It really kind of stinks for the team the way the schedule is set us, because you don't get in a rhythm. You go one race, and you know, for the guy that wins at Daytona, it's great. He gets a month and half of being the only winner and the points leader. But for the rest of us, we want to get racing. With the RCR bunch, I was supposed to go to Las Vegas Motor Speedway. It was really smart on Richard's part; we took my whole truck team. Because the Truck Series was off, we took my truck team, and they were working on the car, and Danny Stockman and the No. 3 team in the Nationwide shop set the car up and then we took it and let our boys do the nuts and bolts. We took our truck, our trailer, and we sat in Las Vegas and watched it rain. That was a big bummer for all the boys. But that's part of the deal; no biggie. Now, we're having a busy stretch of testing. I'm sitting right now at Motor Mile in Radford, Virginia, testing all day. We leave Sunday for Texas Motor Speedway, so we're busy right now. It's not like we're just sitting on our butts saying, 'hmm, what do we do?' We're keeping busy and learning a bunch, but it does stink, because as a racer, you want to race. You want to get in a rhythm, you want to keep going, and you just kind of sit here going, 'Okay, well, I've got time off. My car chief took a vacation. One of our guys just had a baby, so it's nice for himâ¦' but all of us are sitting here thinking that we want to get to the track and race.
The Truck Series needs to have a couple more races. The real reason for that being the sponsors; we've got to give them value for their dollar, and 22 races is not enough to give the sponsor value. It didn't save us money; it didn't save the teams a whole bunch of money having three fewer races. NASCAR knows this, and they tried to add a couple races to the schedule. They're still trying. They didn't get it worked out. They added a road course, they added the dirt track, so they've taken some bold steps. We've heard they're going to add a new short track to the schedule next year. They'll probably gain a track somewhere, so we'll probably get back to the right number of races. That's all you can really do, just add races. We need about three or four more races for the trucks. There's a big gap here where you could add one or two. There's another gap where you could maybe add one. I don't think it's anything that's vital; it just isn't good from the sponsor end because we needs those races for sponsor value.
<div style=\"float:right; width:275px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14494.jpg\" width=\"275\" height=\"181\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Find out how Brendan Gaughan has spent the long early season truck series break. It's probably not what you expect!</p></div>
Our Chevy was fast at Daytona. It was way fast. It was a bummer. Everybody looks at it and some people say, \"what the hell, you're an idiot,\" and some people say they saw what happened. It depends on your point of view. I made a mistake on pit road that put us back further than we should have been. Then you only have one more stop to make the difference, and the guy that is pitting in the stall right in front of me happens to be two spots ahead of me on the race track. So, you want to get in front of him because that's the guy who gives you a good opening on pit road. I wanted to get by him, I set the deal up for about five laps. I kept watching Newberry, and the kid's never been to Daytona, so he's just trying to bide his time and be patient, but I kept making him look outside, and I made him open a hole. I was intentionally doing something to get him to open a hole. He opened the hole and I went through the hole. Once you're in the hole, I'm now basically at the mercy of somebody else to sit there and do the right thing. As soon as he felt me, he should have just moved back up, but he did not. And look, he'll never do that again.
There's a difference as a driver. If I'm at your rear bumper, just barely in there, yeah, I need to get out of there. If I'm pushing at your bumper, I'm not there. But if I'm at your rear tire, there's no more 'pretty much;' I'm there. So it's a deal where, he's a good kid, he made a mistake. You can say I got impatient, I got this or that. I had a reason to get there, and it wasn't impatience. I spent laps setting it up. It was just a racing thing. I got put in a bad spotâI put myself in a bad spot. He got in a spot where he could have got himself out of it, because once I committed, there's no getting out of there. There's no hitting brakes or anything like that. It's not a big deal. It was just a racing gig, that's all. It stinks for points, but we're going to go to Martinsville, my favorite place in the world, and we're going to go there and win a race.
We spent a lot of time during the offseason at our family's house in Colorado. We went up to Colorado and I had my 25-month-old skiing with me, and we went from the top of the mountain to the bottom. He's 25 months old and we went from the top of Vail Mountain to our house at the bottom. As a father, I don't know if there's any cooler of a feeling than watching your son accomplish something like that and being a part of that. It was so neat. I've been skiing since I was two and a half. It was just so invigorating to have my son and do that. It was neat. And then the new baby, there's a lot of sleepless nights, a lot of bottles and poopy diapers, but it's all worth it. It's all great.
Now it's race time, and they travel to a lot of races with me. I got a new sponsor, Alliance Coach. For the last couple of years, they gave me a coach for Daytona, because we're there for two weeks. Well, I finally talked them into giving me a deal for the year. The main reason for that is I can't expect Tatum and the babies to come and stay in a hotel if they're going to come watch a race. I've got to have a motor coach, a place for them to be. Alliance stepped up and gave me a sponsorship, and I go pick up my motor coach in a couple of days, and I'm excited about that. Now I get to have the babies at a bunch of races with me, and that makes me happy!
I'm a Dive Master for Lake Norman SCUBA. I do a whole lot of diving. As a matter of fact, I have a trip planned during one of our breaks, where I'm going out to this middle-of-nowhere island. I'm really excited about it. I'm taking the owners of Lake Norman SCUBA and a bunch of friends from Colorado and my wife, and the grandparents are going to watch the babies, and we're going to go do a big dive trip.
I'll dive anything. This place we're going to, there's no shipwrecks; it's all big animals. We're going in a season that has schooling hammerheads, whale sharks, giant Pacific raysâit's a big animal place. I tech dive; I'm a dive master, and I'm working on getting my instructor rating. I do a lot of diving and enjoy the hell out of it.
My favorite place to dive is this island called Soccoro Island. It's a protected area off of the Baja Peninsula in Mexico. It's like the Galapagos of Mexico. It's phenomenal. The giant Pacific manta rays are the most gorgeous animals you'll ever see. Shark diving is fun. Stephen Spielburg created a phenomenon that lives to this day. I love diving with sharks. There are a ton of sharks out there. We're hoping this year to see schooling hammerheads and whale sharks. I could go to heaven then, it would be amazing. It's unbelievable how the rays are. They're like dolphins almost; they're very social animals. They come and play with you forever, it's just really impressive. That's my favorite place to go right now. I'm a tech diver, and what tech diving means is that I can go past what's called the decompression limit of recreational diving. I can go deeper than that; 225 feet is my max depth right now. To do that, you carry four tanks, two on your back and two on your chest. I've been to the USS Oriskany that's off the coast of Florida. The cool thing about the Oriskany is that that's the boat that John McCain took off from when he got shot down in the Vietman War and became a POW. I've been inside it, we penetrated the wreck, and I've gone to the bottom of it at 220 feet down. I love tech diving. It's a phenomenal time. I love my diving. If I can be underwater or on a mountain skiing, that's where you'll find me.
There's a new Star Wars movie coming out in 2015. Lucas is a genius. He took some heat over the first three movies, so he got mad and sold the rights to Disney. They're probably the only company that has the money to do that correctly. I love the director; I do know the storylines and what they're supposed to be like. I can't wait to see what it's going to look like on film. I'm pumped. I can't wait until they come out. To watch them filmed would be another one of those heaven-type moments. It's cool. I'm waiting for them I think it's going to be done well, and they have the right people doing it. In this world, it doesn't matter if you're a race car driver or a movie producer, you need the right people.
Those deals are so cool. I'm just a geek like that. Have you seen my race helmet? It's called the Nerd Machine helmet. If you watched the TV show _Chuck_, it was a TV show about a computer geek that became a spy and a computer got put in his head. He worked for the Nerd Herd, which was like the Geek Squad, but he was just this everyday computer geek that became a CIA agent. I've had a chance to meet him, the guy that owns this, and they have a Website called the Nerd Machine. I'm a big dork. I'm a _Chuck_ nerd, I'm a Comic-Con kind of guy, and I've got the Nerd Machine logo on my helmet.
*Connect with Brendan Gaughan!*
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About the author
Amy is an 18-year veteran NASCAR writer and a five-time National Motorsports Press Association (NMPA) writing award winner, including first place awards for both columns and race coverage. As well as serving as Photo Editor, Amy writes The Big 6 (Mondays) after every NASCAR Cup Series race. She can also be found filling in from time to time on The Frontstretch 5 (Wednesdays) and her monthly commentary Holding A Pretty Wheel (Thursdays). A New Hampshire native living in North Carolina, Amy’s work credits have extended everywhere from driver Kenny Wallace’s website to Athlon Sports. She can also be heard weekly as a panelist on the Hard Left Turn podcast that can be found on AccessWDUN.com's Around the Track page.
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