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Gaughan places 34th after leading

By James Johnson
Staff writer

(August 16, 2004) WATKINS GLEN Brendan Gaughan was among a handful of Nextel Cup Series drivers to play the fuel mileage game Sunday.

While Casey Mears was rewarded with a career-best fourth-place finish behind winner Tony Stewart, Gaughan's gamble never played out after he pitted on lap 57.

He went off course twice and finished 34th after the transmission in his No. 77 Dodge failed on lap 74.

The Penske-Jasper team's fuel strategy resulted in Gaughan's inheritance of the lead, which he kept from laps 61 through 67. It was the third time this season that Gaughan earned five bonus points for leading a race.

Gaughan was in front for a lap at California Speedway and for 13 circuits in Michigan. He is 29th in the series points standings, fourth-best among six rookies.

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