Race Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott of Hendrick Motorsports (Chevrolet)
Stage 2 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-15):
● Brendan Gaughan started 39th and finished 28th.
● The driver of the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro exercised patience during the opening laps. He quietly logged laps and was in 34th place by the 10th tour around the 14-turn, 3.61-mile road course.
● Gaughan was able to pick up positions during the closing laps of Stage 1 to finish 28th. He reported that he was having some front turn issues during the caution and that he needed more grip.
● At the conclusion of the stage, the team pitted for four tires, fuel and made a chassis adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 16-30):
● Gaughan started 28th and finished 27th.
● Handling issues continued to plague the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro as the stage unfolded. Gaughan dropped back to 32nd.
● A number of teams running at the front of the field elected to pit prior to the conclusion of the stage. This allowed Gaughan to pick up a few spots to finish the stage in 27th.
● Front grip continued to be a problem for Gaughan. The team made a trip to pit road during the caution, changing four tires, adding fuel and adjusting tire pressures.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 31-65):
● Gaughan started 31st and finished 39th.
● Gaughan had to take evasive action on the opening lap to avoid the spinning car of driver Kevin Harvick. Gaughan was able to maintain his position.
● The No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro was in 31st place when NASCAR displayed the red flag on lap 36 due to lightning in the area.
● As the field came to pit road, Gaughan reported that the handling on the No. 62 Chevrolet had improved. He asked for a little more help with front grip but, overall, he was pleased with the last round of adjustments.
● Once the all-clear was given, cars returned to the track. The No. 62 team came to pit road as soon as the pits were open to make another round of air pressure and chassis adjustments, also changing four tires and adding fuel. Gaughan lined up 28th for the restart.
● Gaughan was in 24th place on lap 45 when he reported that he had lost fourth gear. One lap later, he reported that a bigger issue had developed with the transmission. Once he made it to pit road, Gaughan explained that while the car would go into gear, it would quickly blow out. The team had to go to the garage and their race was over with a DNF (Did Not Finish).
● Only 11 of the 39 drivers in the Go Bowling 235 had prior experience on the road course at Daytona. Of those 11 drivers, only Gaughan earned a victory on the layout. Gaughan and co-drivers Andy Lally, Spencer Pumpelly, Wolf Henzler and Steven Bertheau won the 2011 Rolex 24 at Daytona in the GT category in a Porsche GT3. They beat the second-place team by a full lap.
● This was Gaughan’s third career NASCAR Cup Series start on a road course. His two prior starts came at Sonoma (Calif.) Raceway and Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International in 2004, with a best finish of 26th at Sonoma. (A broken transmission 74 laps into Gaughan’s race at Watkins Glen relegated him to a 34th-place finish after he had led seven laps late in the race.)
● In the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Gaughan has made 23 road-course starts, punctuated by a win in 2014 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. Gaughan started fifth and led twice for eight laps in that race, including the final five tours around the 14-turn, 4.048-mile road course, to hold off road-racing ace and former INDYCAR driver Alex Tagliani to score the victory by .820 of a second.
● Chase Elliott won the inaugural Go Bowling 235 to score his eighth career NASCAR Cup Series victory, his second of the season and his fourth on a road course. His margin of victory over second-place Denny Hamlin was .202 of a second.
● There were four caution periods for a total of seven laps.
● Thirty-two of the 39 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
● Harvick remains the championship leader after Daytona with a 118-point advantage over second-place Hamlin.
Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro:
“That isn’t quite what we wanted here today. I spent the first half of the race just trying to feel out the racecar and get to the points that I like on the course. After the red flag, we finally got our car where we wanted and started to move up. We were getting close to that top-15 and I made a mistake. I don’t normally miss shifts, but I missed two shifts to fourth (gear) and over-revved the motor. When I did, I lost fourth gear. We were here in Daytona to run well on this road course – not have to change the transmission just to go back out there and run around 20 laps down. We will be back here in two weeks and see if we can get a good one for the No. 62 Beard Oil Chevy.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is a doubleheader Aug. 22-23 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway. Each race is 311 laps around the 1-mile, concrete oval. Start time for each race is 4 p.m. EDT and live coverage of both will be provided by NBCSN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Gaughan and Beard Motorsports’ next race is the Coke Zero Sugar 400 Aug. 29 at Daytona’s 2.5-mile oval. That race starts at 7:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage on NBC and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.