Gaughan Speeds Down Bobsled Slopes For Charity
NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Brendan Gaughan is trading in the horsepower of his No. 77 South Point Racing Chevrolet for a speed fix of another kind this weekend.
Tomorrow and Saturday, Gaughan will pilot a bobsled in Lake Placid, NY, as part of the Second Annual Geoff Bodine Bobsled Challenge. The charity event raises money for the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project, Inc., which creates and builds bobsleds for the U.S. National Bobsled Team at no cost to the athletes.
Gaughan, along with several other NASCAR drivers, will drive modified bobsleds on a shorter version of the course that some of the nation's best bobsledders compete on at Mt. Van Hoevenberg in Lake Placid. The course is a 17-turn, ¾-mile track where bobsled speeds will top 60 miles per hour.
“It's insane out there,” Gaughan said after his first bobsled practice on Thursday. “Everything happens so fast – you don't even know what is going on. I got to the bottom of the hill after my first run today and couldn't believe it was over. I was speechless.”
Current and former U.S. Bobsledders are coaching Gaughan and the other drivers on what to do to master the track and score the quick time.
“We have some great coaches – Brian Shimer who was one of the top bobsledders in the US and Lt. Tavares who used to coach the team – have been awesome to work with,” Gaughan said. “They have given us some great advice today. In fact, I got in trouble out there once, and what they told me to do worked and saved me from wrecking.
“All the NASCAR drivers are having a great time and the Olympic bobsledders are having just as much fun watching us and laughing.”
Despite all the coaching, Gaughan admits that he has a long way to go if he wants to celebrate a victory in one of two bobsled races, which will be run on Saturday, Jan. 6.
“I've been one of the slower ones all day,” Gaughan said. “I definitely need to step it up. Typical me, I've been consistent and I'm gaining on the others. I think I'll be alright in the race on Saturday.
“I'll catch up with the others – just give it a little bit of time.”
For Gaughan, the best part of the challenge isn't winning the race – it's being able to help raise money for the U.S. Olympic team.
“This weekend has been outrageous,” Gaughan said. “In NASCAR, when you win a race, you're the best driver that weekend. When you win a bobsled race, you're the best in the world. That's what's so cool about the Olympics and what these guys do.
"It's cool for me to be able to come up here and help raise money to continue to better our Olympic bobsled team."
Gaughan has two more practices tomorrow prior to qualifying. The races will be held on Saturday.
For more information on the Bodine Bobsled Challenge including photos and updates on Gaughan's qualifying and race efforts, visit www.bodynbobsled.com.
The Bodine Bobsled Challenge will air on SPEED on Saturday, Jan. 6 and Sunday, Jan. 7 from 2-4 p.m. ET.