MOORESVILLE, N.C. -- Officials of Rusty Wallace Racing announced Monday that former Truck Series rookie of the year Brendan Gaughan will drive the team's No. 62 Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series in 2009.
"I've known Brendan and his family for quite some time now and they're all absolutely first-class people," Wallace said. "Brendan has shown that he has the talent to get the job done; I could see that back in 2004 when we were teammates at Penske. He's a more mature and focused driver now than he's ever been and we're really looking forward to having him as a part of our team in 2009.
Gaughan assumes the ride -- formerly the No. 64 -- that David Stremme and Max Papis drove to a top-10 finish in the 2008 standings. The car number change was made in honor of Gaughan's family racing background, which includes eight Truck Series wins while driving vehicles fielded by his family owned No. 62 Orleans Racing team.
"It's going to be very exciting for me to drive the No. 62 again. That number has a lot of meaning to my family that not many people know about. My big brother John's football number was 62 and my two big brothers have always been my heroes in life," Gaughan said.
"My father has always been into numbers as well; when we first came up with the number back in 2001, he loved to remind me that his lucky number has always been eight and that 'six plus two equals eight;' he would always remind me as if I couldn't figure that out!
"I also feel that the number is a tribute to Rusty. With all of his years running the No. 2 Miller Lite car, our replacing the four with a two -- in the same style as his old number -- makes this an even bigger honor for me."
While the driver-owner dynamic is new, Gaughan's move to RWR is not his first experience with Wallace. Gaughan was teammate to Wallace and the No. 2 team at Penske Racing in 2004, when Gaughan drove Penske's No. 77 in the Cup Series.
"In 2004, I had one of the greatest opportunities of my life, to race for Kodak and the Penske-Jasper team," Gaughan said. "While there, I had the good fortune to be a teammate to one of my racing heroes, Rusty Wallace. Although we struggled, Rusty was always there trying to help our No. 77 team. Whether it was allowing me to drive his No. 2 Miller Lite car in our first test together at Rockingham, or his testing my No. 77 car at Indianapolis, he was always there trying to help us improve."
Further, the team announced that Las Vegas-based South Point Hotel and Spa will serve as primary sponsor of Gaughan's No. 62 team for a number for races in 2009. RWR plans to announce the complete sponsor lineup for the No. 62 in the coming weeks.
"Everyone at RWR is thrilled about this new partnership and we can't wait to get to Daytona. I feel like our team's potential grew by leaps and bounds last year; we really think that 2009 is going to be a great year for both of our teams," Wallace added.
In addition to its driver and sponsor announcements, RWR also announced several other key personnel moves:
• Brian Berry, Gaughan's longtime Truck Series crew chief, will accompany Gaughan in his move and head the No. 62 team in 2009.
• Former No. 64 crew chief, Dale Ferguson, will move to the team's No. 66 entry and third-generation driver Steve Wallace, for 2009. Ferguson led RWR's No. 64 team to 16 top-10 finishes in 2008 en route to a top-10 finish in the final owner standings.
• Former No. 66 car chief, Shane Huffman, has returned to the team after a brief hiatus and will serve as car chief for Gaughan and the No. 62 team in 2009.
In making his move to RWR and its No. 62 Chevrolet, Gaughan leaves his 2008 Truck Series seat with Circle Bar Racing and its No. 10 team.
"... Had it not been for the opportunity with RWR, I was really looking forward to continuing in my pursuit of victories for Circle Bar Racing," Gaughan said. - rwr pr