Bristol Motor SPEEDWAY
AUGUST 28, 2004
BRISTOL, TN (Aug. 28, 2004) - Bristol Motor Speedway took a bite out of the No. 77 Kodak/Jasper Racing team this weekend as the NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series made its second stop at the half-mile track this season. Brendan Gaughan finished the Sharpie 500 187 laps down in the 35th position after an incident on lap 88 sent the gold No. 77 to the garage, or infield at Bristol, for repairs.
Gaughan started the event from the 17th position in what looked like a new car. After hitting the wall during his second qualifying lap, Gaughan's machine needed repairs to the flattened right side. Fortunately for the No 77 team, extra help was available as Jeffrey Baker, the head of Penske Racing South's fabrication department, along with Earl Adams, another fabricator from PRS, were in Bristol for the day's events. Baker assisted the team in assessing the damage and then went to work while Shane Wilson called in more assistance from the body shop at Penske-Jasper Racing. After a brief stop at his home to pack an overnight bag, Cesar Bustos headed to
Bristol to bondo and paint the car in preparation for the race.
After taking the green flag, Gaughan told his team the car's handling was tight heading into the turns and discussions for pit strategy began. On the team's first stop, Gaughan received track bar and wedge adjustments to free up the car, along with four tires and fuel. With concerns for the heat at Thunder Valley and the rising temperatures in the car, tape was removed from the grill as well.
Gaughan was posted in the 23rd position for a restart on lap 88, but his competitive edge would end there. After taking the green flag, another competitor appeared to have missed a gear and the field stacked up behind him. Gaughan hit his brakes but made contact with another competitor, who also was taking evasive action. Gaughan was then hit hard from behind, which
sent him into the inside retaining wall, causing the majority of the damage.
Gaughan took his obligatory ride in the ambulance to visit the infield care center and was released free of injury shortly after being examined. He returned to the garage where repairs to his Penske-Jasper powered machine were under way. The team cut away the damaged front end
and taped up the jagged sheet metal around the tire areas. The team then welded the framework of the chassis back together on the car's right side, taking the time to make sure it was repaired safely. A housing unit for the radiator was put in place and the radiator was then installed.
Gaughan returned to the track on lap 251. Since aerodynamics are not a factor at the 0.533-mile track, Gaughan's lap times were fast enough to remain in competition.
Following the event, Gaughan praised the team and the work the crew had done throughout the weekend.
"Bristol has been rough for us this time," Gaughan said. "This team is better than our finish, but we brought on our own luck this time. Our pit stop on lap 58 was a little slow and that is what put us back there to begin with. Not to mention my qualifying run."
The NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series returns to action at California Speedway on