BRISTOL, Tenn. — While Brendan Gaughan still occupies a playoff spot with two races remaining in the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series regular season, his late wreck in the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway did him no favors.
Gaughan was part of a three-wide row of cars exiting Turn 4 with 17 laps to go with him up against the wall, Jeb Burton driving the 24 car in the middle and Garrett Smithley on the bottom. Something broke on the right-front of Burton’s car (evidenced by the fire that broke out in the wheel well a few minutes later), leading to him drifting up into the left-rear of Gaughan. Burton hit and sent him spinning backward into the wall, making contact with his right-rear corner.
He then comes down and makes contact with Ray Black Jr. Moments later, his left-rear tire goes flat and he spins up towards the wall. He makes slight contact with the wall again, with his front bumper, before doing a full 360° spin, coming to a stop and pulling down onto the apron.
Gaughan finished the race 30th, and he wasn’t happy with Burton after what transpired.
“We had a decent South Point Chevy. We were gonna sit there in the top-14, top-12 for the most part, and then we have the loose wheel. It’s just racing man. That happens. But two weeks in a row. I know he don’t have many races and I like him a lot normally, but right now, I’m gonna knock the hell out of him. The first time, he gave me a flat. The second time, he says he blew a tire, but if you know you got a tire blowing, don’t drive underneath somebody.”
Burton later responded, saying he never meant “to get into him” and that he “just got tight.”
Gaughan leaves Bristol 12th in points, maintaining a 43-point edge over Ross Chastain for the final playoff spot.