After two consecutive finishes of 24th or worse, a race on a fast, mile-and-a-half speedway was exactly what the doctor ordered for Brendan Gaughan and the Jasper Engines & Transmissions team.
Despite handling issues that never really allowed Gaughan to mix it up properly with the leaders, the No. 77 Dodge stayed on track and carried him to a 15th place finish. It was his 11th top-15 performance of the season and his best since the race at New Hampshire International Speedway in mid-September.
The loose condition that produced a 31st place qualifying effort persisted through the first half of the race but Gaughan still managed to move forward and into the top 20.
Pit stop adjustments tightened the No. 77 Jasper Dodge back up but in the late stages of the race Gaughan experienced a whole different problem. As the laps wound down, Gaughan noticed that his front wheels were chattering but of course there would be no time to fix the situation so he would just have to deal.
Gaughan’s most spectacular moves of the race came on the final lap on the frontstretch when the drivers running at the front of the field crashed as they headed for the checkered flag.
The crash sent up a smoke screen and with trucks spinning wildly across the track it seemed impossible to navigate through safely. When the smoke cleared, however, Gaughan’s Dodge had emerged unscathed and was scored in 15th place.
“That wasn’t the finish we were looking for here at Atlanta,” said driver Brendan Gaughan. “The truck was loose then we couldn’t get the front end planted. It was a handful all day.
“The good thing is that Rambo and the boys kept digging for me all day,” Gaughan added. “The calls in the pits and the stops helped us get up there. We just wished we’d of had a little more for them.”