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Jun 17, 2014 - 04:32 PM
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Gaulding Holds On For Top-5 Finish
Posted by: newsla on Jun 17, 2014 - 04:23 PM
NASCAR News
Gaulding Holds On For Top-5 Finish


It seemed as if rain showers would be the only thing on track at the north Florida half mile Five Flags Speedway, until just before noon when the sun broke through the clouds and the rain showers moved off into the gulf of Mexico.

 

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After a quick drying process and the cancelation of opening practice, cars made it on track for a single practice session from 2:00-2:45 PM. Gaulding being one of only eight drivers with previous experience at Five Flags Speedway didn't waste any time in practice. After turning 42 laps, Gaulding posted the eighth quickest time a 17.598. "I was looking at the times and talking with Doug (Howe) on where we could improve"said Gaulding "it's a really stout field, everyone is so competitive in this K&N Pro series."

With twenty one cars set to take time in qualifying, Gaulding would be the twenty first car to do so and with a time of 17.287 at 104.124 miles per hour Gray Gaulding set fast time. Gray Gaulding would receive his third 21 Means 21 Pole Award, second in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East competition, and first of 2014. "This is the kind of momentum swing me and my team need"said Gaulding "they put in an incredible amount of time into these Krispy Kreme Chevrolets and it shows when you can set fast time."

After setting fast time, Gaulding lined his No.20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet on the inside of row one. When the green flag dropped for the Pensacola 150, Gaulding emerged with the lead. Gaulding able to set his own pace held on to a 10 car length lead until the first caution flag of the evening flew at lap 19 for a car stopped against the wall in turns three and four.

Gray Gaulding led the field to the green for the second time at lap 21 and again would emerge with the lead out of turn two. Gaulding started setting his own pace until the second caution flag flew at lap 26 for a wreck on the front stretch. Gaulding would lead the field back to the green at lap 32 and just as the field started to spread out a car stopped against the wall in turns three and four bringing out the third caution at lap 38.

Gray Gaulding would lead the field back to the green at lap 43 when the 41 would jump on the outside holding Gaulding against the apron, Gaulding would give up the lead but stay directly in the tire tracks buying his time. The fourth caution flag flew at lap 76 for the halfway break, Gaulding noted his chassis to start getting on the tight side in traffic, but was very happy with the balance on long runs.

After the ten-minute break, Gaulding would restart second at lap 77 and when the flag man dropped the green flag Gaulding emerged back to the lead. Gaulding got back into his rhythm and pulled a ten car length lead over second place. At lap 110, second place car started putting pressure on Gaulding. Gaulding let him go at lap 114, knowing the 98 was going to hard, to early. Gaulding stayed on the bumper of the 98 waiting for the right time to go back after the lead until lap 123 when the fifth caution came out.

When the field received the green flag, it was a fifteen-lap shootout. Gaulding restarted on the outside of row one, and made an attempt back at the lead going into turns one and two but was unable to complete the pass. When the field came back around it was evident that Gaulding's No.20 Krispy Kreme Chevrolet was losing forward drive. Gaulding was able to hold on and bring home a top-5 finish after leading eighty of the one hundred and fifty laps.

The next race for Gray Gaulding and the No.20 Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Chevrolet team is Saturday, June 21st at Langley Speedway in Hampton, Virginia.

From the Driver's Seat with Gray Gaulding:
"We just got way to tight on the last restart. If it had stayed green might of been a different ending but none the less I'm proud of the effort these guys put into this Krispy Kreme Chevrolet. It showed we have the speed and capabilities of doing this, just have to put everything but our time is coming."

On top of Box with Crew Chief Doug Howe:
"Gray did a terrific job tonight. He showed he has the maturity and ability to compete week in and week out at any racetrack. We will continue to improve and go for it at Langley next week."

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