January 30, 2004
Columnist Brian Hilderbrand: Gaughan set for land speed record attempt
Brian Hilderbrand covers motor sports for the Las Vegas Sun. His motor sports notebook appears Friday. He can be reached at [email protected]
or (702) 259-4089.
After spending two full seasons in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Brendan Gaughan is used to driving a truck at high speeds.
But even Gaughan admits he will be slightly out of his element next week when he attempts to set a land speed record for a stock production pickup truck at the Chelsea Proving Grounds in Michigan.
Driving a 2004 Dodge Ram SRT-10 powered by a Dodge Viper engine, Gaughan will attempt to break the record of 147 mph set last August by a Ford SVT F-150 Lightning.
"The speed they told me that we have to do -- even I was nervous," Gaughan, a NASCAR Nextel Cup rookie, said Thursday. "It's a stock pickup truck, right off the factory line. The record is 149 or something like that and we're going to beat that ... and I've been told we'll beat it very easily.
"This truck is coming off the factory line, so I'm putting a lot of faith in what Dodge does but it's going to prove how good a truck they're building and we're going to prove the SRT-10 is the baddest pickup out there."
To qualify for the record and certification by Guinness World Records, the truck must be identical to what a customer can find at a local Dodge dealer. Gaughan's speed will be measured over a kilometer, and the record speed is derived from an average of his speeds in both directions on the 4.71-mile, high-speed oval.
"For six-tenths of a mile, I have to hold whatever speed it is we're trying to hit," Gaughan said. "Right now, another manufacturer holds the stock production truck record and we're going to make the Dodge Ram SRT-10, the new Dodge with the Viper motor, the fastest production pickup truck.
"I'm just praying for a nice sunny day -- a crisp sunny day -- up in Chelsea, Michigan, because you don't want to be doing it on snow tires."