AUGUST 22, 2004
Brooklyn, Mich. (Aug. 22, 2004) - The black cloud continues to hover over Brendan Gaughan and the No. 77 Kodak Racing team. After maintaining a top-15 car the majority of the day during the GFS Marketplace 400, Gaughan’s day ended with a 33rd-place finish due to part failure.
Gaughan, who started 30th after qualifying was washed out on Friday and the field was set by owners’ points, drove a strong race and gained several positions, proving he had a competitive car. The team continued to work on the car’s set-up throughout the 200-lap event as Gaughan complained of tight handling conditions in the turns.
With multiple chassis and air pressure adjustments along with a couple of two-tire pit-stops, Gaughan was able to move to the front of the pack, and was posted as the leader at one point. His line through turns one and two contributed to his front-runner performance, while he continued to work on turns three and four throughout the day, never quite finding his line on the north side of the track.
For weeks now, Gaughan has turned in great performances, but has been unable to post the finishes to show the effort being put forth by the entire Penske-Jasper Racing organization. Most of the troubles have been unavoidable, as was the case at Michigan International Speedway.
Around lap 147, Gaughan radioed crew chief Shane Wilson with bad news. He told Wilson that the car felt as though it were not running at full strength. The following lap, he said it felt as though something had let go in the engine.
In an effort to complete the event and avoid a DNF - Did Not Finish - Wilson told Gaughan to try to make the minimum speed which had been designated by NASCAR officials during the driver/crew chief meeting earlier in the day. Gaughan did his best to maintain the minimum speed, but he was eventually posted on the board and shown the black flag, signifying his required exit from the racing surface.
Gaughan headed to the garage where he was met by the Kodak Racing team. After a brief but thorough inspection, the problematic area was sourced.
Following his exit from the event, Gaughan said, "Part failure is part failure. It was mechanical and there was nothing anyone could have done to prevent it. The Penske-Jasper engine department prides itself on strong equipment, but there will be times when something like this happens. I suspect after post-race tear-down, the exact source of the part failure will be zeroed in on and eliminated. I don’t look for this to happen again."