Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. At Road America, Brendan Gaughan was both as he captured his first win of his career in the Nationwide Series.
The 38-year-old overtook Alex Tagliani after he ran out of fuel and held him off to take the checkered flag. Following the wild race on the rain-slicked track, Gaughan spoke about his victory at the road course, per the Associated Press:
I love racing in the rain. It's fun. And when you're good at it, it makes it even more fun. I haven't smelled blood in a long time. That's been something I've been lacking lately is that killer attitude. When it started to rain, even without the wiper blade, I started to smell blood and said, 'I'm coming.'
With the win coming in his 98th start on the circuit, Gaughan appears to have found a comfort zone on road courses. Now that the circuit is heading back to a more familiar oval course, several of the bigger names will likely take back over.
Before the Nationwide drivers hit the track at Kentucky, here's a look at the schedule, standings and a full preview for the John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300.
John R. Elliott HERO Campaign 300 Information
Where: Kentucky Speedway, Sparta, Kentucky
When: Friday, June 27, 7:30 p.m. ET
Live Stream: WatchESPN
|2014 Nationwide Standings|
|Pos.||Driver||Points||Wins||Top 5||Top 10|
Gaughan may have the momentum heading into Kentucky, but he still doesn't have a win on an oval track during his career in Nationwide.
One driver that still leads the circuit in wins this season is Chase Elliott. The 18-year-old wound up fourth at Road America, notching his seventh top-five finish of the season.
Mastering just about every course so far this season, he didn't hold his punches when talking about a late-race controversy. After what he believed was a dangerous move by Tagliani to move ahead of him, Elliott voiced his thoughts on the pass, per the Associated Press:
I figured he was going to dive-bomb me there. I just didn't know when or where. It's just frustrating. You have those guys, and I understand he's on slick (tires), I understand the situation. But that could have easily taken us both out right there. And that's just not worth it.
Both drivers finished in the top five but were lucky to get away without a wreck on the slick course. NASCAR on ESPN decided to bring up an issue from last season between Elliott and Ty Dillon, which ignited JR Motorsports driver-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. on Twitter:
With 40-year-old Tagliani just racing on the road course for Team Penske, there likely won't be a rivalry brewing. But after yet another great result for the young Elliott, expect him to put together a strong run at an intermediate track similar to Darlington.
As for the points leader, Regan Smith finally met his match at Road America. Following his first finish outside of the top 10 at the course, Smith heads to a track where he's never had a great result.
In seven Nationwide starts at Kentucky, Smith has notched just one top-15 finish, which was last year in September. But thanks to his dominant season thus far, the current leader will find his first taste of success at the track.
JR Motorsports provides a look at Smith's paint scheme for the upcoming race:
Along with both JRM drivers, other notable names to watch will be Ryan Blaney along with Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Blaney won the last event at Kentucky in Nationwide, while Harvick, Busch and Larson will all be looking to knock off last year's winner.
With a full field of both young and veteran drivers looking to make their mark on Friday night, the Kentucky race will be another great showcase for the Nationwide Series.
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