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It wasnít exactly a fun off-weekend

If you have ever wondered what a NASCAR Nextel Cup driver does on off-weekends, I am not a good source to ask. My week off was comprised of testing, a media day for a track (a very cool deal I might add) and a short visit home to see my family.

Oh yeah, and another "Adventure of Brendan Gaughan."

I think I am more tired this week than during a typical week. Actually, I donít really know if there is such a thing as a "typical" week.

This past week started as soon as I left Chicagoland Speedway. The Penske-Jasper team and the Miller Lite team traveled to Indianapolis to test at the Brickyard. We tested Monday and Tuesday, and then it was off to my next gig.

While my guys geared up for their return to North Carolina, I headed for Rochester, N.Y., Kodakís home, to participate in a promotion for Watkins Glen International. Mother Nature had different plans, however. My flight was canceled at Indianapolis, so I started working on an alternative travel arrangement, anything to get me to the Rochester area by 11 a.m. on Wednesday, July 14. I love a good challenge!

I made a phone call to let the appropriate folks know about the slight deviation in plans. Fortunately, I had a couple of really good options that got me there the next morning after a layover in Pittsburgh. I booked the flight, spent the night in Indianapolis and began "The Adventure" Wednesday morning.

Indy to Pittsburgh was great. We arrived just fine only to be delayed for weather. At 9:30 a.m., I made another phone call about the delay so details could be taken care of in Rochester. Still, everything was going great despite the weather delay.

During the layover I needed something to do, so I decided it would be a great time to transfer phone numbers into my new cell phone. I worked diligently on the phone numbers, and when my row was called to board the plane, down the jet-way I went. And then it happened.

At this point, I realized my wallet was missing. My head is reeling. I had it just a short while ago; it was sitting with one of my cell phones and my sunglasses in my hat. Everything else was there; just the wallet was missing. This could only happen to me.

The flight attendant refused to let me leave the plane as we were already delayed, but she went to look for the wallet. Two minutes later she returned empty-handed, so I pleaded with her to let me look. Finally, the pilot, having heard everything, told the attendant to let me off as he was not leaving the gate until I had looked myself. To that pilot: You rock. Thank you.

Of course, with close to 10 minutes gone, the wallet was nowhere to be found. I flew the entire hour to New York with that upset feeling. You know the one, and I hate it.

I got off the plane in Rochester and made a phone call. It was decided Ė as if I couldnít take care of this myself Ė that I needed to call my accountant to have everything canceled. The driverís license, well that was not a big deal as I would be in Las Vegas for a few days and have plenty of time to get a new ID.

OK, wait. It was a big deal. In order to get to Las Vegas, I needed to get on a plane and you canít get on a plane without ID. Crisis! Next stop, Rochester Airport Security. I explained my situation and they were great as they walked me through the steps I would take when I returned to the airport that night.

Feeling a lot more comfortable with my situation, I headed out to play laser tag with some promotion winners and media members in Rochester. The best part was, when I returned to the airport Wednesday night, it was exactly as they told me it would be. I love it when a plan is explained and stays the same.

And no, my wallet never turned up.

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