by Mike Snow - Orleans Racing
Season Best For Gaughan at The Milwaukee Mile
There is no doubt whatsoever that Brendan Gaughan and the Jasper Engines and Transmissions team are thriving under the guidance of crew chief Tony "Rambo" Liberati.
Since joining the team in May, Liberati has rallied the troops back at the shop and commanded the road crew with confidence and authority that comes from years of experience playing the racing game.
Case in point - Friday night's race at the historic Milwaukee Mile where Gaughan scored his best start and finish of the season to date.
Any team will tell you that preparation is the key to success and the No. 77 Dodge was competitive from the moment it rolled off the hauler at The Milwaukee Mile.
Gaughan started fourth, never ran lower than sixth in the running order and took the checkers in fifth to beat his previous season best at Lowe's Motor Speedway by three positions.
The only thing keeping Gaughan from contending for his second consecutive victory at the 1.0-mile track was race winner Dennis Setzer who massacred the field with a blistering pace that left just four trucks running on the lead lap.
Gaughan maintained his position as the first driver one lap down for most of the second half of the event but the lone caution period tied an all time record for the least number of yellow flags thrown in a Craftsman Truck Series race and robbed him of any opportunity to get back on the lead lap.
“Wow, what a weekend,” Gaughan said after the event. “That Jasper Engines Dodge was flying right from the start. And my boys in the pits? They sure looked like a group with more experience than they have --- I’m so proud of them and the stops they did, we never lost a spot on the track with the stops. My boys were flying.
“But talk about flying, wow --- we didn’t have anything for Denis Setzer or Jack Sprague,” Gaughan added. “Those boys were in another zip code after 200 laps --- and you can’t deny their performance.
Gaughan concluded, “Of course we’re not happy with fifth place, but it was a good night in the points and we’re headed in the right direction with runs like these. I’m just real proud of the work my boys did on the Jasper Engines Dodge this week. They made it awfully easy to get behind the wheel and run as hard as I could for 200 laps.”
The Jasper Engines Dodge climbed two spots in the unofficial standings following the Milwaukee 200 --- and sit just 90 markers out of 20th place Gaughan has amassed more points in nine races than three other teams who have run all 11 races run so far in the 2005 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series schedule.