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Seventh Place Start For Brendan Gaughan

No. 77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge to Start in the Top-10 for the Coca-Cola 600

Concord, N.C. (May 27, 2004) – Brendan Gaughan will start the Coca-Cola 600 from the seventh position on Sunday at Lowe’s Motor Speedway at Charlotte. Gaughan believes the weekend can only get better as he moves towards the race.

After making his qualifying run, Gaughan climbed from the No. 77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge and let out a whoop as he greeted his team and the media. All smiles, Gaughan delivered high-fives and hugs to the Penske-Jasper crew members that were on hand and when he turned to the media, it was obvious - the qualifying effort was just what the doctor had ordered.

Gaughan was the sixth of 52 drivers to make his qualifying attempt, directly behind his teammates who were the fourth and fifth qualifiers. After Ryan Newman set the bar, Rusty Wallace made his attempt, and then it was Gaughan’s turn.

Gaughan turned in the 31st fastest lap time during practice and he knew the pressure was on. He strapped into his machine and received the thumbs up, signifying that he could fire his engine and take to the track.

To those watching the NEXTEL Vision, the oversized screens that broadcast track activity, Gaughan’s car appeared to be loose on his first lap, though he picked up six-tenths of a second from his practice speed earlier in the day. On his second green-flag lap, Gaughan rounded the turns and headed for the checkered flag. After picking up another three-tenths and securing what he knew to be a competitive lap time, Gaughan confirmed that the car had been looser than he would have liked. “In fact,” he added, “the car was so loose I couldn’t get back on the throttle the way I had hoped, but I knew the second lap had it.”

For the second time in the 2004 NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series season, Gaughan will start from inside the top 10. Gaughan’s Penske-Jasper-powered teammates, Newman and Wallace will line up in the second and 16th positions, respectively.

Gaughan will join "NASCAR This Morning" host, John Roberts, in-studio, for "NASCAR This Morning" on FOX Sports NET Sunday, May 30, from 11 to 11:20 a.m., EDT. The Coca-Cola 600 will air live, beginning with pre-race activities at 5 p.m., EDT.

from Jasper

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