, the Las Vegas, Nevada native feels that he still has a legitimate shot at advancing to the series finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He just needs to click off two great runs at Texas and next week at Phoenix International Raceway.
“We still have a chip in the game and we still have a chair in the game to we’re going to work our tails off to get out of here,” he said. “It would be great to win here but in essence what we need is two solid top-five runs. If we can get two solid top-five runs and let everyone else finish where they are used to finishing, we will be able to advance to Homestead so that’s our goal.”
In order to attack this weekend with full force, his Richard Childress Racing crew built a new No. 62 South Point Chevrolet to run in today’s 300-mile race.
Gaughan has a great record at Texas Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with four straight wins from 2002-03 but that has not translated over to the Xfinity side.
In nine Xfinity Series starts at the 1.5-mile oval, Gaughan has a best finish of 11th, although the results do not match how well he has raced here. He had a top five race going in 2015 but was caught up in a wreck with Cale Conley with less than 50 laps to go.
Although his results are not what he has been looking for, Gaughan acknowledges that anything can happen in racing and takes it as it comes.
“We’ve had good runs, we’ve just been inconsistent,” he said.
“That’s just Murphy’s law, that’s just what happens in sports,” Gaughan said. “We know we can run well here, we’ve done it. All we’re going to try to do is be us. Just go out there, be the best that we can, make the best adjustments that we can.”
Despite the intensity of the Chase and trying to break a streak of bad results at Texas Motor Speedway, Gaughan is not intimidated by the challenge. He embraces it and tries to spread that mindset over to his crew as well.
“All the guys in the team and all the pit crew members and the fans – everybody definitely feels pressure,” he said.
“I’ve always responded well to pressure, so I really enjoy that sort of situation and this is built right for me. I enjoy that deal and hopefully my guys, they have a driver that’s not a yeller or a screamer. I’m pretty good and trying to keep everybody straight and level.”
“I’m good at keeping everybody relaxed and we’re not changing that.”
Gaughan has praised NASCAR’s implementation of the chase in Xfinity Series and part of that fits with his driving style. The chase forces drivers to know when to attack and when to be conservative. Gaughan and crew chief Shane Wilson have been together much of their careers in NASCAR and have learned to adapt to changing situations well together.
“Shane and I – we’ve been so many styles through the years,” he said. “We’ve been the aggressor, we’ve been the Kyle Busch style. We’ve been the little guy with not so much money and not a lot of equipment. We’ve done all of the different ways so that’s the advantage that Shane and I have is no matter what way we need to race, he and I have done it and we’ve done it together.”