Brendan Gaughan Post-Race Report - Dover
Brendan Gaughan settled for a 19th place finish at Dover International Speedway but with just a single well-timed caution that result could have been much, much better.
Gaughan counts Dover among his favorite places to race and when he climbed into the No. 77 Dodge as it sat 30th on the starting grid he looked forward to the challenge of getting through the field and chasing down the leaders.
With a loose truck in the opening laps, the Orleans Racing pit crew took advantage of the first caution on Lap 21 to call their driver to pit road to remove a right, rear spring rubber in an effort to improve the handling. After the stop Gaughan took the green flag in 28th place but with the field stringing out and the leaders setting a torrid pace it wasn’t long before trucks were being lapped left and right. Gaughan did everything he could to hang on to the lead lap but when he was held up by a slower truck, he was unable to keep the leader behind him.
When the third caution flew on Lap 98, crew chief Rambo Liberati saw his opportunity to turn the tide with a bit of pit strategy. A fuel only pit stop put Gaughan right up next to the leader on the restart and with a quick caution he would be eligible for the free pass back onto the lead lap.
It was sound strategy considering there were 11 cautions in the 2005 event at the Monster Mile but unfortunately for Gaughan history did not repeat itself. By the time the caution flew for the fourth and final time on Lap 158, the leaders were again lapping the field and the free pass went to another driver.
Gaughan fought for track position to the bitter end and on the final lap of the 200-lap race he passed Dennis Setzer to finish 19th and hold steady at 16th in the point standings.
“I was not slow enough to go down a lap but I couldn’t get past a slower truck and that’s what got us a lap down,” said Gaughan. “Rambo had great strategy to get us back. We rolled the dice. Hey, we’re from Vegas and we’re not afraid. We went for fuel only to get us to the front of the Lucky Doge line. We stayed there for the longest time but the leader caught somebody and then the caution came out. We just couldn’t get our lap back.
“We had a decent truck and it showed some moments of brilliance. We just didn’t have the correct balance all the way. It had good laps and it had bad laps. You had to run real precise with it and I’m an off-roader and that precise thing never has worked well for me.”