Cut Tire Dashes Gaughan's Shot at Top Five Night in Kentucky
It looked as if Brendan Gaughan and the South Point Racing team were well on their way to a top-five finish in the Built Ford Tough 225 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night.
However, with just 35 laps remaining in the race, Gaughan cut a left front tire and was forced to bring his Chevrolet Silverado down pit road – ending his bid for a top-five finish.
“We were a second-place truck – third-place truck at worst – tonight and we got bit by bad luck again,” Gaughan said. “Everybody keeps telling me when our luck changes, it will really turn to good for us. Right now, it better be a flood gate when it does turn to good.
“We had everybody on that track covered except Mike Skinner. Travis Kvapil may have had us – but we were so much better than our finish shows.”
For Gaughan, the weekend was close to perfect prior to his cut tire. His father and team owner, Michael Gaughan, was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Co., on Saturday morning. The No. 77 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Silverado was almost as good as it gets in practice, and the team qualified fifth for the race.
At the drop of the green flag, Gaughan quickly made his way into second-place. He even led Lap 5 before settling back into the second spot behind eventual winner Skinner.
By Lap 25, Gaughan had begun dropping back in the field. He reported to his crew that his truck was too loose. When the caution flag waved at Lap 50, Gaughan was sitting in fifth spot.
He brought his No. 77 South Point Hotel Chevrolet down pit road to the attention of his crew. The team made a track bar adjustment and air pressure adjustment to help Gaughan’s loose condition. They also changed four tires and added fuel.
Gaughan returned to the race track in ninth spot.
However, Gaughan told his crew chief Bryan Berry that the fresh set of tires didn’t seem to help his race truck. Gaughan complained of having no front grip, and he was still snapping loose when he drove out of the turns.
When the caution waved at Lap 95, Gaughan was in eighth spot on the race track. Gaughan needed track position, so the team opted for a two tire pit stop. The pit crew also made a rear shock adjustment and added fuel to the truck.
Gaughan returned to the race track in third spot for the restart, and he was holding his own on the track. At Lap 113, Gaughan was battling for the third spot on the track, when Gaughan radioed that he had a problem – a flat left front.
By the time Gaughan was able to get to pit road, the tire was shredded and he was riding on the rim of his wheel. The pit crew changed left side tires and sent Gaughan back out on the race track to finish the night.
The No. 77 Chevrolet came home in 22nd place.
“This race team is the king of bad luck – what can you say,” Gaughan said. “We really had a great truck here this weekend. We had new guys and guys in new positions on pit road and they did a great job tonight. The boys in the race shop did everything we could ask of them to give us a solid truck. When we got to the track, we unloaded great. There wasn’t one problem with it, and that just shows how good this team can be when have our ducks in row from the get go.
“This team has done a great job of using Chevrolet’s engineering, and we are really grateful for how they have helped us this year. We just want to get those results on the track – and we should have tonight had it not been for the flat.
"I believe this team is much better than what our results have shown – and tonight, we just have to look at how good we were running because we know we had a good Chevrolet.”