Thursday, January 26, 2012
Sadler And Gaughan To Split RCR's No. 33 In First Five Races
(Note: This story was originally published in the Frontstretch.com newsletter. Please be sure to visit their site and sign up for the free newsletter.)
Richard Childress Racing announced on Wednesday driver Elliot Sadler will run the No. 33 Chevrolet in the season-opening Daytona 500 with sponsorship from General Mills and Kroger.
After that event, Brendan Gaughan will climb behind the wheel of the No. 33 for the next four races with backing from South Point Casinos. Nationwide Series team manager Gil Martin will serve as crew chief for the car during the first five events.
Using the 2011 owner points, the No. 33 team will be locked into those first five races of the season and run the distance in each.
"It's great to be back in the Daytona 500," said Sadler, who is running for the Nationwide title full-time with RCR and feels he has a second shot at winning the Great American Race - the Virginian was leading in 2009 moments before Matt Kenseth blew by in a rain-shortened finish. "When we started putting this program together, the first thing that came to mind is how strong RCR's plate program has always been. We're going to go out and have a legitimate chance to win the race. Speedweeks can't get here soon enough!"
While Sadler will run his 13th Daytona 500, Gaughan will run the next four Sprint Cup Series events. Already slated to run 10 Nationwide Series and eight races in the Camping World Truck Series for RCR, Gaughan is mirroring Sadler and attempting to climb his way back to the top. A former Sprint Cup Series driver, Gaughan has spent the last eight seasons racing in the
Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series, but jumped at the opportunity to join a high quality race team, knowing he was climbing into solid, proven equipment.
“This, for me, is the dream come true of a second chance,” he said. “You don’t normally get them. If you do get them, they’re normally not of this caliber. You’ve usually got to do something on that’s in that little bit lower-tier to come out and shock the world. To be able to come out with a team that’s close to the Chase, in it, just barely out of it this year, a crew chief with four Cup wins last year with the organization, for me, this is the chance I’ve waited eight years for."
“I always said, if I ever go back it’s going to be more on my terms and the right opportunity. I think I waited just about right.”
A lot has changed in the eight years since Gaughan last competed in the Sprint Cup Series full-time. But he feels his experience with the Nationwide Series car, and some testing in Cup - he even ran a race for TRG Motorsports - plus the high quality of the team have him prepared to make a return.
“The biggest thing that gives me confidence," he explained. "Is Shane Wilson (crew chief on Kevin Harvick’s No. 29 car) was in the shop yesterday and he said, ‘This car was built for you."
While he is open to more Sprint Cup races if the proper funding comes about, Gaughan is content with his schedule and committed to working his way up within a proven organization - although he won't rule out any possibility.
“Pigs get fat, hogs get slaughtered,” he said. “All I’m looking forward to is four races. I’m not going to sit here and say, ‘If we get a top-5, we can get it!’ Nope. If I get top-5, I’m going to sit here and cry my ass off. It’s going to be phenomenal for me to get it. I’m going to do every bit I can in those four (races).”