Brendan Gaughan Post-Race Report - Gateway
Orleans Racing faced one of those nights at Gateway International Raceway where it would have been easy to give in to the adversity and just head on down the road with a less than satisfying performance.
Instead, crew and driver, led by Rambo Liberati, banded together and pulled off a 14th place finish that left everyone involved with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
With qualifying rained out and the grid set according to the rulebook, Brendan Gaughan took his spot 18th in the starting lineup for the Ram Tough 200.
The team’s first pit stop early in the race was a busy one as the crew worked through a long list of adjustments to improve the handling on their No. 77 Casino Queen Dodge. Still, Gaughan lost just two positions in the running order and now felt like he was good to go.
At first, he didn’t get to go very far at all. Just a few laps later, Gaughan flat-spotted his tires when he went into defensive driving mode to avoid a crash right in front of him. Another trip to pit road remedied the tire situation and upon NASCAR approval the team received a replacement set of Goodyears. Those tires came in handy later in the race when Gaughan suffered not one but two cut tires.
Each time, the crew responded with precision pit stops that in turn encouraged Gaughan to get up on the wheel and dig for every position he could get.
The result was the team’s third consecutive top 15 finish and another jump in the point standings up one spot to 15th.
“I can’t say enough about the guys,” said Gaughan who is now less than 100 points outside the top 10. “The over the wall guys worked their tails off. We must have stopped six or seven times. It was a just a hard working, hard fought night. We were not a 14th place truck; we were a 10th place truck. I’ve said it before about Gateway, you can make up for a lot of spots here and I think we did.”
With a hint of exasperation in his voice Gaughan continued, “We’d hit the top 10, then go all the way back to 30th and say, ‘What the hell happened?’ We waited it out each time and played it smart. We caught cautions and were able to stay on the lead lap. Danny Goad is our new tire changer and he had one real stop to try to gain spots and he did. The rest of the time it was handfuls of shock and Rambo working on things trying to make it better.
“I made a lot of tight maneuvers tonight. My spotter, Billy Holbrook, was spot on tonight. All in all everybody was just fantastic. Holbrook got me through three wrecks – right through the middle with smoke everywhere and you couldn’t see anything. I ended up with an entire front end on my grill but didn’t hit any vehicles. We made it through and that’s the big thing. The fab shop guys have some bodywork to do but we don’t have a whole truck to replace.
“To bring it home in one piece is a big bonus.”