Brendan Gaughan Post-Race Report - Memphis
Fireworks lit up the night sky over Memphis Motorsports Park after the race but Brendan Gaughan saw more than his fair share on the race track during the event.
Gaughan rolled the No. 77 Orleans Dodge off the starting grid in 16th place and braced himself for 200 laps of short track competition Craftsman Truck Series style.
For the most part the drivers spend the first 60 laps just feeling out the track and played follow the leader as they found a comfortable rhythm around the 0.75-mile track.
The first round of pit stops came on Lap 62 under caution for a spin on the front stretch and Gaughan hit pit road for service running in 14th position. Unfortunately Gaughan was forced to pit a second time after NASCAR officials ordered him back to his pit box for a missing lug nut.
It was a rare misstep for the Orleans Racing pit crew but Gaughan needed just 20 laps under green to make up most of what he lost on the penalty that sent him back to 30th in the running order.
Gaughan was especially effective on restarts throughout the race until contact with another truck took him too close to the outside wall for anybody’s comfort. Damage as done anyway and Gaughan let his crew know that the handling on his Dodge had gone completely away.
As luck would have it, the race entered a long green flag run that just didn’t allow the crew an opportunity to make the adjustments Gaughan so badly needed. Further contact with the same truck turned Gaughan’s Dodge nearly ninety degrees sideways but a spectacular save by Gaughan prevented any further damage.
Still, the truck was such a handful by that time that the leader bypassed Gaughan on Lap 163 and put him a lap down.
Orleans Racing caught their only good break of the night when the caution flew with 15 laps to go and they were awarded the free pass back onto the lead lap. Gaughan went on to salvage a 17th place finish despite the numerous setbacks that could have resulted in a much worse finish.
“We had a top five Dodge,” said Gaughan after the race. “I’m looking at the guys that finished in the top five and we passed them all night long but due to non-racing type circumstances we were relegated to 17th. The guys worked hard. Losing Lance Wilson right before this weekend hurt us. That’s what put us back there. Our front tire changer lost a lug nut and that put us back in the back. He’s a young man that’s been on this team before and he’ll probably be back again for us and he’ll do fine. I’m sure it was just first race jitters.
“The boys work hard for me and they all did a great job this weekend. We had big pow-wows and conference calls all night long after practice with Tom Buzze and the boys at the shop. We all got together and decided what we wanted to do and every move was perfect. We had a Dodge truck that should have been top five. Shoot, I passed the 99 (finished 2nd) and drove away from him. I’m really, really, really unhappy the way night ended the way it did because it never should have.
“Our race program is definitely to the point where it’s battling every week for top fives. There is no doubt in my mind. Our short track stuff was sixth at Martinsville after we started 33rd. We were easily a top five truck here tonight. I think we’ve found something with our mile-and-a-half track stuff. We might still have to find something for the flat tracks but the other places we’ve figured out. We definitely have a great truck for Talladega. We definitely should have earned a top five tonight and our program has gained a ton over this summer stretch. I’m very, very proud of our boys. They worked their butts off week in and week out.”
After racing nine weeks in a row Orleans Racing looks forward to a two-week hiatus before heading to Indianapolis Raceway Park for their next scheduled event on August 4.