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Gaughan Finishes 13th At Phoenix, Locked In Battle For 10th Place In Points

Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team finished 13th at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night and moved closer to scoring a top-10 finish in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) championship points standings.

Gaughan is now just 14 points out of 10th spot in the NCTS drivers standings with one race remaining in the 2007 season.

At Phoenix , Gaughan qualified his No. 77 South Point Chevrolet Silverado in 24th-place. Starting deep in the pack did not deter Gaughan’s determination. He slowly, but steadily began working his way through the field.

By Lap 35, Gaughan had picked up 10 spots and was in 14th-place when the caution flag waved. Gaughan told his pit crew that his truck was still a little too loose entering turn one and exiting turn four. He also said that he needed more front grip.

Gaughan pitted for four tires and fuel. The team also made an air pressure adjustment and went two rounds down on the track bar to help Gaughan’s handling problems. The No. 77 Chevrolet returned to the track in 20th spot.

Again, Gaughan went to work, cautiously picking up spots on the race track. By Lap 70, Gaughan had moved into the top 10 on the race track.

The team elected to pit under caution at Lap 70 for two right side tires, fuel and another track bar adjustment to help Gaughan’s continuing loose-handling condition.

Following a quick pit stop, Gaughan told crew chief Bryan Berry that he was excited about the call for a two-tire stop, which would help the team with track position. Gaughan returned to the race track in 10th-place.

Early into the run though, Gaughan told his crew that the truck was tighter on two tires than it had been in previous runs. Although the truck was getting tighter, Gaughan said he would be able to ride it out on the track.

However, the tight condition made it difficult for Gaughan to turn the truck and pick up the positions that he had been able to seamlessly get earlier in the race.

Gaughan ended up finishing 13th.

“It was a decent run for the South Point Casino Chevy tonight,” Gaughan said after the race. “We tried a two tire stop there at the end, and it made us a little too unbalanced. If we would have taken four tires we probably would have finished sixth or seventh, but Bryan Berry and I don't come here any more to finish sixth or seventh - we want wins.

“Our tire strategy was something I was excited about, but it just ended up making us too unbalanced. But it was a great points night for us. We’re close to getting another Chevrolet in the top 10 in points – and that’s what this is about – getting out Chevy Silverado in the top 10 and helping Ron Hornaday to win this championship.

“We have one more race to get it done, and this South Point team is excited about getting to Homestead . We finished second there last year, and we want to do one better than that this time around.”

© 2007 Cyber Speed Design