Truck Series regular Brendan Gaughan, who relieved Mike Bliss in the NetZero Best Buy Chevrolet early on in the Pocono 500, drove the No. 0 Chevrolet to a 35th-place finish in Sunday s event at Pocono (Penn.) Raceway.
An accident early in the event resulted in front end damage to the Chevy and the team was forced to spend several laps on pit road replacing the radiator.
Gaughan, who competed in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series event at Texas Motor Speedway Friday night, was in Pocono to assist Bliss, who had hernia surgery Monday morning. Gaughan was in the car during the first practice on Friday, flew to Texas and then took over for Bliss on raceday.
Bliss was the 34th of 46 hopefuls scheduled to make his qualifying run around the 2.5 -mile oval Saturday afternoon. His speed of 166.960 miles per hour during his one-lap run was quick enough to earn the team ninth place on the starting grid. The green flag flew for the start of the event and during the first caution period, which came on lap 30 of the 200-lap event, Bliss reluctantly gave up his seat in the NetZero Best Buy Chevrolet to Gaughan. The team was able to make the change without losing a lap and Gaughan restarted in 38th place. Gaughan had maneuvered his way into the Top 35 before trouble arose. On Lap 44, several cars got together in front of him and, unable to slow down quickly enough, Gaughan made contact with the car driven by Kyle Petty, which caused front end damage to the No. 0 machine. Gaughan drove the car down pit road and the team soon became aware that the radiator had been damaged in the altercation. The team went to work to change the radiator, but went six laps down in the process. Gaughan returned to the track in the 39th spot.
Gaughan experienced a tight handling car following the incident and crew chief Bootie Barker called for a track bar adjustment to alleviate the problem. Gaughan and the team continued to make changes to the car, which he was pleased with by the midpoint of the race. Gaughan was able to pick up several places during the remainder of the event and took the checkered flag in 35th place.
I hate it that we got involved in that accident, said Gaughan following the event. This is a great race team and this NetZero Best Buy Chevrolet was going to be really good. That Hendrick Engine was incredible. I m glad I got the opportunity to help this team out and I can tell you this, Mike Bliss is going to win one of these races this year with this team. I wish we could have had a better result, but it was a lot of fun racing here this weekend.