Darlington, S.C…Fast pit stops and smart driving allowed Brendan Gaughan to move his No. 62 NAPA/Orleans Hotel & Casino Dodge up to 7th place in the Craftsman Anniversary 200 before a mechanical problem thwarted his efforts.
"Our NAPA Dodge was really strong," said the young Las Vegas resident. "I think we could have easily finished in 6th or 7th place. This is definitely the most fun track I've driven in a long time. I know a lot of people don't like racing here, but I'm definitely not one of them."
Seated in 16th on the Grid, Gaughan pulled off the startline and took it easy for the opening laps. "I decided to sit back and let things sort themselves out a bit before beginning to move up," he explained. Once things started to settle down, Gaughan began his charge to the front, reeling off competitors one-by-one.
Our Orleans Racing crew did an incredible job of getting me in and out of the pits," continues Gaughan. "We were able to pick up places every time I pitted. They were right on every step of the way."
Running the first 100 plus laps with virtually no problem, Gaughan pitted under a yellow, took on tires and fuel, and got back on the track in 7th. "All of a sudden, my right front tire felt like it was going flat," explains Gaughan. "I wasn't exactly sure what was going on, but I knew we had to make an unscheduled stop."
Pulling in under green, the crew changed the tire and Gaughan pulled back on. "Things still weren't right," he said. "So I pulled back in again. The tire was actually loose and the problem was either a faulty gun or regulator. We aren't sure which."
Running the remaining laps, Gaughan ended the race in 20th. "Naturally we would have rather finished higher. However, we gained a couple of Raybestos Rookie points, putting us just two off the lead. We didn't hurt the truck at all - There is no Darlington stripe on our NAPA Dodge -- and we are in 12th place in the points chase, so I can't really complain. This is only the second event and we are pleased we finished the first two races without much damage. We know our NAPA Dodges are right there and it is only a question of time before we take our first win."