Go for it. This was the mind set that Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 team embraced for the last race of the regular season at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With points no longer being relevant, it was a must win for Gaulding and his team to make the 2019 playoffs. Gaulding would roll off from the 16th position for the 200 lap race in Sin City. The first stage was completely dominated by Christopher Bell, as the 20 car set a blistering pace for the first 45 laps. The first stage went caution free and Gaulding found himself in the 17th position, one lap down early. Gaulding radioed to Crew Chief Patrick Donahue that his car was just too loose and needed to be tightened up.
The second stage was a close reflection of the first. Christopher Bell once again dominated the stage and all 45 laps went green without incident. At the conclusion of the stage, Gaulding was in the 18th position and two laps down. Gaulding was overall happy with the feeling of his car. The driver of the 08 was confident that with some fresh tires and a slight adjustment, he would be right where he needed to be.
Gaulding started the final stage from the 18th position and two laps down. On lap 112 the first on track incident of the day brought out the third caution. Having driven to the 17th position, Crew Chief Patrick Donahue made the call to stay on track during the caution in order to receive a wave around to become only one lap down. The gamble paid off. On lap 128 the fourth caution of the day waved and Gaulding was the beneficiary of the ‘lucky dog’. Donahue called Gaudling to the pits under caution to top off on fuel and would restart on the lead lap. As the final 70 laps clicked by, the 08 team were gambling for the gold. All lead lap cars with the exception of the 2 car would have to stop under green for fuel. As the laps continued to wind down and cars continued to pit, Gaulding suddenly found himself in the 2nd position. The bold strategy call by Donahue put his team in contention late to shock the world. The worn tires and fuel conservation was unfortunately no match for a few of the leaders with fresh tires. Despite getting passed by a few of the leaders late, Gaulding was able to hang on to a seventh place finish, which marked the 08 team’s fourth top ten of the year.
“P7 in Las Vegas! We’re in Vegas and we knew we wanted to roll the dice so we stretched it on fuel there at the end and came away with a top-10! Hats off to all my guys at SS Green Light Racing and team owner Bobby Dotter. Although we aren’t a part of the playoffs, I’m still living my dream and having the most fun I’ve ever had behind the wheel. This success couldn’t be possible without my family and my great partners, Barry Tisdale with SMG, JT Marine Inc., PURE, NASCAR Racing Experience and Panini. Thanks to all the fans who believe in me and have supported me through this journey.
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“I couldn’t be more proud of Gray, Patrick, and the entire 08 team. This little team has proved that they can run with the big boys on any track and they did it again today. Patrick made some great calls to put us in position late and Gray did his job. I’m looking forward to finishing out these final seven races of the year strong!”
SS Greenlight Racing PR