DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
JULY 3, 2004
RACE RECAP IN-A-FLASH
NO. 77 STARTING POSITION – 12TH
POLE POSITION – Jeff Gordon
NO. 77 FINISHING POSITION – 36th
RACE WINNER – Jeff Gordon (Started 1st)
NO. 77 DRIVER POINTS – 29th
NO. 77 OWNER POINTS – 30th
Daytona Beach, FL (July 3, 2004) - A 12th-place qualifying effort was the only thing that went well for the Penske-Jasper Racing team at Daytona International Speedway as Brendan Gaughan finished 36th after a rain delay, unavoidable right side damage to his Kodak EasyShare/Jasper Dodge, and a broken gear.
Heavy showers in the Daytona Beach area brought delays throughout the race process. The tech line was closed for a period of time as a result. While drivers walked across the stage for driver's introductions, several teams still waited for their machines to clear the height sticks and the scales.
The drivers were called to their cars after most of the cars had passed through inspection and when the last one was pushed onto pit road, the pilots took to their cockpits. Their stay was short-lived as another patch of showers moved through the area and Gaughan again stood next to his No. 77 Kodak EasyShare/Jasper Dodge. Approximately two hours after the scheduled start, NASCAR officials felt the track was dry enough and the cars pulled away behind the pace car.
As the laps counted down, Gaughan radioed his crew to let them know the car's handling was getting tighter so when he brought his Penske-Jasper-powered machine to the pits during the first caution, crew chief Shane Wilson had a plan. The PJR pit crew provided four tires and fuel, along with a track bar and wedge adjustments to loosen the machine.
Again, Gaughan said the handling was not agreeable for the line he was attempting to run and things took a turn for the worse when another driver's misfortune quickly became Gaughan's. Mike Wallace cut a tire and drifted into the wall. Gaughan, who was drafting with Wallace at the time had nowhere to go and received right side damage to the car's fender and door areas.
Gaughan came down pit road to receive repairs, and a brief banging on sheet metal by the crew, he returned to the racing surface on the lead lap. As the "one-to-go" signal was given to the field, NASCAR officials notified Wilson of a right side tire rub as Gaughan entered turn one but as he passed by turn three the officials said the rub was clear and Gaughan remained on the track for the green flag.
Several laps into the green-flag run, Gaughan said the car's handling was tight and progressively getting worse. Wilson asked Gaughan to hold on as long as he could as a green-flag stop was planned on lap 106.
As planned, Gaughan came down pit road on the designated lap. His Dodge received four tires with air pressure adjustments and another chassis adjustment. The jack dropped, but when Gaughan attempted to put the car in gear to depart the pit stall, nothing happened. Wilson sent three crew members running back to the garage to prepare for the necessary gear change and radioed Bill "Stump" Lewis, the hauler driver, to bring the appropriate gear to the garage.
Wilson waited for the green-flag pit stops to be completed before allowing his remaining team members to push the car in the opposite direction on pit road. While the gear was changed, Wilson also had the front shocks changed in an effort to loosen the car's handling. Gaughan, who until the mishap on lap 106 had competed on the lead lap, returned to the track 24 laps down. When the checkered flag was displayed, Gaughan was posted in the 36th position.
PENSKE-JASPER POWERED TEAMMATES
No. 2 Rusty Wallace
Start – 27th Finish – 27th
Driver Points – 17th Owner Points – 17th
No. 12 Ryan Newman
Start – 13nd Finish – 12th
Driver Points – 9th Owner Points – 9th
No. 77 Brendan Gaughan
Start – 12th Finish – 36th
Driver Points – 29th Owner Points – 30th