Brendan Gaughan hasn't won a race in NASCAR's top three divisions since 2003. Saturday was different as Gaughan spun three times during the day and muscled his way around Chase Eliott with two laps to score his first career NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) victory at Road America.
The Las Vegas, Nevada native was starting to run down leader Alex Tagliani in the closing laps after the No. 62 team put on slick tires on a late caution once the rain stopped.A caution with two laps ago for the stalled car of Justin Marks bunched up the field. Shortly thereafter, Tagliani ran out of fuel and fell to the back of the lead lap. He then came to pit road four tires and fuel and the mad dash to the front was on.
Nicknamed "Tags", he drove from 24th to second in the last two laps and just fell eight tenths of a second short of the victory. The No. 22 team was coming off of three straight road course wins from 2013. Tagliani will also drive the No. 22 Ford in the NNS race at Mid-Ohio in August.
Another nice surprise was the No. 23 Rick Ware Racing (RWR) team of Kevin O'Connell. He nearly challenged Gaughan for the lead in the closing laps but had to settle for a third-place finish. Nevertheless, it was a great run for O'Connell and the entire RWR team.
Sam Hornish Jr. appeared to have the car to beat early when the track was still dry. Once the rains came, it was a completely different ball game. Hornish led 25 laps and wound up 12th in the final finishing order.
Chase Elliott and J.J. Yeley, who made the trek from Sonoma, rounded out the top-five. Jeremy Clements, Andy Lally, Landon Cassill, Elliott Sadler and Mike Bliss completed the top-10.
Many of the smaller teams had good runs such as Yeley, Clements, Lally and Cassill. Yeley and Cassill will fly back to Sonoma for tomorrow's Sprint Cup Series race. Timmy Hill qualified the No. 40 for Cassill and David Mayhew did the same for Yeley.
The Nationwide Series will next visit Kentucky Speedway this Friday night. Brad Keselowski is the defending winner of the race.