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Pit strategy key to Brendan Gaughan's first top-10 finish of 2010

By Lee Montgomery

GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – Rusty Wallace Racing crew chief Brad Parrott gambled on a two-tire pit stop just like Kevin Harvick. And while it didn’t pay off with a victory for Brendan Gaughan like Harvick, Gaughan nonetheless was pleased with a 10th-place finish.

In a season that includes three finishes of 24th or worse and two DNFs, Gaughan was more than happy.

"Brad Parrott, he’s like me: He’s no-quit," Gaughan said. "That’s the only thing I ever ask of any team I’ve ever been on, is no quit. Whoo! I tell you what, he called four coming down pit road, and then right there at the end – 10 pit stalls away – he said, ‘Two, two, two.’ I don’t make those calls. I’ve got no clue why. I just said OK."

Gaughan restarted third with 30 laps to go but faded, even as spotter Buddy Parrott – Brad’s father – tried to guide Gaughan to the finish.

"I had a great race with Paul (Menard) at the end, really clean," Gaughan said. "Paul, I just told him, ‘You’ve had a great start to a season. I’ve had a horrible one. I needed that top-10 more than you could know it.’ He didn’t wreck me – he had chances to."

Gaughan, working with Parrott for the first time this year, said he’s not in a position to argue with his crew chief.

"I don’t argue," Gaughan said. "Brad’s probably got the hardest crew chief gig in the country. With me, one, I’m not going to second-guess you a whole lot. But, two, I don’t know a whole lot about setups, and that hurts us. And that’s what we’re struggling with right now. If I was more like Stephen, I could probably help us more. Brad has to take what I say and try to figure it out. I’m working hard on trying to give him better feedback."