Orleans Racing employs 29...
Orleans Racing employs 29 crew members, each working to craft these sweet Dodge Nastrucks from within the confines of the sweetest shop we've ever seen. It's OK, dream a little. We'd all like to have a place like this.
Logistically speaking, you might think the Orleans Racing team, based in Las Vegas, might be at a disadvantage, compared to the other NASCAR Craftsman Teams based in North Carolina. However, team owner Michael Gaughan, and his driver and son, Brendan, have shown the competition in the NCTS that location doesn't dictate winning races. Since moving into the NASCAR Craftsman Trucks Series fulltime from the NASCAR Winston West Series five years ago, driver Brendan Gaughan and the Orleans Racing team have eight career wins, with the team's biggest year in 2003, winning six times, recording 14 Top Five finishes and 18 Top 10 runs. There's no question the Orleans Racing team knows how to win on the track. They learned from one of the best, as Michael Gaughan has made the Orleans Hotel and Casino one of the most successful establishments in Las Vegas. Therefore, it's not that big of a surprise to see the Gaughans have success in both business and on the track.
The cockpit of a Nastruck...
The cockpit of a Nastruck is set up for business only-no DVD player, no cupholders, just a sparse dash, Kirkey race seat, and a Dayton pump used to transfer engine coolant from the rear-mounted radiator.
The Orleans Racing team is faced with situations that are out of its control because of its location. Most of the teams racing in the NCTS are based in and around Charlotte, North Carolina, so the resources are at the fingertips of the East Coast teams. But, sometimes, they seem miles away for the Orleans Racing team. Shipping costs for parts are more, wind-tunnel time is scarce, and travel to the racetracks is longer-not to mention turnaround from race to race is almost nonexistent. However, the team has managed to make things work as an organization, thanks to diligent preparation and a killer shop to build the race trucks at.
Preparation is the key to running a successful NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series that happens to be based so far away. A stout and well-equipped home base and shop to prep the race trucks is paramount. We visited the 40,000-square-foot Orleans race shop, which is adjacent to the LVMS in the Las Vegas Speed Park, and were literally blown away. We thought we'd died and gone to heaven, as we toured the massive facility that is peppered with the best equipment money can buy.
The rear end is located via...
The rear end is located via a pair of trailing arms and a horizontally mounted track bar or Panhard bar. The suspension features shock absorbers, but the springs are mounted on screw jacks for ride adjustability. The ATL fuel cell is well protected by the rear crossmember.
Walking into the race shop, at least 10 trucks were awaiting fabrication, with the team hoping to get their primary truck prepped and ready to go for their next race in Atlanta. So, many things need to be done before a truck hits the track. Nearly 30 people work for the Orleans Racing team, each with a specific responsibility. From the suspension crew to shop managers and the fabricators that hang the bodies on the truck, everyone plays a huge role in making a successful race team.
Orleans Racing develops its own racing engines in-house with Kroyer Racing Engines. Kroyer, which is also involved in developing off-road engines and sport compact car motors, uses Orleans Racing as a stepping stone for bigger things in the auto racing industry. Orleans Racing and Kroyer work tirelessly toward developing more horsepower for their engine program. In addition, what the team can't buy, they learn to develop new products within the organization. With a shop like theirs, we can see why they've been able to win several championships over the past five years. Here's a look inside.