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Tearing Apart the Trucks: Wyler & Gaughan Join Forces

It’s no secret it takes money to succeed in NASCAR. Typically a larger team with more resources at hand has more success than a small team. Perhaps that’s why Craftsman Truck Series owners Jeff Wyler and Michael Gaughan have joined forces. Earlier this week, the two announced the formation of Wyler-Gaughan Racing, which will field two full-time truck teams in 2008. The team will attempt to qualify for at least six Sprint Cup races as well.

Wyler currently owns Wyler Racing, which fields the No. 60 Con-way Freight Toyota Tundra driven by Jack Sprague. Since its debut in 2006, the team has three wins.

“We have watched with great interest the recent partnerships that have formed in the NASCAR Nextel Cup garage, and we believe that this is the wave of the future,” Wyler said. “By merging our teams together and forming WGR, we believe that we will be one step ahead when we make our move into the Sprint Cup series in the coming years.”

Gaughan currently owns South Point Racing, with his son Brendan Gaughan behind the wheel of the No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevy. South Point Racing has nine wins to their credit.

“My intention has always been to own a NASCAR Sprint Cup team and fielding that effort for my son Brendan,” Gaughan said. “After examining various options, we decided partnering with Jeff Wyler and his team would be the best way of working toward that goal.”

Gaughan will remain behind the wheel of the No. 77, but a decision on who will drive the No. 60 has not been announced. Both trucks are looking for a sponsor for the 2008 season.

The decision to combine teams is a positive move for both that will lead to improved results. With both teams being single-truck efforts, there is usually little they can do when it comes to needing a hand during the race. Whether it’s pitting together during green-flag pit stops, working their way through the field together or swapping the lead for five bonus points, a teammate is almost a necessity.

However, I’m not sure attempting six Sprint Cup Series races in their first year together is a wise idea. While Wyler Racing does have one Cup Series race under their belt (Johnny Benson drove the No. 46 Toyota Camry at Richmond International Raceway in May), competition in NASCAR’s top series increases week to week. That, coupled with the Top 35 in owner points being guaranteed a starting position, makes it virtually impossible to make the field.

Wyler-Gaughan Racing should avoid spreading themselves too thin by attempting to tackle both the Truck Series and the Cup Series in their first year together.

Other News Around the Truck Series

DWM Ownership Changes Hands

Effective immediately, Kevin Buckler and The Racer’s Group have controlling interest in Darrell Waltrip Motorsports’ truck racing operations. In the past two years, Buckler and TRG have met with some of the top truck teams and felt the time was right to make the plunge.

“After meeting with numerous teams and discussing the many possible scenarios, I was most impressed with this opportunity to begin a long-term relationship with one of the world’s most respected companies – Toyota, Buckler said. “We are a brand new team running the Craftsman Truck Series and will have to earn our stripes with both the manufacturer and the other competitors, and we are willing to do that.”

Driver Andy Lally will makes his Truck Series debut in the No. 00 Aaron’s Lucky Dog Toyota Tundra Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway. Lally competed in the Busch Series earlier this season in Montreal and at Watkins Glen, posting a best finish of 10th. Lally rolls off 25th to start the Silverado 350K.

“I am as excited for this opportunity as I have ever been in my racing career,” Lally said. Growing up, the first kind of racing I was exposed to was NASCAR, and those guys were my early role models and heroes. To be in a truck that has been managed by Darrell Waltrip is awe-inspiring. I’m looking at this as an opportunity to make a dream come true.”

Bill Davis Trucking Files Chapter 11

Bill Davis Trucking has announced it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company, founded by Bill and Gail Davis in 1975, is facing a lawsuit following an injury accident. Davis has made it very clear that his racing teams will not be affected.

“This has been a very unfortunate chain of events, and Gail and I certainly hate that it ever had to happen,” Davis said. “Bill Davis Trucking and Bill Davis Racing are two completely separate entities and the race team will in no way be affected by today’s announcement.”

A new driver statement backs that statement up. Beginning in 2008, Phillip McGilton will join Mike Skinner and Benson in a third BDR-fielded truck. McGilton raced part-time in the ARCA Re/Max Series in 2006 before joining the series full-time in 2007. The 29-year-old will make his Truck Series debut in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway later this month.

“I am very excited about this opportunity,” McGilton said. “I tested a few weeks ago at Caraway Speedway with the BDR folks, and things went great. I was a little nervous at first, but the truck was not much different from a car on the short track, so I felt that I adapted rather quickly. This is a great accomplishment for me to land with such a great team, and I can’t wait to get the ball rolling.”

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