Gaughan Credits Crew Chief for Eighth-Place Finish at Atlanta
Perseverance paid off for Brendan Gaughan and his South Point Racing team at Atlanta on Saturday afternoon as the team brought home an eighth-place finish in the Easy Care 200 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) race.
"We battled all day,” Gaughan said after the race. “Bryan Berry (crew chief) threw the kitchen sink at the No. 77 Chevrolet this morning when we pulled into the race track. I'm not going to say all the things he changed just because I don't think anybody would believe us, but it paid off big time. Byran Berry is just one of my heroes tonight.”
Not happy with his truck in Friday’s two practices, Gaughan complained of having no front grip and his truck being too loose. Changes throughout the practice didn’t seem to help, so Berry and the South Point team went to work on Saturday practically “rebuilding the truck” for the race.
“Bryan said that he could leave the truck alone and hope that it would get better, but we didn’t have any adjustment in that truck,” Gaughan said. “But Bryan isn’t one to just sit back. He changed everything to give me a truck that I could race with – it was a completely different feel than from practice.
“So, our Chevy comes home in one piece and we saved our better one for Texas . If eighth was the one that wasn't as good, I'm looking forward to Texas .”
Gaughan started the day in 23rd-spot.
By NASCAR’s mandatory caution at Lap 30, Gaughan had moved into the 18th-spot on the race track. He told his crew that the truck was still loose and didn’t have the front grip that he liked, but that it was better than Friday.
Gaughan’s crew went to work on the truck under the caution – making a track bar and air pressure adjustment, changing four tires and adding fuel. Gaughan restarted in 18th spot.
Just eight laps later, Gaughan narrowly avoided being caught up in a three truck wreck, which he was able to split as he drove into turn one. Since Gaughan drove through debris, the team elected to bring him back down pit road for four more tires another air pressure adjustment and fuel.
Gaughan returned to the track in 21st place, and began his march to the front. By the time the caution waved at Lap 79, Gaughan was in 13th place.
The team brought Gaughan down pit road under caution for right side tires and fuel. What should have been a quick stop though was slowed by problems with the No. 27 truck, which was in front of Gaughan.
“The battle we had on pit road was a struggle because we had to get in and out of the pits with guys on the lead lap in the wrong order, too,” Gaughan said. “We had the guy that we had to pull around always in front of us on the race track and the guy that we had to pull out around was behind us.
“It makes for a real difficult night on pit road for the boys. I ended up clipping a guy on the 27 team - he was OK -smart guys on that 27 team. We were able to make it out but I knocked the tire out of his hand.”
Despite the pit road problems, Gaughan returned to the track in 13th spot. Again, Gaughan was able to pass trucks a head of him and moved into 11th-place by the time the yellow flag waved at Lap 105.
Under the caution, Gaughan said the two tire change had make his truck a little tighter, so it was more difficult to pass. He came back down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. Another pit road issue forced Gaughan to restart in 17th-place with just 20 laps remaining.
With little time left in the race, Gaughan went to work on the field, using his high line to pass the trucks in front of him. By the time the checkered flag waved, Gaughan had his seventh top-10 of the season with an eighth-place finish.
"With the way yesterday went, I'm extremely surprised,” Gaughan said. “I was hoping just to do a war of attrition, stay on the lead lap and finish in the top 15, and get out of here smiling on that. With how hard Bryan Berry works and how hard these guys work to try anything. Bryan did 10 different things, and they worked. In the end, I think we probably had a top-five truck, but we just couldn’t get up there.
“I love these guys, and this team – they will not give up. I’m really looking forward to Texas , now.”