Anyone who has wondered what Speedweeks is like for a rookie in NASCAR’s NEXTEL Cup Series is being given some insight into the hectic two weeks for a first-year driver by Brendan Gaughan.
Gaughan, who will make his debut in NASCAR’s premier series in the Daytona 500, is providing a daily diary to The Daytona Beach News-Journal. In Wednesday’s issue, Gaughan talks about practice and the importance of earning the other drivers’ respect. In other words, he let them know “I’m not a squirrel.” That he and his race car are solid.
“You’ve got to do those things, got to play that game,” the Las Vegas native told the newspaper.
“Dale Jarrett actually had a problem where I got sucked up to him and pushed and got him real loose. He lifted; I almost creamed him. I almost had two guys hit me. We were like: ‘Whoa, goodness.’
“We all packed up and we all made it through, but I was the one breathing the hardest at the end because you look at yourself as a rookie and think, ‘I don’t need to have Dale Jarrett get in my face already.’ You don’t want that. Afterwards, Iran into him in the garage and he said, ‘Hey, thanks for not taking me out, man, I appreciate it. Nice job.’
“That helps. It gives a rookie guy like myself a little bit of confidence.”