Brendan Gaughan Post-Race Report - Kansas
Brendan Gaughan raced away from Kansas Speedway with his best finish of the season and he didn’t need a detour through Oz to get it.
In fact, it was a simple matter of getting back to basics that gave the Orleans Racing team something to cheer about.
Gaughan was thrilled to be back behind the wheel of “Lonestar”, the oldest Dodge in the No. 77 fleet and his personal favorite. After several races spent experimenting with setups, the crew returned to a tried and true package that Gaughan felt more comfortable with and he was anxious to put it to the test on the 1.5-mile speedway.
The number one qualifying draw left Gaughan saddled with a 33rd place starting position but he had 167 laps to find his way to the front.
Gaughan spent the first 130 laps biding his time and taking advantage of several cautions to hit pit road and allow his crew to make calculated adjustments. When the seventh caution flew Gaughan was able to bypass pit road and move to ninth in the running order.
It was after the final restart of the race with 16 laps to go that Gaughan showed what he’s made of. Driving like a man possessed, Gaughan used the momentum in his preferred high groove to pick up four positions within one lap of going back to green. With 11 laps to go he took fourth place from David Starr.
Gaughan then spent the majority of the final ten laps in a heated side-by-side battle with Aussie Marcos Ambrose for third and when the checkers fell Ambrose got the nod by a scant 0.008-second.
Their best finish since nearly a year ago in Memphis was worth three giant steps up the point standings to 14th but the confidence boost to the team and driver was priceless.
“This Orleans Racing team just doesn’t quit,” said Gaughan. “Rambo wouldn’t let me. There were a lot of times when I wanted to say, ‘Just let the race end’ but he wouldn’t let me. The boys pulled rubbers and made track bar adjustments and made air pressure adjustments.
“In the end, honestly I don’t know where it came from. I just drove my tail off and found the old groove. It was awesome to be able to run good again. We had Harrah’s on board this weekend and they gave us a nice place to stay. What a way to give a one-race sponsor our best effort. I appreciate them jumping on board.
“Every crew chief I’ve ever had going all the way back to Shane Wilson never wanted to run Lonestar,” Gaughan added. “Shane didn’t want to run it in 2003 because it was so old. I just keep putting my foot down and telling them to run it. I don’t know if it’s karma or chi or what it is but Lonestar does have something for me. We know for sure that we’re taking it to Kentucky next weekend.
“It’s only one race but man, it’s going to be a great week.”