Date: Aug. 29, 2020
Event: Coke Zero Sugar 400 (Round 26 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 160 laps, broken into three stages (50 laps/50 laps/60 laps)
Start/Finish: 40th/8th (Running, completed 164 of 164 laps)
Note: Race extended four laps past its scheduled 160-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: William Byron of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50):
● Brendan Gaughan started 40th and finished 29th.
● Driving the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro, Gaughan was able to pick up a handful of positions during the opening laps. He moved up to 33rd by lap 10.
● The competition caution was displayed on lap 20. Gaughan was in 32nd. With his car handling well, the team only made a small wedge adjustment and added fuel during the pit stop. He lined up 30th for the restart on lap 24.
● Gaughan was in 33rd on lap 35 when he reported that the car had gotten a little too loose in the turns.
● While the loose condition persisted, Gaughan was able to keep the car straight and finished the stage in 29th. Four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment was the call for the No. 62 car during the ensuing pit stop. The team exercised a little strategy by having Gaughan make a trip to pit road to top off the fuel right before green-flag racing resumed to start the second stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100):
● Gaughan started 29th and finished 35th.
● As the stage unfolded, a number of teams worked together to make trips to pit road for fuel only to be able to make it to the end of the stage. While Gaughan was doing his part to manage fuel consumption on the No. 62 machine, the team discussed whether they should make a trip to pit road for fuel or gamble and try to finish the stage without stopping for service.
● On lap 88, the team decided to make a fuel-only pit stop in tandem with fellow Chevrolet driver Alex Bowman. Gaughan was caught speeding as he exited pit road and had to serve a pass-through penalty on the following lap. He was caught speeding again as he served the initial penalty and had to do a second pass-through penalty. Once he returned to the race, Gaughan was a lap down in 35th.
● The No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro finished the stage in 35th. Gaughan asked for some help with the loose-handling issue. The team made a wedge adjustment, changed four tires and added fuel. Quick pit work placed Gaughan in the position of being the first driver one lap down to start the final stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 101-164):
● Gaughan started 34th and finished eighth.
● The Las Vegas-native raced hard early in the final stage to maintain the distinction of being the first car one lap down.
● Green-flag pit stops started taking place on lap 125. Gaughan found himself back on the lead lap as the rest of the field pitted.
● The No. 62 team had to figure out the best approach for making their own stop for fuel without losing too much ground to the leaders, all while trying to get back on the lead lap. The team finally made its own stop on lap 142.
● The yellow caution flag waved as Gaughan made his trip to pit road. He quickly exited pit road and because he was already past the start/finish line by the time the leaders completed the lap, he was able to remain on the lead lap. As such, the team elected to make a full pit stop, changing four tires and adding fuel. Gaughan lined up 33rd for the restart.
● Back on the lead lap with four fresh tires, Gaughan went to work. He was in the top-25 on lap 152 when a multi-car accident unfolded at the front of the field. Gaughan drove through some debris, but the team had to wait to survey the damage as NASCAR displayed the red flag.
● Once the red flag was lifted, Gaughan visited pit road where the team found little damage, but they changed four tires to be safe. Gaughan lined up 24th for the restart.
● Racing resumed, but not for long. Another multi-car accident unfolded and once again forced NASCAR to display the red flag. Gaughan avoided the melee and found himself in 11th place.
● The field lined up for a green-white-checkered finish on lap 162. Gaughan was in 11th place and tucked into the lead draft. He was among the top-10 as the field came around to take the checkered flag and ultimately finished eighth.
● Gaughan is one of only four drivers who finished in the top-10 in this year’s Daytona 500 and the Coke Zero Sugar 400. The other drivers are Denny Hamlin, Ryan Blaney and Chris Buescher.
● Gaughan now has a total of 32 NASCAR starts on the 2.5-mile oval at Daytona – 11 in the Cup Series, 12 in the Xfinity Series and nine in the Truck Series. His best finish is fifth, earned twice in the Xfinity Series (July 2016 and February 2017). His best Cup finish at Daytona is seventh (July 2017 and February 2020) and his best Truck Series finish is 10th (February 2003).
● Beard Motorsports has now fielded a car in eight NASCAR Cup Series races at Daytona, four of which have been in the Daytona 500. Its best Daytona 500 finish is seventh, earned in this year’s race, which equaled the team’s previous best Daytona result when Gaughan finished seventh in the July 2017 Coke Zero 400. All of Beard Motorsports’ starts have come with Gaughan.
● William Byron won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 to score his first career NASCAR Cup Series victory. His margin of victory over second-place Chase Elliott was .119 of a second.
● There were six caution periods for a total of 21 laps.
● Only 20 of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Kevin Harvick remains the championship leader after Daytona with a 10-point advantage over second-place Hamlin.
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro:
“The Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro had a heck of a run tonight. We saw pay dirt there at the end – third place coming out of turn four. The ‘19’ car (Martin Truex, Jr.) just side drafted us, pulled us back, and I didn’t have any help behind me, but what a night. I just have to say thank you so much to the Beard family, Darren Shaw (crew chief) and Ron Lewis, my spotter. I also want to say thank you to Richard Childress and ECR motors for all they do for us. Two top-10s this year at Daytona – what a way to go out! It was so much fun. We will see everyone in Talladega and we’ll actually be able to take the same racecar because it’s in one piece!”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Cook Out Southern 500 on Sunday, Sept. 6 at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway. The first race in the 10-race NASCAR Playoffs starts at 6 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Gaughan and Beard Motorsports’ next race is the YellaWood 500 Oct. 4 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. That race starts at 2 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!