Brendan Gaughan loves nothing more than racing in his beloved hometown of Las Vegas but unfortunately for the Jasper Engines and Transmissions team they got caught in the middle of someone else’s mess and their night was over almost before it began.
Armed with a brand new race truck, Gaughan posted the 15th fastest lap in the first practice session and seemed to be on track to compete for his 2nd victory on his home turf.
It wasn’t long after that when fate turned a cold shoulder on Las Vegas’ favorite son.
A broken pushrod forced Gaughan from final practice session altogether while his team feverishly worked to install a fresh power plant under the hood of the No. 77 Dodge.
With that mission accomplished Gaughan qualified 12th fastest for what would have been his third highest start of the season if not for the fact that he was sent to the rear of the field for the engine change.
Always the optimist, Gaughan vowed to come from behind and give the home crowd something to cheer about.
When the green flag dropped he was up on the wheel and by the time the first lap was complete he had charged from 36th to 25th in the running order.
Shortly after he crossed the start/finish line for the first time there was a two-truck collision on the frontstretch and before he knew it Gaughan had nowhere to go.
In the blink of an eye, the No. 77 Dodge sustained severe damage to the left front fender.
The Jasper pit crew fixed the visible damage with two quick trips to pit road but as soon as the race went back to green it became apparent that the damage was more than just skin deep.
When the engine began to sputter, Gaughan had no choice but to return to his pit stall where it was quickly determined that the condition was terminal – a result of the hard hit taken on the track.
Despite their own misfortune, the entire Jasper team -- including Gaughan -- gathered in the Orleans Racing pit stall to enthusiastically cheer on their teammate Steve Park.
“It’s extremely disappointing but that’s racing,” said Gaughan who was relegated to a 35th place finish. “If it was easy or if you were going to be allowed to win every time you hit your hometown then what would we all do it for? I don’t know what happened. Just a couple of guys getting a little froggy in the early laps, I guess, and it collected a brand new No. 77 truck that had already passed something like eight or nine trucks in a lap.
“We think we’ve figured our speedway stuff.”
Gaughan then added, “The guys worked hard and our thoughts and prayers are with two of our main guys – Charlie and Lance Wilson (who were called home earlier in the day due to a medical emergency). We’d of liked to get Steve a win for them. We wanted to get a “W” for Charlie and Lance but we’re going to keep those two boys in our thoughts and prayers.”