By Colleen Marie Lynch
Brendan Gaughan started Sunday's Aaron's 499 at Talladega in the 19th position. On lap 2, while Michael
Waltrip led the race, Brendan had moved up to the 15th position. Joe Nemechek took the lead on lap 3.
Brendan was in the 17th position running a speed of 179.861. Caution also came out on lap 3 after Ricky Craven
had engine trouble. Brendan pit under caution and came out 25th for the lap 7 restart.
Dale Earnhardt Jr took the lead on lap 12 while Brendan was in the 25th position. Brendan's Dodge would continue
to advance during the next laps. He was 18th on lap 14, and 19th on lap 15. Sterling Marlin took the lead
from Dale Jr the following lap. However, Jr retook the lead just a few laps later During the next few laps, the
lead who change a number of times while Kurt Busch and Casey Mears both took their turns leading laps.
Caution 2 came out on lap 23 when Robby Gordon made contact with Kenseth who got into Harvick. Scott Wimmer also
checked up fast with Brian Vickers right behind him. However, Vickers also checked up in time so there was
no contact. Brendan pit under the caution. He came out 22nd for the lap 27 restart while Robby Gordon led.
Jeff Gordon would take the lead from Robby on lap 32.
Jimmie Johnson had a tire go down on lap 35 after Jamie McMurray got into him. The caution came out while
Brendan was in the 21st position. Brendan again pit under this caution. On pit road, Casey Mears came out of his
pit while Johnny Sauter was coming in, and the contact spun Sauter sideways. On the lap 34 restart Brendan
was in the 34th position.
The lead would change many times over the next ten laps while Dale Jr, Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart all battled
for position. On lap 51 while Jr was leading, Brendan was in the 17th position.
Joe Nemechek gets into Matt Kenseth on the 54th lap causing the 01's tire to go down. He pitted, and no caution
Jimmie Johnson was in the lead on lap 56 while Brendan was in the 12th position, but only a lap later while
Brian Vickers led, Brendan had dropped all the way to the 31st position. Matt Kenseth's engine blew up on lap
61 while Michael Waltrip was leading, but again no caution was called.
Casey Mears got into Brendan on lap 65 while Brendan was in the 27th position. At the same time, Sauter cut
Dave Blaney's tire down causing him to pit.
Caution number 4 came out on lap 68 when Ward Burton blew up. Brendan pit under caution. He was 36th on the lap
Lap 84 brought out the next caution after the Big One! Tony Stewart went low and clipped Kurt Busch's left rear
bumper sending the 97 spinning into traffic. 10 cars were involved, the 00, 0, 2, 5, 9, 10, 12, 23, 50 and 97.
Brendan was right behind the mess, but he went low and got through with no damage.
Scott Wimmer, Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick would all lead before caution 5 came out on lap 94 for debri. Brendan
was being marked in the 18th position. On lap 104, Brendan was up to the 11th position.
Caution number 6 was called on lap 114 after Kevin Harvick and Robby Gordon were bumping into each other. They bottled
up the field. Then Jeff Gordon clipped Michael Waltrip who spun into Kerry Earnhardt.
Mikey's car straightend while Kerry Earnhardt went sliding through the infield grass. Brendan was in the 15th
On lap 137 Jamie McMurray bangs into Brian Vickers. Brian's tire goes flat causing him to pit under green.
Harvick cuts down a tire on lap 145. Joe Nemecheck was leaking fluid forcing him to pit, and then Sterling
Marlin lost a tire. The caution came out on lap 146. Brendan was in 24th, and Brian Vickers was the lucky dog.
Robby Gordon, Dale Jr and Jimmie Johnson would all lead before the 8th caution on lap 167 for debri. Brendan was
16th on the lap 172 restart.
With 14 laps to go, Johnny Sauter hit Brendan, but Brendan keeps the car under control. Brendan would then
draft with his teammate Ryan Newman. Also during this lap, Tony Stewart tried to cut in front of Jimmie Johnson,
but he wasn't clear. Tony went spinning through the grass. He worked the wheel and kept it off the wall, but
the spinning caused his tires to flatspot. Caution was called while Brendan was in the 14th position.
During the next few laps, Dale Jr, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon would all take their turns at leading.
Lap 185 brought out the last caution of the day when Jamie McMurray made it three wide with Brian Vickers and
Casey Mears. Jamie spun into Brian sending him spinning. Brian bounced off the 21 of Ricky Rudd keeping him
off the wall. Then Brian saved the car and caught up with the field.
Dale Jr fans were upset when Nascar said that Jeff Gordon was in the lead when the caution came out. When Jeff's
number went to the top of the leader board, Jr fans began to throw budweiser cans and other trash onto the track.
Even if Nascar was able to get the race restarted, there was no way they could after all the trash was thrown.
Brendan finished the race in the 13th postion. It was his best finish of the season, and he was the top finishing