Penske looking to replace Gaughan

UPDATE #4 Penske-Jasper Racing, which fields the #77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge Charger in the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series, today announced that 2003 NASCAR Truck Series Champion Travis Kvapil will be the team's driver and will compete for Raybestos Rookie-of-the-Year honors in 2005. Travis succeeds Brendan Gaughan, who drove the Kodak car during the 2004 season. Kvapil participated in a development program during 2004 with Penske Racing and competed in three Nextel Cup Series races-Martinsville, Atlanta and Homestead. "Travis showed solid potential and demonstrated the skill and determination it takes to be a winner and we look forward to building on this foundation with our sponsor partners Kodak and Jasper," Roger Penske said. "Kodak is committed to fielding a winning and successful team in NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Racing, and looks forward to leveraging our continued sponsorship and partnership with NASCAR and Penske-Jasper Racing during 2005," said Bud Denker, Vice President, Brand and Market Development. "We are excited to welcome Travis as the driver of the Kodak EasyShare Dodge Charger and feel that his experience in racing and his driving talents will provide our team with the success that we are seeking." "The opportunity to drive for Penske-Jasper Racing is more than a dream come true. I have been a fan of Roger Penske since I was a little kid watching Rick Mears. It's a once in a lifetime chance for a young driver and I'm excited to get that opportunity," Kvapil said. "I'm honored to represent Kodak. Their history in NASCAR racing is impressive and they are one of the longest running sponsors in the sport." A Wisconsin native, Kvapil resides in North Carolina with his wife, Jennifer, and their two children. Penske Racing South PR 11/21/04 Brendan Gaughan still doesn't know if he is returning to his Penske-Jasper Racing team next season. Team officials have not yet picked up the option on Gaughan's contract. "I have some plans, and no matter what I do, I'm going to be back running some Truck races for my team," Gaughan said. "I could say yes to a lot of things, and I could say no to a lot of things. I think most other drivers are not in that position." 11/16/04 A decision has not yet been made on whether Brendan Gaughan will return to the #77 Penske-Jasper Racing Dodge for the 2005 season, Penske Racing South President Don Miller said Monday. Miller said Gaughan would drive the Kodak Easy Share Dodge in the NEXTEL Cup season finale at Homestead this weekend. Miller, who noted that Gaughan currently possesses second in the Raybestos Rookie of the Year standings, said a decision on Gaughan's status for next year wouldn't be made until after the season ended. "And that is after the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Awards Banquet in New York City," Miller added. The banquet is scheduled for Friday, Dec. 3. Penske Racing South PR 11/15/04 This rumor is upgraded to 'fact' today. Brendan Gaughan was told his contract would not be renewed with Penske-Jasper Racing, and apparently Gene Haas has offered Gaughan, 29, the #0 Chevy seat for 2005. Haas-CNC G.M. Joe Custer added that Richard "Bootie" Barker would remain as crew chief on the #0 and has a three-year contract. Putting Travis Kvapil in the #77 next season is coming with a price. Alex Meshkin wanted compensation for letting Kvapil out of his Bang Racing contract, so Kvapil is expected to run 20 Busch events next season in a Dodge. FoxSports/Sporting News 09/27/04 Roger Penske has been testing three Cup drivers for a possible driver change for next season, and that clearly puts rookie Brendan Gaughan on the hot seat. Winston Salem Journal

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