Gaughan, South Point Racing Salvage 12th-Place Finish In Nashville
What could have been a bad night for Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team actually finished on a high note as the No. 77 Chevrolet Silverado scored a 12th place finish at Nashville Superspeedway on Saturday night.
The finish was a total team effort as the South Point pit crew didn’t give up on adjusting the race truck and the and Gaughan drove hard every lap and didn’t quit when the track position was less than desirable.
"I'm going to find the silver lining this week,” Gaughan said. “We came from a long way back. We created our bad luck we had this weekend with the wreck in practice, but we made our good luck to get it back and finish 12th tonight. This seems like the first week in a long time that I haven’t been talking about how bad luck got us, and that’s a good thing.”
Gaughan’s weekend got off to a rough start, so he was already a little behind before qualifying on Saturday afternoon at Nashville . The team had never gotten to make a qualifying run in practice due to an incident on the race track that cost the team that last half of final practice.
Not knowing what his truck would do, Gaughan qualified 19th for the Toyota 200, which was further back than he had hoped.
Unfortunately for Gaughan and the South Point Racing team, the start of the race didn’t get much better. By Lap 10, Gaughan had fallen to 28th spot and was battling to stay on the lead lap. Gaughan told his crew chief Bryan Berry that his Silverado was “too tight through the center of the corners and everywhere.”
By Lap 30, the ill-handling truck had cost Gaughan. He went down one lap to the leaders.
The South Point Racing team finally got a much needed caution at Lap 41 so that the team would be able to work on the race truck. Gaughan told his crew chief that he didn’t have any grip and that the truck wouldn’t turn despite trying multiple grooves.
Gaughan brought his race truck to the attention of his pit crew – they changed four tires, added fuel, and completed an air pressure adjustment, a track bar adjustment and a right front shock adjustment.
Gaughan restarted in 28th spot. But at the drop of the green flag, he made quick work to move into the 27th position so that he would be the first truck one lap down.
A quick caution flag at Lap 52 meant Gaughan was the “Lucky Dog” and he would get his lap back. Gaughan told his crew under the caution that he still needed more grip.
He came back down under the caution for a second track bar adjustment, an adjustment to the left front shock and fuel.
Now back on the same lap at the leaders, Gaughan was ready to restart in 27th spot.
The caution flag waved again at Lap 60, and Gaughan was posted in 25th place. Although the team opted not to pit under the caution, Gaughan told Berry that his truck felt like it had no grip which meant he couldn’t drive it the way he wanted too.
As teams pitted in front of him, Gaughan was ready to restart at Lap 67 in 22nd place. By Lap 75, Gaughan moved into the top 20. Again, he was battling to maintain his spot on the lead lap.
At Lap 108, Gaughan fell one lap down to the leaders. Again however, Gaughan was named the “Lucky Dog” when the caution waved at Lap 109, so he was put back on the lead lap with the leaders.
Gaughan told Berry under the caution period that his Silverado had finally started exiting the turns a little better, but that he was still too tight on entry. The team came down pit road for four tires, fuel, and an air pressure adjustment. They also removed two rubbers from the left rear spring.
Now back on the lead lap, Gaughan restarted in 19th place at Lap 114.
With his work cut out for him on the track, Gaughan stealthily and patiently chased down the trucks in front of him gaining seven spots in the closing laps of the race to finish 12th.
“Our South Point Chevrolet Silverado wasn't as good as we have been lately,” Gaughan said. “The past five races we have been consistent but we have had bad luck. It was an off day for us, but when you are trying to get back on top and working on consistency to get back on top - sometimes you have the off days.
“Although our Silverado was off, it was a fantastic day for the pit crew and Bryan. Since Bryan has come to work with South Point Racing as my crew chief, I have never seen anybody do with adjustments what he can do. He took what started out as a 30th place truck and turned it in to almost a top 10. The guys on pit road really earned their money today. They made a ton of adjustments to the shocks and springs and they had their hands full. It was a pretty tough night for them, but they did a great job, and I am proud of them. When we have a truck start a top five or top 10, I know that Bryan can adjust me to a win."