Brendan Gaughan emerged from the MBNA America 400 at Dover International Speedway as the top finishing Raybestos Rookie, finishing 22nd after struggling with poor handling conditions on his Kodak Easy Share/Jasper Dodge throughout the race.
After another frustrating event for the Kodak/Jasper Racing team, Shane Wilson is focusing on the remaining eight NASCAR NEXTEL Cup Series events for the 2004 season.
While not satisfied with its starting position, the Kodak/Jasper Racing team focused on the event ahead. Under sunny skies, the field took the green flag and shortly thereafter, Gaughan told crew chief Shane Wilson the car was tight heading into the turns and exiting them. Wilson instructed the team to perform a chassis adjustment during the first pit stop when Gaughan came down pit road for four fresh tires and fuel.
Following the changes, which occurred during a caution period, Gaughan said his machine was loose on the restart. He said it remained that way for a while but tightened up towards the end of the run. While Gaughan struggled on the track, Wilson struggled in the pits, trying to decide what changes would best help his driver.
With multiple chassis adjustments throughout the day and no change to the car’s handling, the team’s frustration increased.
“The way the car was handling, we had to keep chasing it all day,” Gaughan said. “There was never a point when we were in position to help our teammates, and more importantly, I was too far back to appreciate being the top-finishing rookie.”
Wilson echoed his driver’s comments about being top rookie. “We chased it all day and it never got any better,” Wilson said. “It is kind of hard to appreciate being the top finishing rookie team when our car was four laps down [to the leaders]. We have struggled this year, it's no secret. Right now, we have eight events left and we need better finishes.”
Gaughan and the Kodak/Jasper Racing team are testing at Kansas Speedway Tuesday and Wednesday, September 28-29.