Gaughan cashes in 300 victory
following pit gamble
Late four-tire pit stop call helps him win
his first Kentucky Speedway victory
SPARTA, Ky. (Sept. 20, 2014) – Brendan Gaughan had never won a NASCAR Nationwide Series race before this season.
On Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Kentucky Speedway, the 39-year-old rocketed past rising stars Ty Dillon and Chase Elliott into the lead with six laps remaining and won the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300.
"It feels so good to do this on an oval," said Gaughan, who won in June at Road America. “It means a lot, especially the way we did it – passing Chase Elliott and my teammate, Ty Dillon. Great race teams. Great young race car drivers. Old dog still had a little something left.”
His victory led a sweep of the top three spots by Richard Childress Racing. Following Gaughan and his No. 62 Chevrolet to the finish line were teammates Brian Scott in the No. 2 Chevrolet and Dillon in the No. 3 Chevrolet.
“I feel like our team was the class of the field,” Scott said. “I've finished second a lot of times. I thought we had that one tonight.”
Elliott finished fourth and holds a 20-point lead over fifth-place finisher Regan Smith. Dillon is 38 points behind Elliott in third.
Saturday’s race was the final stand-alone event on the Nationwide schedule, which is now down to its final six races.
Every driver that finished in the top 10 scored his best Nationwide finish at Kentucky Speedway.
Dillon started from the pole and looked untouchable for most of the race. He led 155 of the 200 laps, but four cautions over the final 31 laps changed everything.
“It’s hard to get down. It’s just what the good Lord had in store for us tonight,” Dillon said. “It’s upsetting but we’ll get 'em next time.”
The final restart came with seven laps remaining following a caution for debris.
Elliott was lined up in the preferred outside lane with Dillon on his inside. Gaughan was fourth behind Elliott and moved into third place as Elliott and Dillon raced side-by-side for the lead once the race restarted.
“When they got side-by-side, I’ve been doing this a long time, I know what air looks like just enough, and I said, ‘My motor is going to be revved up,’” Gaughan said.
As Elliott and Dillon jockeyed for position on Lap 195, Gaughan drifted high and passed both cars on the outside.
“Wild race,” Elliott said. “These cars are underpowered and aero becomes a big deal. You get those restarts and you get to side drafting with those guys, and the guy behind you gets such a big run. It’s hard to hold both of them off.”
Dillon had led 104 consecutive laps before Elliott passed him just as the yellow caution lights started flashing for Eric McClure’s wreck on Lap 175.
He held onto the lead on a restart with 14 laps to go and remained out front when debris brought out another caution on Lap 188 to set up the final restart of the night.
The lead cars made their final pit stops on a caution with 31 laps remaining. Dillon’s crew got him off pit road first. Gaughan and Scott opted for four tires when many took only two.
“It did work out,” Gaughan said.
Entering the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300, he had never finished outside the top 10 in four career Nationwide races at the Kentucky Speedway. Now Gaughan has a victory to show for that consistency.
“This one right here is pretty darn special,” he said. “I think this is statistically my best race track, whether it’s Truck or Nationwide. It’s always been a great place for me.”
NASCAR returns to the Kentucky Speedway in 2015, starting with the Quaker State 400 Sprint Cup Series tripleheader race weekend, July 9-11. The Nationwide Series will make a second stop at Kentucky Speedway on Sept. 26.
Back to Kentucky Speedway 2014 Articles.