Brendan Gaughan Post-Race Report - Bristol
Nothing slows your mo’ like a speeding ticket and Brendan Gaughan found that out the hard way at Bristol Motor Speedway.
After a fifth place finish in Nashville and a week off to enjoy it, Gaughan and the Orleans Racing team were eager for the action to resume in Thunder Valley. Their enthusiasm turned to optimism when the No. 77 Sherwin Williams Dodge unloaded fast and by the end of the final practice session was ranked third overall.
Eager to back up his earlier runs, Gaughan attacked the high banks during his qualifying attempt and turned in the third fastest lap at 124.841 mph, just 0.050-second off the pace set by pole winner Mark Martin. It marked Gaughan’s best starting position since he won the pole at South Boston Speedway in October 2003, 45 races ago.
Gaughan lined up right behind Martin for the start of the 200-lap race and that was where he stayed until his Dodge slid high in Turn 4 and got sideways on Lap 10. Gaughan managed to keep his truck off the wall and he lost only one position in the process.
When the second caution flag flew on Lap 28, Gaughan followed the leader to pit road for what the Orleans Racing team intended to be their only stop of the race. The pit crew completed their service with precision but Gaughan was stunned when he was nabbed for speeding on entry to pit road.
The penalty put Gaughan at the rear of the field for the restart and even though he managed to fight his way back into the top ten, all that close quarters racing took its toll on the Sherwin Williams Dodge. With less than 50 laps to go, the truck started to get gradually tighter and tighter. A window of opportunity to stop for fresh tires and adjustments came during the final caution of the event, but that wasn’t enough to help Gaughan regain the lost ground.
When the checkers flew Gaughan was given credit for 17th place, which pushed his top-20 finish streak to eight consecutive races.
“The guys gave me a top 10 or top five Dodge,” said Gaughan after the race. “It’s a shame because it was a great truck and I didn’t do it justice. Apparently I got caught speeding on pit road even though I lost spots to Mark Martin. I don’t know, go figure.
“It was just a long night. The boys worked hard for me. Rambo even gave us one last chance with a late stop. We came in and took tires just to see what we could do. We got back to exactly where we were but we probably would have lost spots if we hadn’t done that. So there were great decisions by Rambo and great stops by the boys. All the guys did an excellent job tonight giving me a Dodge that could run.”