by Mike Snow - Orleans Racing
Electrical Problems Snap Gaughan’s Texas Winning Streak
There's no doubt that Brendan Gaughan welcomed the pressure of extending his Texas Motor Speedway winning streak to an unprecedented fifth victory in a row.
"Pressure is another word for fun," said Gaughan in the days leading up to the Chex 400K. "It means you've been doing something right. So, I'm excited about it."
Not one to rest on his laurels however, Gaughan arrived at TMS after a test session at Texas World Speedway and with a truck named Lonestar - a proven winner on the circuit.
What Gaughan couldn't have prepared for were the gremlins under the hood that launched a late race assault on Lonestar's alternator and put an abrupt halt to any thoughts of five-in-a row.
Gaughan's 30th place qualifying effort was about par for the course this season but as usual he didn't stay there for long.
Guiding the No. 77 Dodge carefully through the field, Gaughan was running 12th and knocking on the door to the top 10 when Lonestar started to fade and it became clear that something wasn't quite right in the engine compartment.
With less than 50 laps to go Gaughan was forced to pit road where the crew anxiously awaited with a new battery to aid their ailing race truck.
The crew made the change in record time but with the stop coming under green flag conditions, Gaughan fell seven laps behind the leaders and ultimately finished 27th.
“The best thing about the streak coming to an end is that you get to start them over again,” said Gaughan. “It was a long night. (Crew chief) Tony (Liberati) did a great job given the piece he had to work with.
“The Orleans Racing team is off. We need to get back on track. These big tracks used to be our bread and butter, now they are our Achilles’ heel. That’s going to change.”
Next weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway will offer Gaughan and his crew the perfect opportunity to turn it all around as they tackle the 2.0-mile flat track located in the Irish Hills of The Wolverine State.
Off to Pocono
Following the Texas Craftsman Truck event driver Brendan Gaughan readied himself for a trip to Pocono, Pa., where he’ll drive relief for Mike Bliss and the Haas CNC Race team in Sunday’s Pocono 500. Gaughan got the call after Bliss had successful hernia surgery earlier in the week.
Gaughan went to the Pocono Raceway following NCTS qualifying on Thursday night. Once there he briefed with the Haas CNC Race team --- and checked the cockpit for fitment issues. Once those steps were performed Gaughan took the NetZero / Best Buy car out for a shakedown. Gaughan turned in an impressive 21st fast time. Gaughan and Bliss shared time in the second session on Friday in order to give Bliss a feel for the car he’ll qualify and run to the first caution in Sunday’s Nextel Cup race.
Gaughan jetted from Texas, headed for Pocono, 7:30 am on Saturday --- where he’ll spend the balance of the weekend with Bliss’ race team.
“The Haas CNC Race team builds a heck of a race car,” Gaughan said after returning from Pocono to race his No. 77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Dodge. “The car is very comfortable and a dream to drive.
“I’m just there to help Mike Bliss out after his surgery,” Gaughan added. “Mike and I have been friends for a while and when I got the call earlier this week I quickly agreed to spell Mike as he heals up from his surgery.”