brendan gaughan

NASCAR America: Brendan Gaughan Unplugged

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Xfinity driver Brendan Gaughan, who was narrowly eliminated from playoff contention last weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway, was a guest on Tuesday’s NASCAR America and had much to say.

Among the topics Gaughan discussed:

Being eliminated from the playoffs: “Everybody tried. If we were a little bit better, guess what? We wouldn’t have been in this position. It’s alright. That’s the way life goes.”

On what race he looked back and wondered where he could have gained an extra spot:”You can do that and you’ll drive yourself absolutely crazy. … Life is what it is. Things happen in life and you roll with the punches. I still sit here smiling. I still love what I do.”

His future: “I know I’m going to run those four (Cup) races for Mark Beard and … the 75 car at the restrictor plates. I know I’m going to do that. I’ve already told them I’ll be back to do those races. … I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the Xfinity Series yet. I have a home at Richard (Childress Racing) and I told Richard I don’t plan on leaving until I’m done. We’re still not 100 percent lined up with what we’re going to do.”

Gaughan discusses many other subjects. Check out what he has to say in the video above.

NASCAR America at 5 p.m. ET: Scan All, looking ahead to Talladega and more

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Today’s episode of NASCAR America airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN. Krista Voda hosts with Jeff Burton and Nate Ryan from NBC Charlotte.

On today’s show:

  • The only driver not worried about Talladega is Martin Truex Jr., who’s on to the Round of 8 after his win at Charlotte. With the pressure gone for now, Truex and his team can focus on finally mastering superspeedway racing. We’ll hear what crew chief Cole Pearn had to say about this weekend’s challenge.
  • Xfintiy Series driver Brendan Gaughan joins the show from Las Vegas to talk about his season and how he & fellow drivers from Vegas have worked to help their hometown heal.
  • Denny Hamlin discusses his strategy for Talladega in a 1-on-1 interview with Marty Snider that includes a new paint scheme for the upcoming playoff race at Martinsville.
  • And we will take one more listen to all the action of Sunday’s race from drivers, crew chiefs and spotters when we Scan All: Charlotte.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, you can also watch it via the online stream at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Ryan Reed advances in Xfinity playoffs after intense battle with Brendan Gaughan

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Brendan Gaughan could see his playoff stakes in his rear-view mirror and on the scoring pylon.

“I’m a driver that pays attention to things,” Gaughan said. “It’s not like it’s not sitting there in front of my face.”

Ryan Reed was one spot behind him on the track, but one spot ahead of Gaughan in the playoff standings.

Behind Reed was Brandon Jones, Gaughan’s teammate at Richard Childress Racing and his last, best chance to advance to the second round of the Xfinity playoffs. If Jones passed Reed, Gaughan was in.

Those were the stakes for the last 10 laps of Saturday’s rain-delayed race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

“I knew (Jones) wanted that spot as bad as I wanted him to not have the spot,” Reed said. “I know him and Brendan are friends. He wanted to give him that gift. But obviously, I raced my guts out. That’s probably the hardest five laps I’ve ever driven in a race car.”

But the gift never arrived.

When the checkered flag fell on the Drive for the Cure 300, Gaughan finished 11th and was eliminated. Reed placed 12th and advanced to the second round for the second time.

Almost 50 laps earlier, Reed thought his night was over.

After a long night of battling Gaughan, Reed’s No. 16 Ford was running 22nd after becoming extremely loose and falling through the field. Gaughan sat 14th.

“Our setup, we would go really free on the long run,” said Reed, who thought he had a top-12 car on short runs. “It’s kind of like a light switch, once we seemed like we got that right rear (tire) at a certain temperature it was just gone.”

Reed was saved by a caution, courtesy of oil left on the track by the No. 52 of Joey Gase with 40 laps to go.

“There’s our gift,” Reed told his team over the radio.

A two-time Daytona winner, the 24-year-old Reed believes playoff races come down to “one or two moments where you’ve got to lay it all out on the line.”

The moment that ensured Reed would advance to the Round of 8 came with 17 to go. Reed was chasing Gaughan in 12th when they both came upon William Byron, who was dropping through the field on older tires after staying out the previous caution.

Exiting Turn 2, Gaughan dove beneath Byron. He left just enough room for Reed to squeeze between them.

“That was my best shot, and I honestly thought I cleared them both,” Reed said. “(Gaughan) did a real gnarly slide job down into (Turn) 3 and he did a heck of a job driving that thing to keep him in front of me.”

But Gaughan couldn’t track down Elliott Sadler for 10th and Jones couldn’t get to Reed.

Gaughan joined Blake Koch, Jeremy Clements and Michael Annett in being eliminated from title contention.

“Would have loved to have a caution,” Gaughan said. “That would have been awesome to have a late-race restart on that one. I’d have paid money for that.”

A “relieved” Reed and the remaining playoff drivers kick off the Round of 8 on Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.

“I’m going to enjoy this off week,” Reed said. “It’s kind of rude what they do honestly the way they schedule an off week. Because if you don’t advance, you’ve got a long time to think about it. So I’m glad I can think about going into Kansas and competing for a championship and having fun.”

JR Motorsports commands top of Xfinity playoff grid with Cole Custer lurking

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Only one race remains in the opening round of the Xfinity Series playoffs and JR Motorsports is in control of the playoff field ahead of Saturday’s race at Charlotte Motor Speedway (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

After consecutive top-three finishes, Justin Allgaier leads the standings. He has a three-point lead over teammate William Byron and a 13-point lead over teammate Elliott Sadler.

Cole Custer of Stewart-Haas Racing is the highest non-JRM driver in fourth, 14 points back. The driver of the No. 00 Ford has finishes of fifth (Kentucky) and eighth (Dover) to open the playoffs. In his second series start at Charlotte in May, he placed seventh.

Custer’s Kentucky result came after he won the first two stages at the 1.5-mile track.

Prior to the start of the playoffs, Sadler singled out Custer as a threat for the title in the midst of JRM’s dominance.

“The biggest underdog that I think fans haven’t paid attention to as much as we have is Cole Custer,” Sadler told NBC Sports. “Those guys have done a really good job of creating a lot of speed in the last couple of months. So that to me, Cole Custer is going to surprise a lot of fans in this playoffs.”

After Saturday, four drivers will be eliminated from the playoffs. The four who face that possibility now are Brendan Gaughan, who trails Ryan Reed by two points for the final transfer spot. Michael Annett (-7), Blake Koch (-12) and Jeremy Clements (-20) also are outside a transfer spot.

Here is the full playoff grid ahead of the Drive for the Cure 300.

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Xfinity Playoff Grid: Justin Allgaier leads three JR Motorsports drivers in top five

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Earlier this year, Justin Allgaier said there was a good chance all four cars for JR Motorsports could make it all the way to the Xfinity Series championship race.

“I felt like, as an organization, we could get four cars in the playoffs at Homestead when the season was over,” Allgaier told NBC Sports last week. “A lot of people laughed at me, I won’t lie to you. There were a lot of people that felt like that was a very bold statement.

“But when you look at the way that we’ve run and the performance of all four of our cars, I just feel really good about our organization, our people, and I feel like this race team has the opportunity to go into these playoffs and be as successful as anyone.”

After one race in the playoffs, that prediction is going to need some help over the next two weeks to stay a live.

Allgaier, who is tied for the top spot on the 12-driver grid with Cole Custer, leads three JRM drivers in the top five. Elliott Sadler is third (-2) and rookie William Byron is fifth (-6).

Meanwhile, Michael Annett is 11th, 12 points back from the cut line after finishing 16th at Chicagoland.

The four drivers outside the top 12 are Brendan Gaughan (-8), Blake Koch (-9), Annett and Jeremy Clements (-14).

The second race of the opening round takes the series to Dover International Speedway.

Allgaier’s average finish at the 1-mile track is 13.5 in 13 Xfinity starts, Sadler’s is 11.9 in 19 starts, Byron finished sixth there in June and Annett has an average finish of 13.5 in 11 starts

Here is the Xfinity playoff grid after one race.