By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Writer
CONCORD, N.C. – As the NASCAR Xfinity Series entered Charlotte Motor Speedway, Brendan Gaughan looked to turn around what so far, has been a miserable season. Since finishing fifth in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, Gaughan has had six finishes 27th or worse.
Off the truck Gaughan and his Richard Childress Racing team struggled to find speed. His No. 62 South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro was 31st on the speed charts in the first practice. In the final practice, the Shane Wilson-led team moved up to to 18th on the charts. Gaughan ended up 17th on the starting grid for the Hisense 4K TV 300.
As the race began, passing deep in the field proved to be at a premium. Despite three cautions in Stage 1, Gaughan finished the stage where he started, in 17th.
Stage 2 proved to be slightly better as Gaughan moved up to the 14th position in the caution-free stage.
The third and final stage seemed that it would be quiet for the Las Vegas-native. Gaughan picked his way to the edge of the Top 10 as the laps wound down.
On lap 172 of the 200-lap race, Gaughan’s Chevrolet broke loose in turn four, sending him spinning onto pit road. He immediately brought his car to the attention of his crew for a fresh set of tires. NASCAR officials deemed that Gaughan had flat-spotted his tires and allowed them to have an extra set of tires.
Three cautions over the course of the final 25 laps helped Gaughan climb from outside the Top 20 back up to the Top 15. With a three-lap run to the finish, he pushed hard, climbing up to ninth by the time the checkered flag waved.
This is Gaughan’s second Top 10 of the season, and 61st of his career. He now sits 16th in points, 183 behind points lead Elliott Sadler, and 42 behind the cutoff for the Playoffs.
“The South Point team doesn’t quit. We’ve had an awful year. This just goes to show that my guys don’t ever quit, we haven’t. We’ve been together a long time. Some of these guys have been with me 18, 19 years, and there is no quit in us. We’re not going to stop just because of a little problem. Thank you to the boys, thank you to Shane (Wilson). And thank you to NASCAR, they gave me a set of tires and that gave us the chance to rocket ship through the field. It was a good, hard race, had a good time, and I love the way the track worked.”
Now Gaughan, Wilson, and the rest of the No. 62 crew will look to continue their streak of good luck at Dover International Speedway.