The Frontstretch: 2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Brendan Gaughan by Amy Henderson -- Monday December 9, 2013

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2013 NASCAR Driver Review: Brendan Gaughan

Amy Henderson · Monday December 9, 2013

 

2013 Ride: No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet
2013 Primary Sponsor: South Point Hotel & Casino
2013 Owner: Richard Childress
2013 Crew Chief: Shane Wilson

Stats: 22 races; 0 wins; 10 top-5 finishes; 13 top-10 finishes; 1 DNF; average finish 11.6; Seventh on NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points
Best Finish: 2nd (Charlotte, Martinsville-II)

Brendan Gaughan

2012 Team Ranking: 2nd of 2. It’s hard to be No. 1 when the other guy is the team owner’s grandson. The real reason Gaughan didn’t rank higher in points and within the team was the goose egg in the win column—Gaughan had a great season (a little perspective about how competitive the Truck Series is: Gaughan’s average finish was 11.6 and he finished seventh in points. Jimmie Johnson had an average finish of 11.2 and won the Sprint Cup title while finishing less than a full position better) but wasn’t quite able to break through with a win. A run of bad luck late in the season sealed his fate.

High Point: Rockingham-Texas I. In that five-race stretch, Gaughan’s worst finish was fifth place, and he left Texas third in driver points.

Low Point: Bristol-Chicagoland. For four weeks late in the season, the No. 62 team couldn’t buy any luck. It wasn’t just the bad luck that was frustrating for Gaughan and his team, though; it was the way it happened-a series of unlikely part failures and just plain strange circumstances. The finishes (16th, 18th, 24th, 25th) weren’t indicative of how Gaughan was running—he was inside of at least the top 10 and was looking for some great finishes.

Summary: Gaughan entered 2013 with high expectations. He and Shane Wilson were reunited, and there was reason to be optimistic. The last time the two had worked together, in 2003, Gaughan came within a handful of laps of the CWTS title before a questionable move by the teammate of another contender ended his race and his season. (Want the whole story on that race and Gaughan’s outlook on 2013? Check out this edition of Beyond the Cockpit for all the details!)

There was plenty of reason for optimism. Gaughan and Wilson had top notch equipment from RCR, and both had a decade of experience under their belts.

The season opener at Daytona didn’t go the way Gaughan hoped, as he was caught in a crash. He finished 12th at Martinsville, and then kicked off a string of top-five finishes at Rockingham, making it clear that the No. 62 team was strong and a threat for race wins and the title.

The CWTS schedule is notoriously spotty, and it looked at a couple of points that the team had trouble getting into a rhythm, but they also continued to show that they were capable of putting up top-5 and top-10 finishes almost at will when things were going right.

A fifth-place run at Eldora kicked off three straight top 10’s as summer wore on, but the win was still missing, and would remain elusive for the remainder of the season, though the team rebounded from a rough stretch after Chicagoland, finishing the season with four top 5’s and five top 10’s in the final six races.

The only think lacking for Gaughan in 2013 was consistency. The trucks were fast, and he and Wilson clicked for the second time in their respective careers.

Off the race track, Gaughan enjoyed time with his family whenever he had the chance. Gaughan and his wife Tatum have two young sons, so many off-weeks were geared toward family outings. Gaughan is also an avid SCUBA diver (and is a certified instructor), and found some time to unwind on a diving trip to Mexico. (For more about Gaughan’s season, be sure to check out his Frontstretch driver diaries!)

2014 Outlook: Gaughan and Wilson will undertake a new challenge in 2014 as they move to the NASCAR Nationwide Series and hope to contend for that series title. Some members of their 2013 team will also make the move. The car will be the No. 62 (Gaughan picked the number earlier in his career because it was his older brother’s football number) with primary sponsorship from South Point.

Gaughan will go into the season with a shot at the series title. In order to stay a contender, he’ll need to win races. He’s capable, and Wilson is equally able to get to victory lane. If they can put it all together, look for a strong season.

2012 Frontstretch.com Grade: N/A.
2013 Grade: B: Gaughan’s overall performance was solid, with a few stretches that were stellar. What was lacking was not talent or equipment, but consistency.

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