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Loose Wheel Hampers Gaughan's Run at Milwaukee Mile

Brendan Gaughan took the green flag at the Milwaukee Mile for the annual NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series’ race with confidence that his South Point Racing team had another good race truck and an opportunity for another strong run.

The team had unloaded in Milwaukee with a good race truck. Gaughan was pleased with the way the truck turned and its speed on the race track. Although the No. 77 Silverado was starting 21st, Gaughan and company were confident that the truck could get up front during the course of the 200-lap race.

However, a good finish for the No. 77 South Point Hotel Silverado was derailed early in the race when Gaughan radioed in that he was having problems with his right front tire.

Gaughan started the race in 21st and complained of being a little tight in the center of the turns. He was also fighting a loose off condition. The tightness was hurting Gaughan’s ability to move through the field, but he was hanging in the 21st spot waiting for a caution flag so that crew chief Bryan Berry could go to work on the truck.

But at Lap 29, Gaughan radioed his crew that he was having an even bigger problem – he though his right front tire was going flat. Unless there was a quick caution, Gaughan said he had to come down pit road.

At Lap 34, he brought his Silverado to the attention of his South Point pit crew. The crew changed four tires, added fuel and put a half a rubber in the left rear to help Gaughan’s tight condition.

Gaughan returned to the track, now three laps down. After the pit stop, the crew worked to diagnose the root of Gaughan’s problem on the race track. The team found that it was a loose right front wheel which caused Gaughan’s problems.

“We know that the guys torqued the wheels before the race, and that’s what matters to us,” Gaughan said. “It’s just unbelievable that we can unload good with a strong truck each week only to have something happen to us during the race. We have a good run last week, but we can’t put two together – and that’s really frustrating.

“We’re going to go back to the race shop this week and see if we can determine what the root of this problem is so that we don’t have it again. A couple of other drivers came up to me after the race and said that they have had loose wheels in recent weeks, so I think we are going to look at the wheels pretty closely.”

Despite being three laps down, Gaughan and his team were still determined to try and make the best of a bad situation. They stayed focus on the race and played a pit strategy that might help them gain spots if a long green flag run would lead to green flag pit stops for the rest of the field.

However, ill-timed cautions would keep this strategy from playing out.

Gaughan made his best effort on the race track, moving as high as 25th place. But another loose right front wheel would with just seven laps remaining would relegate Gaughan to a 28th-place finish.

“I just have to thank the guys for working hard and for not giving up and for keeping me from giving up tonight,” Gaughan said. “We got bit by bad luck again.

“Our truck was fantastic from the beginning again today. We just didn’t get a chance to show what it could do.”

© 2007 Cyber Speed Design