NEW HAMPSHIRE INTERNATIONAL SPEEDWAY
JULY 25, 2004
RACE RECAP IN-A-FLASH
NO. 77 STARTING POSITION – 29th
POLE POSITION – Ryan Newman
NO. 77 FINISHING POSITION – 22nd
RACE WINNER – Kurt Busch
Loudon, NH (July 25, 2004) - It was an eventful day for Brendan Gaughan, who completed the Siemens 300 in the 22nd position at New Hampshire International Speedway. After a long race with an ill-handling car, one “Lucky Dog” free pass, and one 360-degree maneuver in turn two, Gaughan finished the event on the lead lap.
Gaughan’s day began with various handling conditions, not agreeable with the car. From loose heading into the turns to extremely tight from the center and off the turns, Gaughan had his hands full.
During multiple stops throughout the race, the Kodak Racing team responded with air pressure adjustments and chassis adjustments to assist with the car’s handling. Despite their efforts, Gaughan still struggled behind the wheel.
After being passed by the leader on lap 39, the No. 77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge was posted one lap down, but he received a break on lap 59 when the first caution flag was displayed. Gaughan came down pit road on lap 62. His machine received four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to both sides and Gaughan returned to the track.
The field received the green flag on lap 66 and it seemed as though the changes made had improved the car’s handling, if only briefly. By lap 68, Gaughan had moved up three positions into 30th and was marked as the “Lucky Dog”. On lap 90, Gaughan received another break when the second caution flag was shown to the field.
Gaughan was posted as the first car, one lap down and, therefore, given the “Lucky Dog” award. The ruling came from NASCAR for Gaughan to pass the leader. Due to a miscommunication, the message did not get to Gaughan. He was then posted on the tail of the lead lap, but simultaneously received a penalty. Under the rules governing the “Lucky Dog” position, the No. 77 Penske-Jasper-powered Dodge could now pit, but the team could not fuel the car because Gaughan had not moved into position when instructed by NASCAR.
Just a few laps after taking the green flag, the field was shown the yellow flag, again, and crew chief Shane Wilson called his driver down pit road for fuel only.
Gaughan continued to struggle with the same conditions through the event and on lap 243, it almost got the best of him.
Gaughan was in the center of turns one and two when he temporarily lost control of the No. 77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge. The tail of the car came around and just as it looked like the car would receive serious damage to its rear, Gaughan managed to regain control by staying on the throttle. In third gear with his foot on the floor, Gaughan sent the car into a spin and away from the wall. After completing one revolution, Gaughan had his machine aimed in the right direction and took off. With minimal damage, Gaughan received only the typical service in the pits, four tires and fuel.
While it was not the finish the Penske-Jasper team members had hoped for, they felt it was a step in the right direction to regaining their composure in a rocky season.
With all the breaks Gaughan received in the Siemens 300, who can blame the team for looking up.