Gaughan Brings Home Top-10 Finish At Indianapolis
Brendan Gaughan battled his way through the field at O’Reilly Raceway Park on a soggy Friday night to score his fourth top-10 finish of the 2007 season.
"It was a solid night for the South Point Chevrolet team,” Gaughan said. “It wasn't perfect, but it was a good night and with the luck we have been having recently, we'll take it. Kelly Sutton sent us a monkey this weekend that she had used in the past, and I think it helped us tonight.”
The South Point Chevrolet was stout in the day’s two practices – finishing as high as third, but rain scrapped qualifying for the trucks earlier on Friday afternoon. With qualifying being rained out, a disappointed Gaughan was forced to start the race in 19th-place.
“I really wanted to qualify because I knew we had a good truck,” Gaughan said. “The rain hurt us today.
"It was a track position battle all night, and we just couldn't get it,” Gaughan added. “We had a great truck in practice and qualifying was rained out, so we had to start pretty far back.
“We worked our way up close to 10th and then we struggled on our pit stop and we had to do it all over again. I think we got as high up as ninth tonight in some great NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series side-by-side battles.”
With the drop of the green flag, Gaughan quickly went to work to move his way up through the field. Within five laps, Gaughan had picked up six spots and was in 13th-place.
He battled to maintain his position and at the first caution at Lap 31, Gaughan took the opportunity to tell crew chief Bryan Berry that the truck was too tight in the center.
The tight condition was preventing Gaughan from putting his South Point Chevrolet in the position to gain more spots on the race track.
Berry assured Gaughan that the team would work on the truck as soon as they could to help improve the handling.
As the laps ticked off the board, Gaughan’s truck continued to get tighter and he fell to the 16th-spot.
When the third caution flew at Lap 77, it was the perfect opportunity for the South Point Racing team to work on the Chevrolet Silverado. The pit crew made air pressure and track adjustments, changed four tires and added fuel.
Difficulties on the pit stop dropped Gaughan to 21st spot for the restart.
“Having to work my way back through the field hurt us,” Gaughan said. “I used up my equipment too fast trying to gain track position.”
Mired in traffic, Gaughan again worked quickly to pick up some of the spots that had been lost. In just two laps, Gaughan gained three spots and was sitting in 18th-place at Lap 85.
As cautions flew over the course of the race, Gaughan was able to gain spots as other teams pitted and with his solid restarts. By Lap 129, Gaughan had broken into the top 10 for the first time of the night. Despite holding his spot in the top 10, Gaughan told Berry and his crew that he still was battling a tight condition.
Gaughan told his crew that the truck was really good for the first few laps of the run before getting too tight. But the handling problems were not going to keep Gaughan from showing the solid race truck he had.
Gaughan battled for 10th spot. He traded the 10th and 11th positions several times in the closing laps – before finally claiming 10th-place it on the final restart of the race – a green, white, checkered finish.
"With the struggles this team has had luck wise, I'm happy with a 10th-place tonight. I think we all are, but we want more than that,” Gaughan said. “I've told the guys that this is the best short track truck I have ever had. It is a great Chevrolet Silverado. We didn't tear it up tonight, so we can go and make it better instead of having to put it back together.
“Hopefully, this will bring us some momentum and help us to change our luck.”
The top-10 finish boosted Gaughan one spot in drivers’ points to 14th-place, just 121 points out of 10th spot.
The South Point Racing team will return to action on Aug. 11 at Nashville Superspeedway.