Unlike Kyle Busch, Brendan Gaughan is a Las Vegas native who doesn't get attention very often. Maybe that has to do with one being a two-time Cup Series champion and the other never managing to win a race at the Cup level, but it's safe to say that Kyle Busch is the more known name. With that being said, and time starting to run out in Gaughan's career, will his name be remembered?
While Gaughan never found victory lane in the NASCAR Cup Series, he was a two-time champion in NASCAR's K&N West series in 2001 and 2002. He also rose as high as fourth in the Gander Mountain Outdoor Truck series and racked up a total of eight wins there. Of course, his Xfinity Series and Cup Series career wouldn't go as far, but he was a solid man with a lot of promise in the beginning.
Where did it all go wrong, though? What was that penultimate flashpoint moment that sent Gaughan's career from Gander Mountain Outdoor Truck series winner to barley managing to finish races in the Cup Series? That moment can be found in 2003 when Gaughan was on the verge of winning his first championship.
Unfortunately for Gaughan, he wrecked out of the final race that year and fell to fourth in the points. Not only would this be the last time that he would finish in the top-ten at that level, but it would also be the beginning of a very frustrating career for him.
Now, it wasn't all clouds and rain, as Gaughan managed to squeak out two wins at the Xfinity Series level, but never rose above eighth in the series standings. Again, he was a very consistent driver in good equipment and knew how to points race; he just never possessed that killer instinct that allowed him to soar at NASCAR's top levels.
And when he did have that level of equipment in the Truck Series, he blew it with a last-second race that handed the championship to Ted Musgrave. He then followed that up by spinning out while in the lead during a Cup Series race and finishing 34th. As for his Truck Series ventures, Gaughan finished 19th in standings after leaving his father's team and failing to win a single race.
If nothing else, him leaving his father's team had to be the final nail in the coffin of his Truck Series career. He was showing promising finishes in The Xfinity Series during this time; he just couldn't seem to find the right opportunity.
He did win two races in 2013 and showed some promising signs of a playoff run during that time in The Xfinity Series, but failed to have the consistency he needed. He ended up finishing 8th that year and followed that up with a 9th place finish the next year.
Gaughan currently competes part-time in NASCAR Cup Series for Beard Motorsports and has even had a top-five finish this year at Daytona International Speedway.
If nothing else, Gaughan had all the promise in the world, he just never had that ability to come up clutch.