Gaughan Scores Top-10 In Soggy Mansfield, OH Event
Brendan Gaughan and his South Point Racing team showed their short track prowess on Saturday in the daylong, soggy Ohio 250 at Mansfield Motorsports Speedway as the team climbed from its 35th starting position to finish ninth.
“That was just one of those old fashioned, I have no clue how we did it days,” said Gaughan, who often voices his dislike of short tracks. “For me to come from 35th to ninth on a short track, I mean that to me is my best Dennis Setzer impersonation.
“Bryan Berry and the boys didn’t give up. My spotter Billy Holbrook did a phenomenal job tonight. We made great decisions. We had to roll with the punches. We came in when we wanted to early on. We were looking pretty good and probably would have had a chance to win the race. We were right behind Rick Crawford who led a lot of laps, and we didn’t have to stop again. But then all of a sudden we got into a wreck, and we had to do damage control. Bryan Berry put it back together. We just kept chugging away in our Chevrolet Silverado and kept getting one guy at a time until we ended up top 10. It was just a great team effort, and I’m proud of everybody involved with this South Point Chevrolet team.”
The race started on Saturday under ominous conditions and a threat of thunderstorms throughout the day. Although mired in the back due to a bad qualifying draw, Gaughan and his team put together a strategy that would help him move his Chevrolet Silverado through the field where he could show its strength.
However, the field would only run 18 laps before being put under the red flag for rain showers. Gaughan was sitting in 29th spot. Under the red flag, the team strategically planned to come down pit road under caution before the race restarted. It would be the team’s only planned pit stop.
NASCAR made an attempt to restart the race after a two hour delay, but a severe thunderstorm forced everyone off of the track and out of the infield. Finally, after four hours and 12 minutes of a stop in action, the trucks rolled back off pit road and restarted the race.
On Lap 34, Gaughan brought his No. 77 down pit road for left side tires and fuel only. He restarted in 23rd spot.
Now, further up in the field, Gaughan was able to pass easier. By Lap 50, he was in 20th spot. However, as trucks beat and banged on the race track, Gaughan sustained body damage to his Chevrolet.
When the caution waved at Lap 50, he was forced to bring his truck down pit road to pull out the damaged right front fender which was causing a tire rub. The team changed right side tires and added more fuel. Gaughan went back out on track in 29th spot.
Gaughan started working when the green flag dropped. In 30 laps, he was able to make up five spots and was in 24th place. He told the team that his truck could turn anywhere he wanted it to on the track – he just needed to get closer to the front and away from lap traffic to do what he wanted to do.
By Lap 99, Gaughan had moved into 22nd spot and avoided a major wreck when the No. 47 truck had issues in front of him. Gaughan told his crew chief that the No. 47 truck lifted on the straightaway, while the No. 77 held its line. There was contact, but Gaughan continued.
Running under the caution flag for the wreck, the rains came once again and NASCAR red flagged the race for a second time. This time for nearly an hour.
When the race finally restarted, Gaughan was able to gain spots under the caution as several trucks ahead of him pitted. The No. 77 Silverado would take the green flag at Lap 117 in 16th spot.
Gaughan was holding his spot but told his team that he couldn’t make a move until the lapped traffic was out of his way. A run in with the No. 9 truck cost Gaughan two spots, but the driver stayed calm and made the lost positions back up.
By Lap 196, Gaughan had moved into 13th spot. Under the caution, Gaughan told crew chief Bryan Berry that if he were ever able to run where he wanted to on the race track that he had a “rocketship” for a short track truck.
Over the final 50 laps, Gaughan ticked off spot by spot consistently passing race trucks on the track. At Lap 240, Gaughan was in 11th spot and was battling for a position in the top 10.
For a second time of the night, the No. 77 truck tangled with the No. 47 truck. Although Gaughan feared he had a flat tire, the team told him it was fine.
On the restart at Lap 244, Gaughan went to work and picked up two positions, finishing in ninth place and gaining his second top 10 of the season.
“What a great race for this team,” Gaughan said. “It’s the best short track truck that I have ever had. And I can’t believe what we were able to do today – to come from 35th to ninth is so exciting to me.
“But Dennis Setzer is still my hero. He took his Chevrolet, didn't stop - which is a little wrong - when you can take a set of tires, go 250 laps and not need to stop - I just can't believe that. But if there is one man in the world who can do it - and his name is Dennis Setzer and I'm proud that he is one of my Chevrolet teammates.”
Gaughan and the South Point Racing team are now 13th in NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series drivers points. They will be back in action next Friday, June 1 at Dover International Speedway.