Mike Brown -- TR Staff
Welcome back for another great edition of “Ten Questions With” here on TeamRacin.com. Today, we turn the spotlight on Nextel Cup Rookie of the Year candidate : Brendan Gaughan.
A native of Las Vegas, Nevada, 28 year old Brendan Gaughan has had one of the more interesting journeys to NASCAR’s highest level. He began competing in off road racing divisions in his teens, he continued racing in various divisions while in college, including a few Truck Series races at his home track of Las Vegas. That may not seem terribly impressive unless you take into account that at the same time, he was playing basketball for the Georgetown Hoyas (a pretty impressive feat for a 5'9 kid). Brendan was a member of the Hoyas in 1996, when they reached the Elite 8 in the NCAA tournament, and still lists that as one of his proudest accomplishments. After earning his degree in Human Resource Management, he returned to racing and landed in the NASCAR Winston West Tour. While there, he captured the 2000 and 2001 Series Championship, along with Most Popular Driver honors in 2001.
With the momentum from his Winston West success, Brendan plunged full time into the Craftsman Truck Series in 2002 in a family owned team, winning twice and capturing Rookie of the Year honors and an 11th place showing in the points. In 2003, he scored six more wins, and was a strong contender for the Championship. Unfortunately, a crash in the final race of the season at Homestead slid him to fourth in an incredibly tight points battle.
During the off season, the Jasper Engines team formed an alliance with Penske South racing and signed Brendan Gaughan as their new driver, replacing veteran Dave Blaney. At the same time, Kodak was frustrated with a string of poor results from Morgan-McClure Racing and jumped at the chance to sponsor a highly regarded rookie at a first class organization. In the Daytona 500, Brendan scored a respectable 19th place finish.
Ten Questions with.. Brendan Gaughan
#1. Guys like Stewart, Johnson, and Harvick have had incredible success in their rookie years. Do you think their success has given owners unrealistic expectations for first year drivers?
No, I don’t think so. You named 3 guys with great organizations, and don’t forget about my teammate Ryan Newman. I think if you have good people, and good sponsors, owners should expect better results than average.
#2. If you could go back in time, when would you go, and what would you do?
I’d love to see my hometown, Las Vegas, back in the 60's and 70's and see how my father and two older brothers got set up out there.
#3. What question are you tired of hearing? Why?
How do the Nextel Cup cars differ from the Craftsman Truck Series trucks?
#4. Tell us your favorite joke (Please keep in mind, kids might be reading).
I can never remember jokes when people ask for them, ya know? You hear a joke and you think to yourself “Man, I gotta remember that one!” Then you’re in a situation where you want to tell a joke, and it’s just not there.
#5. Leno, Letterman, Kilborn, Conan or Ted Koppel?
Letterman usually. I love playing “Will It Float?”.
#6. If they made a movie of your life, who would play you? Why?
No clue, my life is too boring, why would they make a movie of it?
#7. Do you have a specific race-day ritual?
I’m not really a superstitious guy. I guess the closest thing is the typical race day ritual all the drivers have which is, to go and take care of sponsors in the hospitality tents, meet the folks, and high five the team to pump them up.
#8. Give me your all-time, top 5 favorite movies.
Star Wars Episode IV (A New Hope), Star Wars Episode II (Attack of the Clones) I know people have bashed the prequels, but I like to see the history of the whole Star Wars universe. I also enjoyed both of the Harry Potter movies, and the 5th would be... Stripes. (Editor’s note : Later on during the interview, Brendan’s cell phone rang. The ring tone? The Imperial March from Star Wars)
#9. I remember this one wacky fan who...
Oh! There’s this guy, Bud, and his wife, out in California. Their last name escapes me at the moment, sorry, guys. But he and his wife are 2 of my favorite fans. They make these great pins and buttons, and checkerboard vests and hats to wear to the races. He’s a great guy.
#10. You never know who reads these articles, do you have anything to say to anyone? “Your loss” messages to old girlfriends? “Thanks for all your help” to an old boss or teacher? “I love you, will you go out with me?” to any celebrities? Perhaps a message to the fans?
I actually do have three teachers I want to thank; from 8th grade, Lisa Browers , from 5th grade, Sister Mary Margaret, and a college math teacher, Rob Goodrich : “Thank you for shaping me and helping me achieve the things I need to achieve later.” To all my fans, I want to say “Thanks for getting me here, I’m here because of what you’ve done for me and I appreciate it completely.”
So there you have it, Nextel Cup rookie contender, Brendan Gaughan : Racer, basketball player, Star Wars Nerd. (Not a Star Wars Geek though. A “geek” would have put “Episode IV : The Empire Strikes Back” at the top of the list). I’d like to take a minute to express my deepest thanks to Brendan Gaughan and Terry Jarrell from Jasper/Penske for all their time and help. This was by far, the easiest and most fun “Ten Questions With” yet. I’ll let you in on a little industry secret here, friends. The article may be called “Ten Questions With”, but I actually ask 25 questions, then publish the best ten, allowing room to edit out boring answers. Well, there are no boring answers when you’re talking to Brendan Gaughan. Look for “Ten MORE Questions With Brendan Gaughan” next week, right here on TeamRacin.com.