Energized by an eighth place finish at Lowe's Motor Speedway, Brendan Gaughan headed to Dover International Speedway determined to tame ‘The Monster Mile’.
In fact, Gaughan was so confident going into the eighth race of the season that he decided to make a fashion statement as well and arrived trackside with his long, dark hair braided in cornrows.
"You don't show up with hair like this and expect not to run well," Gaughan noted.
And run well he definitely did.
From the moment the green flag dropped, Gaughan made forward progress through the field and by the time 30 laps were in the books he had gained 12 positions from his 25th place starting spot.
With Ron Hornaday setting a scorching pace at the midway point of the race, Gaughan fell a lap behind but he held his position and caught the free “Lucky Dog” pass when the seventh caution flag flew on Lap 147.
Back in business, Gaughan raced all the way up to seventh in the running order with the leaders finally in sight.
Unfortunately, that was as far as he would get.
With eight laps to go, Gaughan was racing Dennis Setzer for sixth when Setzer lost control of his truck and pinched the Jasper Engines & Transmissions Dodge into the outside wall.
A flat, front tire after the final restart forced Gaughan to pit road for fresh rubber and when the checkers flew he was ranked 16th in running order.
"That was fantastic," Gaughan said. "We had a Dodge that we felt could win coming to this race. We got in a wreck with Dennis Setzer and the good thing about that is you know if you get in a wreck with Setzer it's a racing deal. He got crossed up. I saw an opening. I got to the outside of him, and he tried to close the door and I was already there. I was at his wheel, and that's why he turned in front of me. It hurt the Jasper team.
“We had a truck that could win today,” Gaughan glowed. “We battled track position, got our lap back and we were headed for a top five."
Now that The Monster has been dealt with, Gaughan eagerly sets his sights on next weekend's event at Texas Motor Speedway where the Las Vegas native will be going for an unprecedented fifth consecutive victory.
Notes of Interest from Dover
A little Help From Friends!
In the week prior to the Dover event Gaughan took the opportunity to hang out with a few chums from his days at Georgetown University. The week was spent reminiscing and shooting hoops with old pals --- oh, and getting his hair done in “cornrows”.
When Gaughan headed to Dover he asked several of his pals to come along for the ride of a Craftsman Truck weekend --- an offer taken up by three. Those who joined Gaughan were Georgetown basketball heavies, Victor Page and Daymond Jackson and Georgetown football player, Guy Interdonato.
Gaughan, wanting to ensure the most bang for his friends’ buck, enlisted Jackson and Page as crewmembers of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions team. Page handled the pit board while Jackson handed full fuel cans over the wall to team fueler, Scott Witz.
Both former Georgetown men performed flawlessly, and were looking forward to their next opportunity to work with the Jasper Engines NCTS team in the future.
Got His Shot.
Calvin Gravely, team member of the #77 Jasper Engines and Transmissions Dodge team, has been training for his next big step with the team, that in the role of jackman for Gaughan’s Dodge. The effort paid off for Gravely when at Dover he worked his first race in the spot he’s worked so hard to obtain.
In his first outing Gravely made it appear as though he had many more years of experience than he did --- and for the most part performed flawlessly in the new job.
After the race Gravely admitted there were a few butterflies in his stomach when he leapt off the wall the first time --- but that they dissipated as the race wore on.