NASCAR Winston Cup Series Dura-Lube 500 Report: #20 Walker Evans
5 November 1997
"Little Al" Brings Miller Some Phoenix Luck Mooresville, NC (November 3, 1997) -- A good truck, some gambling luck, and a sixth grade class all contributed to bringing Butch Miller and the Walker Evans Racing Team their twelfth top-10 finish of the 1997 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season-to date. Miller roared the #20 Orleans Hotel and Casino Chevrolet to an eight place finish in the GM Goodwrench/Delco Battery 300 at Phoenix International Raceway Saturday from a 23rd place starting effort. By the halfway point on lap 90, Miller had gained a few positions, and headed back on to the track in 16th after the halftime break. Through the second half of the race, the crew, led by crew chief Todd Myers, made some chassis adjustments during their gas stop that enabled Miller to pick off the competition one by one, steadily move towards the front, and post his first top-10 since Martinsville- four races ago. "The truck ran very good," said Miller. "It was a little pushy, but we went on the conservative side. The guys did a great job on the truck, and we needed to make that adjustment when we came in for gas. We would have been very close if we tried to go all the way, but we wouldn't have been very good because we needed to adjust, so we gave up track position, and it worked out in a top-10 for us. The guys really did a great job there." Phoenix was the introduction of a new mascot for the #20 Walker Evans Racing Team, courtesy of the Damascus, Virginia sixth grade class. The class sent Miller and his wife Donna a little, stuffed, green alligator, and asked Miller to carry it with him when he raced. "We call him 'Little Al', and he did a great job for us this weekend," said Miller. "Little Al raced with me looking out the windshield. He had to close his eyes a few times, but he came out of the race ready to go again. Little Al will be traveling with us next weekend in Las Vegas. We have a different truck for Vegas, so I think he'll have to be looking over my shoulder this time, but he'll still be able to see out the windshield- that's what he likes best. Donna used to teach fifth grade at that school, so they've kept up with what we were doing and decided they needed to send Little Al to watch over us and help us do well." "Our sponsor, the Orleans Hotel and Casino, brought us some luck, too. We're staying at that hotel, of course, and my wife Donna went gambling in the casino and won 10,000 nickels! It's not a lot of money, but it sure sounds pretty good! The Orleans is a gorgeous place, and the owners actually have three hotels- the Orleans, the Gold Coast, and the Barbary Coast, so if race fans are going to Las Vegas and want to support the NASCAR team sponsors, those hotels would be the places to stay!" For more information, please call Walker Evans Enterprises in Riverside, California at (909) 784-7223, or the Orleans Hotel & Casino at 1-800-ORLEANS. Walker Evans Racing to Field Second Truck for Vegas Mooresville, NC (November 3, 1997) -- Brendan Gaughan, son of Las Vegas hotel magnate Michael Gaughan, will drive the #21 Orleans Hotel & Casino Chevrolet in the CARQUEST 420k at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series season finale. Walker Evans Enterprises is fielding the truck for Gaughan, and Gaughan will run as teammate to NASCAR veteran Butch Miller, driving the #20 Orleans Hotel & Casino Chevrolet. Brendan Gaughan has been racing off-road trucks for Walker Evans Enterprises for several years, winning five off-road championships and well over thirty races. Gaughan won his first race entered, at only fifteen years of age, and had to be driven to and from the race track because he didn't have a driver's license. The CARQUEST 420k will be Gaughan's first attempt in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck series, and a NASCAR-sanctioned race, period. "I'm probably more excited about Brendan's first Truck series race than he is," said Evans. "I've known Brendan since he was born, and his father and I have had a very long friendship. He probably has more laps on the Las Vegas track than anyone- it's his home track, and all his friends, relatives, and girlfriends will be watching. Brendan's biggest challenge will be traffic, but he's tested there with some of the regular Truck series guys, and we've got some very experienced people to help out. In addition, Brendan teaches at the racing school based at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, so he knows the track inside and out. Brendan will do very well this weekenI." "I ran about 25 laps with Brendan in testing," said Butch Miller, driver of the #20 Orleans Hotel & Casino Chevrolet, "and he's got a terrific head on his shoulders. Brendan is going to be a great racer." In addition to the sponsorship support of both race teams this weekend, the #20 and the #21, fielded by Walker Evans Enterprises, the Orleans Hotel & Casino has provided the race teams with race shop facilities to prepare the trucks for the weekend's events. How many teams can boast that kind of sponsor support! "Michael Gaughan, owner of the Orleans Hotel & Casino, the Gold Coast, and the Barbary Coast, has had this shop for some of Brendan's off-road racing, and for Michael's pre-runner trucks for the Baja races," said Evans. "He also uses the shop for his hotel shuttle buses, so it's great to have facilities here. Our west coast shop is in Riverside, California, and i field all of Brendan's off-road SODA trucks out of there. It's a funny story how I met Michael Gaughan over 25 years ago, pre-running a truck for the Baja 1000, but our friendship has endured all that time, and I can't thank him enough for his support." Walker Evans is the winningest drive in the BAJA 1000, earning nine wins in the rough, rugged terrain of the Baja Peninsula. The stage is set, and the battle of the 'gators is on- the Orleans Hotel & Casino 'gators, that is. Sunday, November 9th will feature Butch Miller in the green #20 Orleans truck, and rookie Brendan Gaughan in the white #21 Orleans truck. For more information, please call the Orleans Hotel & Casino at 1-800-ORLEANS, because that's where everyone is staying!