Reed in, Gaughan out in Playoffs after Charlotte

Russell LaBounty/NKPPhoto

By Caleb Whisler, Staff Writer

As the pressure of the NASCAR Playoffs heated up in the first cutoff race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Charlotte Motor Speedway, it was Ryan Reed who was able to advance by one point over Brendan Gaughan to move on into the ‘Round Of 8’.

During the closing moments of the race, Gaughan and Reed were running 11th and 12th respectively. Gaughan had to pass Chevrolet teammate Elliott Sadler or Brandon Jones, Gaughan’s teammate, had to pass Reed. Those two scenarios would allow for that cutoff position to be determined by the tiebreaker. Gaughan would have won the tiebreaker over Reed. Gaughan knew what he had to do, but needed a caution and more laps to make the dream become a reality of moving one step closer to a championship.

“I am a driver that pays attention to things. I can see the pylon. It’s not like it’s not standing there in front of my face. I knew Brandon (Jones) was behind him. I was trying to find out how much,” said Gaughan. “They kinda told me and I could see in my mirror that Brandon was catching him, but we ran out of laps. Would have loved to have a caution. It would have been awesome to have a late race restart on that one. I would’ve paid money for that.”

Although he is unable to move into the next round, Gaughan applauded NASCAR for coming up with this format. Gaughan has been apart of the NCAA basketball tournament and college football games. Gaughan believes there is nothing like the NASCAR Playoffs in other sports.

For Reed, the hopes of advancing in the playoffs looked dim with about 60 laps to go, until the caution for fluid came out on the speedway. Reed radioed his crew and said “there is our gift.”

“We got our shot. That’s all we needed. We needed one shot to fix our mistakes and to prove to ourselves and everyone else that all you have to do is leave the door a little bit open and we would capitalize,” said Reed.

Although he made it to the next round, Reed believes his team needs to find more speed. Reed feels that the organization is not at the top-five or top-10 car in order to advance to Homestead-Miami.

“The cool thing is now there is no conservation or ‘we should be here’. We feel like we have everything to gain and nothing to lose going forward. We are going to hang it all out,” said Reed.

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