RACE RECAP IN-A-FLASH
NO. 77 STARTING POSITION 11th
NO. 77 TIME/SPEED 20.432 Seconds/92.678 MPH
POLE POSITION Jeff Gordon
POLE TIME/SPEED 20.252 Seconds/93.502 MPH
NO. 77 FINISHING POSITION 17th
RACE WINNER Rusty Wallace (Started 17th)
NO. 77 DRIVER POINTS 28th (-451 behind leader)
NO. 77 OWNER POINTS 28th
Brendan Gaughan has voiced his discontent with short tracks, claiming he is not a short-track racer, but his performances at Bristol and Martinsville this year have proven otherwise.
Gaughan started the eighth event on the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series schedule from the 11th position. After running the majority of the day in the top 20 feeling comfortable in his car, he radioed his Penske-Jasper Racing crew to let them know the handling had gone away.
On lap 156, Gaughan told crew chief Shane Wilson the car was becoming loose entering the turns. On lap 58, he clarified the handling situation, stating the car was over-rotating in the center of the turns.
NASCAR displayed the yellow flag on lap 161 and Wilson took advantage of the situation to make necessary adjustments to the No. 77 Kodak EasyShare/JASPER Dodge. He directed the Kodak Racing team to make a wedge adjustment, as well as provide four new tires and fuel.
Gaughan took the green flag from the 16th position, but gradually slipped back in the field. He was running 19th on lap 213 when he lost control of his car in the center of turns three and four and spun, brushing the wall before stopping. That relegated the gold No. 77 to the 25th position.
Fortunately, short-track racing is not about the aero package. The damage was minimal, requiring only a few tugs on the fenders. In addition to tugging on the fenders to ensure the tires would not rub, the crew delivered a four-tire pit stop along with a track bar and wedge adjustment to tighten the cars handling condition in the turns.
Gaughan took the green flag in the 26th position and brought his car up to speed. After several laps, he told his crew the brakes were starting to go, typical of short-track racing where a team will run a brake pad twice as thick as usual.
After several more stops for adjustments designed to aid Gaughan with the drive-ability of his machine and one NASCAR issued red flag period to repair a pothole in the center of the racing groove, the No. 77 Dodge responded.
Gaughan steadily worked his way from the 26th position through traffic, constantly asking who was next, referring to the next driver ahead of him. By lap 460, he was posted 20th and listed as the Lucky Dog, which guarantees the first driver one-lap down to the leaders will get his lap back prior to the green flag.
The field took the green flag on lap 464 and Gaughan settled in for the remainder of the event. Gaughan turned in a 17th-place finish, while Penske-Jasper power took the checkered flag with Rusty Wallace in the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge, ending his three-year winless streak.
PENSKE-JASPER POWERED TEAMMATES
No. 2 Rusty Wallace
Start 17th Finish 1st
Driver Points 8th Owner Points 8th
No. 12 Ryan Newman
Start 3rd Finish 5th
Driver Points 11th Owner Points 11th
No. 77 Brendan Gaughan
Start 11th Finish 17th
Driver Points 28th Owner Points 28th