By David Morgan, Associate Editor
TALLADEGA, Ala. – After the checkered flag flew in Sunday’s GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway, Brendan Gaughan couldn’t help but smile, noting how much fun he just had driving his way to an eighth-place finish on the day with his underdog team.
“I was telling the guys, ‘I don’t know what y’all think is so tough about this. I show up once every three months and drive into the top-10!’ This stuff is easy,” Gaughan said. “I miss this sport. It is a lot of fun. I don’t miss it enough to want to be here every week… It was pretty damn impressive.
“Thank you to the Beard Family, Richard Childress and ECR. I’m here four times a year because of the Beards and we end up with a chance to win every time we show up. I love driving for this team. It was unbelievable out there at the end of that race. I tucked up and stayed up under Ryan Newman. I sat on the bottom and tried to go forward. I’ll take eighth today.”
Gaughan’s top-10 marks the sixth of his career and second while driving the No. 62 entry for Beard Motorsports, which only enters the restrictor plate races at Talladega and Daytona. That fact did not escape Gaughan, who noted that the team has limited resources at their disposal, but doesn’t lack effort when they make it to the race track.
“For a little team, we have three race cars,” Gaughan added. “Two that are put together and we started with one two years ago. Now with another top-10 for these guys, this is so much fun. I love driving for this family.
“I can’t say enough about the Beard family themselves. They’re just racers. They’re not trying to be here to make money. They’re not trying to be here to take the purse money and say they broke even. They are losing their tails on this, but they’ve got their customers here. That’s what you do it for when we put on a show like that. Man, that’s a W for this family.”
With the strong runs that Gaughan and his team seem to put up at the races they enter, it begs the question: What would happen if they were to find their way to Victory Lane sometime in the future? The Las Vegas native had an answer for that.
“If I do get to Victory Lane (drops bottle to mimic a mic drop), bye! It’s awesome,” Gaughan said. “The good thing is you have to be there. And when we show up, we are there, so that’s the good thing. Everybody knows at the end of these races, the 62 is something to watch out for.
“One of these days, we’ll hopefully be in the right position. I don’t know how many more I’ve got left in me, but I know this definitely takes years off the old life when you do that. It’s so much fun.”
While the end result was a top-10 finish on the day, Gaughan had to start at the rear of the field due to missing Saturday’s qualifying session as he was back home in Nevada attending to a family event he couldn’t miss. The team called upon defending NASCAR Xfinity Series champion Tyler Reddick to pinch hit and Gaughan couldn’t say enough about the young Richard Childress Racing driver stepping in as a substitute.
“I had a little bit of Tyler Reddick luck, he rubbed off on me,” Gaughan said. “It was awesome. He won that (Xfinity) race, came in a qualified for me, gave us some publicity for the Beard family…This is just a team that has a couple of race cars, like I said, and they’ve got Tyler Reddick, the reigning Xfinity Series champion and the reigning winner of the race two seconds earlier to come over and qualify my car.
“That was awesome of Tyler. He’s a great kid. So proud of that win and thank you for what he did. We had a heck of a rocket ship and he didn’t hurt it, so I’ll take it.”