Brendan Gaughan’s eighth place finish at Indianapolis Raceway Park will look pretty good in the year end summary but if he could have done one thing different, he would have made his green flag pit stop just one lap sooner.
If he had, he may just have celebrated his first victory of the season.
Rain earlier in the day cancelled the first two practice sessions and forced NASCAR to set the starting grid according to the rulebook and that meant an 19th place starting position for his No. 77 Jasper Engines Dodge.
The teams managed to squeeze in one hour of practice before the race but that gave the crews precious little time to dial in their machines – it was all the time that crew chief Tony Liberati and his boys needed.
From the moment the green flag fell, Gaughan knew he was wheeling a contender as he carefully picked his way through the field and gained steadily on the leaders.
At the halfway point of the race, Gaughan was comfortably riding in the top 10 and still moving forward.
An unusually long green flag run set up a round of pit stops at speed and by Lap 135 Gaughan had cycled into the lead and was one of just a few drivers who still needed to make a pit stop.
It wasn’t long after that when Gaughan realized he had pushed it a little too far.
As his Dodge crossed the start/finish line, Gaughan radioed to his crew chief that he was out of fuel.
He made it to pit road and despite having to coast the last few feet into his box, Gaughan lost just one lap to the leader and rejoined the race in 15th.
Back up to speed, Gaughan made back seven lost positions on the racetrack, finishing eighth and making IRP his fifth top ten finish of the season.
“I thought we had it --- our Jasper Engines Dodge was bad to the bone,” Gaughan said after the dust settled at IRP.
“We’re definitely back,” Gaughan added. “Unfortunately for us we got the worst fuel mileage we’ve gotten all year. That might have been a little bit the driver’s fault because the truck was driving so good I was running it awfully hard. But there shouldn’t be any question now that in the Craftsman Truck Series we’re going to be one of the trucks to keep an eye on when we unload to race.
“We’re going to get a couple of these before the year is over,” Gaughan warned. “With Rambo on the box calling the shots and my boys making trucks this good there’s no way we’re going to get shut out this year. It’s not going to happen.”
According to the unofficial driver standings, Gaughan jumped two spots and now ranks 19th.