While Brendan Gaughan, driver of the No. 62 South Point Chevrolet, is pretty much an open book thanks to his regular appearances on the Sirius NASCAR radio channel, one thing that fans may not know about the charismatic driver is that he is an admitted Star Trek nerd.
Given that, the lanyard around his neck with the ‘Live Long and Prosper’ motto suits him perfectly and is exactly what the driver is experiencing this season with team Richard Childress Racing.
“All I’ve cared about in my career, whether Truck, Nationwide or Cup, is having good equipment,” Gaughan said. “If you have great equipment in this sport, life is easy.”
“I spent my career in decent equipment but at RCR, this is the first time that I’ve had great equipment and great people,” Gaughan continued. “So, for me, I don’t care what series, all that I have wanted is sitting here.”
“It just took me eight years of my career to find it.”
“So, I’m happy whether it is Truck or Nationwide and I am running Nationwide next week,” Gaughan said. “Every time you touch a car at RCR, you are going to be fast.”
“So when you come to the track, you smile,” Gaughan continued. “And when you come to the track, you have a sigh of relief because even when you come to the track experimenting and it doesn’t work, you just chuckle and say ‘Put the other stuff in and we will be fine.’
“I’m just so happy with the equipment.”
Gaughan is also living large and prospering thanks to his success at Eldora, with a top-five finish, and his hopeful success at Pocono Raceway this weekend.
“We all went to Eldora with cautious optimism,” Gaughan said. “We went into it not knowing formats and worrying that guys were going to spin every two laps and that it might end up being a bad show, but Eldora ended up being the coup of the 21st century so far for NASCAR.”
“It was a phenomenal event,” Gaughan continued. “The fans showed up.”
“The fifty-fifty drawing was $17,000 to a fan so that was amazing,” Gaughan said. “I told Tony Stewart right before the race that I wanted a couple of raffle tickets because it was more than I would win for winning the race.”
“On TV, it showed great,” Gaughan continued. “The format worked out really well for NASCAR.”
“You had passing and slide jobs and from inside the race car, it was a ton of fun.”
Gaughan is also hoping to live large and prosper at Pocono Raceway, which will be relatively new to him since he has never raced on the re-pave.
“I ran Cup here and then it was off the schedule,” Gaughan said of the ‘Tricky Triangle.’ “When they added it, I raced with Germain Racing in 2011 but this is my first time on the new asphalt.”
“The track is unique,” Gaughan continued. “Some people say this race sometimes gets boring but as a driver, it’s fun because you have three completely different corners.”
“That makes for a difficult day as a driver.”
“You’re working hard, your spotter can’t see a damn thing because he is a mile and half away with binoculars,” Gaughan said. “My favorite is when my spotter says ‘clear’ on a close call in turn one and you’re like, you are so full of crap.”
“You know he has got no clue and is just guessing.”
“It’s a fun race when you understand all of it,” Gaughan continued. “It’s a really neat race from a strategy perspective because you can almost run it backwards like a road course.”
Gaughan is also fond of the area around the race track and is especially effusive when it comes to the Pocono Raceway family ownership.
“I like the area,” Gaughan said. “I’m an outdoorsy type guy and this is just a really pretty area when it comes to that.”
“There’s four ski mountains here and Pocono is a pretty famous place.”
“And when you talk the track you can’t say anything but talking about the Mattioli family, who are one of the greatest all time owners in the sport,” Gaughan continued. “You have to like a place that has such great family history.”
Gaughan is also living large and prospering in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, where he currently sits seventh in the point standings, with his sights still set on a championship run.
So, what does Gaughan value the most about competing in the Truck Series?
“First, we had Eldora,” Gaughan said. “This is a series that NASCAR can get away experimenting with.”
“The trucks put on some of the best racing,” Gaughan continued. “The races are shorter and that fits into the shorter attention spans of the fans.”
“And because it is shorter, there is no room to ride.” Gaughan said. “You have to go and you have to make your moves early.”
“And then you beat and bang more than the Cup guys,” Gaughan continued. “You have a little less to lose so to speak and you can kind of get a little more aggressive.”
Gaughan also appreciates the battles between the veterans, of which he considers himself one, and the young up and comers in the Truck Series, which he feels makes the Series most unique.
“It’s fun watching the teenagers versus the Hornadays and the Todd Bodines,” Gaughan said. “In this series you have such a big age gap.”
“In Cup, you get the phenom and he gets the big ride and there is a ton of pressure and he doesn’t get to be himself,” Gaughan continued. “You come down here and oh my goodness, you get to see who the person really is.”
“You start in the Truck Series and you see great kids like a Ross Chastain, who is really trying to make it in the sport and you’ve got kids like James Buescher, who is finding his own way,” Gaughan said. “And you’ve got my teammates Ty and Austin (Dillon), who both have learned what they want to be without the pressure of being a Sprint Cup star.”
“It’s a fun series and NASCAR has done a great job of making it that home for those who want to have careers and start careers.”
Gaughan also is living large and prospering because he knows just how to balance having fun with the sport and putting on his game face when it is time to race. And even he admits that he still gets just a little bit nervous when it comes time to cinch his belts tight.
“I don’t like to use Bobby Knight much for quotes because I’m a John Thompson guy, but I like his famous quote of what is a game face and he may a bunch of goofy faces illustrating that,” Gaughan said. “Everybody has a different way that they take their competitiveness.”
“We all have our different rituals as to how we prepare and how we balance having our own personalities and putting the game face on when we are behind the wheel of our race trucks,” Gaughan continued. “But if you don’t have butterflies before every race, like I do, then it is time to hang it up because you are not getting excited anymore about your sport.”
“I still get butterflies every time and when I quit getting them, then I will know it’s time for me to think about moving on.”
But most of all, Gaughan is living large and prospering thanks to his family including his wife Tatum and two young sons.
“That is one of the most difficult things to do is to find that balance between racing and family life,” Gaughan said. “I try to bring the family along as much as I can but so much of it falls to my wife to make those arrangements and pack everybody up.”
“I’ve been lucky this year that I have a motor coach available to me and I try to bring my family to the track as much as possible,” Gaughan continued. “And that’s how I try to maintain my balance.”
So, does Brendan Gaughan think that he will continue to live long and prosper for the remainder of the 2013 season?
“I’ve been pleased with the season so far,” Gaughan said. “We have the most top-five finishes so far and we are definitely fast and we are not out of the championship hunt yet.”
“But overall, I just love my scuba diving and my family and I am just that every day nerd that hopes to ‘Live Long and Prosper.’