Brendan Gaughan says he’s not a big fan of racing on the short tracks but you’d never know if after watching his performance under the lights at Richmond International Raceway.
There were 45 drivers vying for 36 spots in the Craftsman Truck Series’ final race at the 0.75-mile speedway and the competition was so stiff that even the likes of former Cup Series Champion Tony Stewart couldn’t make the field.
Gaughan was so strong that he was able to pass nearly two-thirds of that field after taking the green flag from 33rd on the starting grid.
The twelve caution flags over the course of the race set a record for Richmond but is was the final two that nearly spelled disaster for Gaughan and the Jasper Engines and Transmissions team.
When Terry Cook found the outside wall with seven laps to go Gaughan had to take the No. 77 Dodge to the apron to avoid a collision that could have well have ended his night with disappointment.
On the restart following that impressive save, pole winner David Starr crashed and Gaughan had to bob and weave his way through the accident site but again he emerged unscathed.
When the checkers finally flew Gaughan had earned an 11th place finish – a net gain of 22 positions from where he started. It marked the No. 77 team’s seventh finish of 11th or better in the last nine races. Over that same span Gaughan has climbed from 25th to 18th in the overall owner point standings.