By Colleen Marie Lynch
Brendan Gaughan started the Auto Club 500 in the 5th position. His best ever cup starting position. On lap 3,
he moves up into the 4th position after Scott Riggs drops back. Brendan's teammate Ryan Newman passes him on
lap 4, moving him back to the 5th position. Brendan slid back in the next few laps to the 7th position after Jeff
Gordon and Jimmie Johnson pass him.
The first caution came out on lap 22 for Stanton Barrett. Barrett's car was really loose, and when he went to correct
it, the car took a sharp right into the wall. It hit hard and Stanton would have to be taken to the hospital.
He was awake and alert before leaving.
On the lap 31 restart, Brendan was in the 9 position. Kasey Kahne led the race. Brendan would slide back 6 positions
in the next few laps after Terry Labonte, Harvick, Sadler, Martin, Busch and Mayfield all managed to pass him.
Caution 2 came out on lap 51 when Todd Bodine's engine blew up, spewing oil all over the track. Leader Kasey Kahne
got into the oil, but managed to just brush the outside wall.
Brendan was 11th on the lap 56 restart with Matt Kenseth leading. Caution 3 came only 2 laps later when Kurt Busch
got too high trying to pass an off the pass Jeff Green. Kurt skimmed the wall and spun, taking Rusty Wallace out
with him. Wallace got most of the damage. Some debris got into Michael Waltrip's grill which caused him to go 4
laps down with radiator damage.
On the lap 63 restart, Brendan was in the 12th position. Due to the slick surface conditions, Ward Burton spun his
tires sending him into the infield grass. He managed to get restarted and no caution was called.
Brendan spent the next laps battling for position with Terry Labonte and Ryan Newman. On lap 67, Biffle took the lead
from Jeff Gordon. Brendan takes it three wide on lap 69 passing Sadler for the 12th position.
Brendan's speed of 170.7330 on lap 72 is not fast enough for Elliott Sadler and Mark Martin's cars, and they pass him.
Gaughan would spend the next laps battling for position with Jamie McMurray, Bobby Labonte and Casey Mears, leaving him
in the 17th position when caution 3 comes out on lap 91 for debris. Kurt Busch scuffed the wall again dropping
Greg Biffle's car cannot get going on the lap 98 restart, while Brendan takes off from the 15th position. Over the
next few laps, Brendan moved into the 12th position after passing Jamie McMurray, Greg Biffle and Casey Mears. Jimmie
Johnson takes over the lead on lap 106.
Gaughan moved into the top ten on lap 120 after passing Elliott Sadler. He moved into 9th after passing Terry
Labonte on lap 122, but moved back into the 10th position after Bobby Labonte passed him on lap 124. However, he would
pass Bobby on lap 136.
Lap 140 brought out the next caution for debris, and the leaders all pit. Brendan restarts in 6th position on
lap 146 with Jeff Gordon leading. After passing Newman on lap 148, Brendan moves into the 5th position.
Caution 6 comes out on lap 149 after the 43 is smoking. On lap 159, Brendan looses some positions on the back straightaway,
but he moves into 4th on lap 160.
Brendan lost the hose that cools his helmet. When he went to look for it under yellow, crew chief Shane Wilson
told him to look on the right side. Due to the rate he was going, that's where everything would be.
With 87 laps to go, Brendan is in 2nd place right on Jimmie Johnson's rear fender. Darrell Waltrip makes a comment
that due to Brendan's hyperness, he should get along great with Rusty Wallace.
Kasey Kahne gets around both Brendan and Jimmie on lap 166 moving Brendan into 4th. On lap 168, Kasey Kahne takes
the lead while Brendan is the fastest car on track. Brendan passes Jimmie for 3rd on lap 170. The 77 car is running
hot at 250 degrees. They find that the right side grill has paper on it.
Jeff Gordon takes the lead on lap 193 while Brendan is 5.213 seconds behind him in third.
Brendan leads lap 199 before pitting for a scheduled green flag pit stop. This is the first lap he has led in
a Cup race! He gets four tires and an air pressure adjustment in his 15.6 second stop. Ryan Newman picks up
When the green flag pits stop cycling, Brendan is in the 6th position while Jeff Gordon leads. Gaughan says that
he is tight off the corners. Roger Penske tells him different lines he can run to improve tight conditions.
Ryan Newman and Matt Kenseth battle Brendan for position on lap 239. On lap 240, Ryan gets his nose under Brendan, then bounces off the
77's rear fender. After going three wide, both Ryan and Matt Kenseth pass Brendan. Brendan is in the 8th
position with 4 to go.
With two laps to go, Joe Nemecheck runs out of fuel. Bobby Labonte, Kasey Kahne and Jeremy Mayfield also run
out of gas on the last lap.
Jeff Gordon gets to the checkered flag first, and Brendan Gaughan finishes in the 6th position. This is his best
Cup finish. He is the highest finishing rookie and he led his first lap. A great day for Brendan and the Kodak team!