Gaughan under the radar

NASCAR Wire Service Thursday, Jun 06 1377

If there's one driver that has been running under the radar this year, it's Brendan Gaughan. The Nevada native who turns 38 next month has stealthily kept his name near the top of the standings and his car up front all year amidst the youth movement in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.

On Friday, Gaughan will be looking for his fifth straight top-five performance this season in the WinStar World Casino 400 (9 p.m. ET, SPEED) at Texas Motor Speedway. Over the past four races his average finishing position is an amazing 3.5 with finishes of third, fourth, second and fifth.

The one thing missing so far from his resumé this year is that elusive first win. Perhaps, his luck will improve in Texas. In his first trip to the 1.5-mile superspeedway he finished runner-up to Jack Sprague. Gaughan then rattled off a streak of four consecutive victories at Texas, sweeping both events in 2002 and 2003. Unfortunately, he hasn't been to Victory Lane since.

"I got my first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series win at Texas, and then continued to have a lot of success during the 2002 and 2003 seasons," said Gaughan, who is currently third in the standings, 35 points behind leader Matt Crafton.

"The last few seasons we haven't done as well as I would have liked at Texas, so the team decided to use one of our test sessions at this track and learned some valuable information."

In his last 12 truck races at the track, Gaughan has only two top-five finishes, with an average finishing position of 18.8.

If he's able to continue his streak of consecutive top fives in 2013 on Friday and avoid a poor finish similar to those that have haunted him recently at Texas, he stands a great chance of being in the best position since 2003 to make a serious run at the title. Gaughan was the points leader after the eight races leading up to the season finale but finished fourth after being involved in a mid-race accident.