"I've spent almost my whole career with Dodge Motorsports," Gaughn states. "When I started, Dodge had no real racing entity other than with Walker Evans. We were the closest thing to a Dodge-supported deal at the time. My engine builder, Kevin Kroyer, built the Dodge Viper V-10s. Dodge gave us this thing and said we needed to make it work. Kevin tweaked it for three years, and we used it in our desert trucks. Can you imagine a Viper motor in a desert truck? When Dodge came to us in 2001 and said they wanted us to be a part of their team, Kevin went to Detroit to the Chrysler Training Center, and there, downstairs in the engineering rooms, were pictures of our old desert trucks with the Viper motors in them. All of our stuff is still down there, and I want to be the next guy to win a championship for Dodge. I won a championship in 1995 in the CORE off-road series, and I would like to bring another one back. That would be a big deal for me."
Truck Champ?Not all the bets are down on the '03 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship, but Gaughn is sure to be a player right to the final race at Miami. In Gaughn's mind, a Truck Series title would be the winning ticket to a personal goal of competing in Winston Cup.
"I think the Truck Series is better than the Busch Series in terms of trying to get to the next level-Winston Cup," says Gaughn. "I don't really want to go to the Busch Series if I don't have to. If I get a great ride, I would. I'm not saying the Busch Series is bad, but we've spent a lot of time, money, blood, sweat, and tears building this Truck team, and I think it gets you just as ready to get to Winston Cup as the Busch Series does. I'm going to stick with this until I get the right deal."
Speaking of the right deal, Gaughn also sees his long-term future in the gaming business as well. "The casino business is something that I would like to start before I retire as a racer," says Gaughn about his life plan. "I'd like to be at a point where I have enough time that I can start watching some casino stuff. If that's something with my dad, or doing something on my own, we'll just have to wait and see. I want to enhance my skills in the gaming business and then venture out on my own, but I definitely want to do that before I retire from racing."
You can bet on it.
From B-Ball To High BanksBrendan GaughnOK, how does a short guy from Las Vegas wind up on one of the premiere college basketball teams in the land-and as a roommate to superstar Allen Iverson? According to NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughn, it was more of an accident than anything.
"I actually went to Georgetown to play football," he says. "Coach Bob Benson is a great guy, and he is still there today. Everyone wants to talk to me about Georgetown basketball and Coach John Thompson, but football is what got me to Georgetown. It was the school's first year of 1AA competition. They had been a Division III school for a lot of years, but the NCAA made a rule that if you have a 1AA program, all of your programs had to be 1AA or you would have to drop them. Georgetown helped form the MAAC Conference, and Georgetown's first year of 1AA football was my freshman year.
"I was a better field-goal kicker than anything, and Coach Benson called and wanted to know if I wanted to play. I had been hurt in high school and had pretty much given up on football, but he gave me a shot. My first year at Georgetown, I was named to the MACC All Conference as a field-goal kicker, and we went to the Bermuda Bowl. We got to go to Bermuda for a football game. How cool was that?
"When football season ended, I was sitting in my dorm room one day and the phone rang, and it was Coach Thompson. He knew I was there because he was a business associate of my father's, and he had checked on me when I got to school that fall to make sure my class schedule was right. Anyway, he wanted to know what time my last class was and that I had better be in his gym five minutes after it was over. I was thinking this wasn't good.
I walked into the gym not knowing what to expect. Coach Thompson stopped practice, introduced me to the team, and sent me upstairs to put a jersey on. Because of injuries, the team was down to nine players, and they couldn't even hold a five-on-five scrimmage or practice. Coach needed a practice player. He needed a body, and he needed someone he knew would fit the Georgetown mold and follow the rules. I fit the bill and played as a practice player the first year, and was a member of the team my junior and senior year.
"I never expected that to happen. I mean, give me a break. Look at me. I'm short and slow. I played high school basketball but didn't play my last year and a half. I never fathomed playing basketball at Georgetown. C'mon, this is National Championships, Big East Championships, NCAA tournament every year. These are great athletes, great ball players. To do what I did and have the experiences I had at Georgetown-both in football and basketball-was pretty incredible and something I will always treasure and never forget."