by Mike Snow - Orleans Racing
Jasper Engines Team Never Gives Up on Way to 11th Place Finish
Brendan Gaughan must have picked up a four-leaf clover in the Irish Hills of Michigan because midway through the Paramount Health Insurance 200 he caught the lucky break that kept him from becoming an also ran in the tenth race of the 2005 season.
Gaughan qualified 33rd at the 2.0-mile race track just outside Motor City but was making his way patiently toward the front when he noticed that his right, front tire was getting soft on Lap 50.
The No. 77 Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge dropped off the pace dramatically and just when it looked like Gaughan would have to pit under green flag conditions, Robert Huffman spun off Turn 4 and brought out the fourth caution of the afternoon.
That allowed Gaughan to hit pit road and remain running on the lead lap.
When the race got back underway, Gaughan was 27th in the running order and immediately resumed his march toward the front.
A late race crash involving Gaughan's teammate Steve Park, set up a two-lap shootout for the checkers -- but there was one more anxious moment for Gaughan and the rest of the front-runners.
As the green flag flew for the final time, Ted Musgrave lost an engine and sent the field scrambling as drivers desperately tried to avoid Musgrave's slowing truck and the oil that it spewed all over the track surface.
When the dust settled and upon further review by NASCAR officials, Gaughan was given credit for an 11th place finish.
"You've got to give the credit for that finish to Rambo and the guys", said Gaughan of the magic his crew chief Tony Liberati pulled out of his hat of tricks. "Early in the event the changes Rambo was calling for could have made a list as long as my arm. Nothing went untouched --- shocks, wedge and trackbar --- and not just once. He kept hitting the adjustments all day long."
"Drastic times call for drastic measures," said a grinning Liberati after the race. "We needed to get that truck handling better and it wasn't going to happen with a little air pressure change. So we dug in and got after it."
In one of the early race stops Liberati called for so many changes to the Jasper Engines Dodge he wasn't sure if he could get the windshield cleaned for his driver. Keying the mic. on the team's two-way radios a chuckling Rambo told Gaughan, "I'm not sure if we've got enough guys to get that tear away." Gaughan, more interested in a good handling truck, ceded a clean windshield. The Jasper Engines Dodge left pit road with a clean windshield --- and five other adjustments that helped Gaughan finish the race in respectable fashion.