No 77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge to Roll Off 31st at Pocono Raceway
Pocono, PA (June 11, 2004) – Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 77 Kodak EasyShare Dodge, secured the 31st starting position for the Pocono 500.
Gaughan was the second driver of 45 entrants to make his attempt in front of the Pocono Raceway crowd. His lap time, 53.318 seconds, was five-tenths of a second faster than his practice speeds earlier in the day.
After turning the 35th fastest practice time, Shane Wilson huddled with the No. 77 Penske-Jasper Racing crew to decide what changes were necessary for the qualifying effort. After a brief session, decisions were made and corresponding changes were completed.
Gaughan was not thrilled with his lap time. However, he realizes the team did not come to the Pocono Mountains to qualify, so he is looking forward to the competition on Sunday.
To prepare for the 14th event of the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series’ season, the Kodak Racing team tested at Pocono Raceway on Thursday, June 3. Testing at Pocono was important to the team since Gaughan, a NNCS Raybestos Rookie of the Year contender, has never raced at the facility.
According to Wilson, the team was pleased with their test session, but knew more work was ahead.
“The test at Pocono went well,” Wilson said. “What we have to remember is that a test is just that, a test. We knew coming back up here for the race that the conditions would be a bit different, but we at least had a baseline to work with.”
Gaughan’s first impression of the track during his test session was based on the enormity of the frontstretch. The other thing that amazed Gaughan was the drop of speed in the turns.
“The corners at this track are so different from the other tracks where we race," Gaughan said. "At no other track do we lose 60 plus miles per hour as we head into the turns. That means we have to have a strong transmission to help us gain the speed back as quickly as we lost it.
“This track is amazing. I mean, it is so challenging. We still have some work to do, as a team. I’ve said it before, but I am going to say it again, this Kodak Racing team will not give up. We will figure it out.”
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series will take the green flag at Pocono Raceway on Sunday, June 13, at 1:30 p.m., EDT. The event will air live on FOX beginning with pre-race activities at 1 p.m., E.D.T.