Brendan Gaughan: A True Racer Looking for Victory Lane with Richard Childress Racing (Part 1)
Brendan Gaughan isn’t just a race car driver, he’s a different type of guy. Gaughan was a top-tier athlete at the University of Georgetown on the Hoya’s basketball team as a role player, and a place kicker for the football team. However, Gaughan’s true love was racing and he’s made a rather decent living out of it.
Over time, Gaughan developed into quite the race car driver. He raced for a family-owned team for the majority of his career, winning two NASCAR K&N Pro Series West titles in the process. However, his big break came when the team ran in the NASCAR Camping World Trucks Series from 2002-2003, winning rookie of the year honors plus contending for a championship until getting spun out at Homestead while leading the points standings.
See, for most people, an event like that would stop one from continuing on to do well, but not Gaughan.
Gaughan’s drive to win has landed him jobs at Penske Racing, Germain Racing, Rusty Wallace Incorporated and now Richard Childress Racing. Though he hasn’t won a race in over 10 years, the last being Texas in October of 2003, Gaughan has been able to contend for the wins for the first time in quite some time.
He’s been extremely close this year, especially at Texas in April, but due to some unfortunate circumstances, Gaughan continues to have an egg in the wins column on his statistics sheet.
Racing for Richard Childress Racing may just be the break that Gaughan needed to win. He might not have entered victory lane yet, but he’s been extremely close — so close that Richard Childress Racing is sending Gaughan to the NASCAR Nationwide Series on a full-time basis for the 2014 season with Shane Wilson returning as his crew chief for the second consecutive season.
Gaughan took some time to talk to Rant Sports about his future with Richard Childress Racing, his past experiences, working with his teammates and some adjustments he believes NASCAR needs to make and much more in this 6 part series.
RS: What have you learned this year while returning back to racing on a full-time basis?
BG: “Well that’s the goal. The team I have here is probably the best team that I’ve ever raced for. This team was built to win races, and we’re having fun even though we haven’t won one yet. We still have Homestead to get it done and my goal is to end the season with a win.”
What was the main reason that you cut back on your schedule in 2012?
“The main reason was to try to have an opportunity to run full-time for an organization like RCR. I could have gone full-time for much lesser organizations and struggle along like we’ve been doing, but to drive for Richard Childress’ Chevrolet is something that everybody can do. I wanted to get into the best equipment and prove that I can be upfront every week. Last year’s races (18 of them), I think I was in the top-10 and top-five plenty of times. This year, we’re tied for the most top-fives in the series so we’re at least proving why I came over here.”
Working for Richard Childress Racing, how do you feel that they give you the best opportunity to succeed over any other team?
“They’ve given me the best opportunity that I’ve ever had in my career. I had my own team in 2002; I won a Winston West (K&N Pro Series West) championship in 2000 and 2001. This is the greatest organization that I’ve had the chance to be a part of, and I’m grateful everyday that old RC was able to make room for me last year. This year, we’re definitely underachieving from what we expected, but we’re going to go try to win the race leading into next year when we go to Nationwide Series racing.”