Brendan Gaughan Post-Race Report - Martinsville
Going into Saturday’s race at Martinsville Speedway, Brendan Gaughan had finished every lap of competition in five Craftsman Truck Series starts there.
It took a heroic effort on the part of driver and pit crew to push that streak to six.
The 200-lap event had just gotten underway when trouble struck the Orleans Racing team between Turns 3 and 4, bringing out the first of a dozen caution flags.
Gaughan had been swept into the multi-truck incident and before he could extricate his truck from the infield mud the field had already gone by trapping him a lap down. A pit stop to check for damage prevented the No. 77 Dodge from doubling up for the restart. It took the leader just 22 laps around the tiny track to put Gaughan down another lap as he ran in 36th place.
On the restart after the third caution, Gaughan did something that is rarely done these days when he passed the leader and earned a lap back the old fashioned way – by taking it. Now just one lap down, Gaughan had to wait his turn until he was eligible to collect the “lucky dog” free pass when the seventh caution flew on Lap 132.
Once he was back on the lead lap Gaughan lined up 25th in the running order. His forward progress was impeded one more time when he made contact with a rookie driver and spun out with less than 50 laps to go. This time, however, the South Point Dodge was unharmed and stayed on the track.
When the checkers finally flew Gaughan was given credit for a 19th place finish, collecting his sixth consecutive lead lap finish at Martinsville.
“That is definitely the hardest I’ve ever had to work for a 19th place finish,” said the exhausted driver after the 200-lap event. “The Orleans Racing team gave me a fantastic race truck. There was nothing wrong with our Dodge today.
“Lap 1 started a rookie barrage of chops. I think the rookies have seen on television the highlight of somebody chopping down on somebody. What they don’t realize is that chopping down on somebody causes a spin out. They get to the left rear quarter panel and either they’ve got bad spotters or they just keep on cutting down when there’s somebody there. It happened to us on Lap 1 and put us two laps down.
“The team did a fantastic job,” Gaughan added. “We got out in front of Ted Musgrave on a restart to earn back one of our laps. Our gear and transmission shop uses different lower gears than most people. We beat him on the restart and got in front of him and we had a good enough Dodge to stay in front of him.
“We know we had a great truck. We just got down two laps. We got one back and then we had to fight for the free pass. The boys had two fantastic pit stops where we came in from the back of the field and beat the pace car out both times. That’s Cup Series level service right there. If you can come to pit road at Martinsville, change four tires and beat the pace car out, that’s good stuff.”