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Long Gaughan: Brendan’s star rising

Nov 19, 2002 8:54 AM

   What will Brendan Gaughan do next? The Las Vegan, driving full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, won Rookie of the Year honors last Friday following the season finale in Miami.

   The achievement is just one more on the long list of Gaughan's accomplishments. Everything seems to come so easy for the multi-talented personality of motorsports.

   Gaughan is the son of Coast Resorts President Michael Gaughan and grandson to Jackie Gaughan, one of Las Vegas' pioneers in the gaming industry. The youngest Gaughan found his calling at early age.

 “My dad used to take me out to the desert races with him, and that's where it all began,” he said.

“When I first got involved in off-road racing, I didn't even have a driver's license. I had to be driven out to the racetrack. I think my dad finally took me seriously when I won that first desert race, and he's been very supportive ever since.”

   Gaughan went on to win five championship titles from 1992-99. Remarkably, during that same time period Gaughan was going to Georgetown University in Washington D.C.  Gaughan played four years on John Thompson's basketball squad that won two Big East regular season titles and went to the NCAA tournament each season. Brendan was also an all-conference football selection.

   Gaughan’s NASCAR debut in the Craftsman Truck Series came in 1997 and it channeled his attention towards the Winston West Series the next year. In 1999 he went full-time into Winston West racing and finished 13th. Gaughan ran a handful of truck races, but his burst onto the scene was helped tremendously when gaining sponsorship from NAPA Auto Parts.

 Two years ago, Gaughan won the Winston West title and followed that up with another championship in 2001. His three top-10 finishes in a limited run of five truck series races drew offers to drive in the Busch Series following the 2001 season.

   Gaughan, however, chose a different route. The decision was made to compete at the highest of levels in the Truck Series on a full time basis in 2002. Brendan swept both races in Texas and ended the season in 11th place with five top five finishes in 22 races.

   Next year, Gaughan is planning to stay in the Craftsman truck series and may attempt to enter a Winston Cup car for a few races, most likely California and Las Vegas.

   “We're going to find a primary sponsor, get more money than we had this year and come out ready to win a NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship in 2003.”

   As Gaughan has shown throughout his entire life, don't bet against him to win the title.