MBNA 400 A SALUTE TO HEROES
DOVER INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
JUNE 6, 2004
RACE RECAP IN-A-FLASH
NO. 77 STARTING POSITION 5th
NO. 77 TIME/SPEED 22.522 Seconds/159.844MPH
POLE POSITION Jeremy Mayfield
NO. 77 FINISHING POSITION 27th
RACE WINNER Mark Martin (Started 7th)
NO. 77 DRIVER POINTS 29th
NO. 77 OWNER POINTS 29th
'MONSTER MILE' BITES GAUGHAN
Gaughan Finishes 27th in MBNA 400 'A Salute to Heroes'
DOVER, DE (June 6, 2004) - Brendan Gaughan's bad luck this year continued at Dover International Speedway as what started out with a fifth-place qualifying effort, quickly turned into a 27th-place finish. With multi-car collisions and red-flag conditions, the MBNA 400 "Salute to Heroes" had some excitement in typical "Monster Mile" fashion.
After turning in a fifth-place qualifying effort, Gaughan, driver of the No. 77 Penske-Jasper Racing Dodge, was set to put on a good show for Jasper Engines and Transmissions, his primary sponsor for the MBNA weekend. Shortly after the race started, Gaughan said the car was tight heading into and off the turns, so his crew chief, Shane Wilson, began pit strategy discussions with the crew. Wilson knew he could take advantage of a competition caution provided by NASCAR. During the driver/crew chief pre-race meeting, the competitors were told by NASCAR officials there would be a competition caution on or around lap 30 due to the rainy weather having washed all of the rubber off the track's surface. This provided a chance for the teams to make adjustments on their cars after having the opportunity to get a feel for their equipment on the concrete surface.
The yellow flag waved on lap 31 and Gaughan came down pit road to the attention of his pit crew on lap 34. They provided four tires and fuel along with track bar and wedge adjustments to free up the car.
The field took the green flag again on lap 37, but less than 15 seconds later, a multi-car collision required yellow flag conditions. While trying to navigate through the accident, Gaughan made contact with Elliott Sadler and his Penske-Jasper-powered car sustained damage to the left side fender. After turning down pit road multiple times for repairs, Gaughan returned to the track to take the green flag.
Shortly after taking the green flag on lap 45, Gaughan was shown the black flag for a tire rub, so he was forced to take his yellow Jasper machine to the garage for more extensive repairs. The team pulled out the fender and pounded the crushed panels back into place, then secured their handy work with rivets. The repairs were completed and Gaughan's car received four fresh tires, as well as a spring rubber in the left rear, and he returned to the track 27 laps down.
With no one running on his lap, Gaughan and Wilson took Gaughan's mentor, Buddy Baker's advice. Gaughan continued to work progressively to find a line agreeable with his car's set-up or a set-up agreeable to the track, knowing he will return to the "Monster Mile" in the fall. Despite the challenge that lay before him, Gaughan continued to give his best effort.
Gaughan was not the only one dealing with adversity throughout the day. What started as a strong day for Dodge, with four of the top-five starters driving a Dodge, ended in heartbreak. Not only did Gaughan's teammates, Ryan Newman and Rusty Wallace, receive heavy damage in unavoidable incidents, the pole-sitter, Jeremy Mayfield, was caught in a multi-car crash on lap 346, while leading the event. The incident brought out the red flag and though Mayfield's car was repaired under yellow flag conditions, when he returned to the competition, he was several laps down. Mayfield's Dodge teammate, Kasey Kahne, suffered a similar fate. When Casey Mears' No. 41 Dodge began spewing fluids on the track, Kahne drove through the fluids and spun, also while leading.
Gaughan finished the event in the 27th position, 36 laps down to the lead-lap cars. Mark Martin won the event.
PENSKE-JASPER POWERED TEAMMATES
No. 2 Rusty Wallace
Start 4th Finish 13th
Driver Points 14th Owner Points 14th
No. 12 Ryan Newman
Start 2nd Finish 24th
Driver Points 10th Owner Points 10th
No. 77 Brendan Gaughan
Start 5th Finish 27th
Driver Points 29th Owner Points 29th