DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.
Sunday was one of the biggest days in Brendan Gaughan's life but he acted like it was just another day at another race with family and friends.
It's hard to be in awe of anything or anyone when you grew up in Las Vegas as the grandson of casino pioneer Jackie Gaughan and son of Michael Gaughan, Coast Resorts chairman.
And he's used to success in racing and other sports. He was a football kicker at Bishop Gorman High School, and went on to play football and basketball at Georgetown.
"I do not live in a realistic world," the 28-year-old Gaughan said. "I grew up in Las Vegas and as a 5-9 white kid played basketball at Georgetown and have two Big East championship rings.
"This is just another day in my life."
Playing college basketball with NBA All-Star Allen Iverson for coach John Thompson had him in the spotlight before he decided to become a professional race-car driver.
He has also won championships in every series in which he has competed for a full year, including Craftsman Trucks.
Now he's in the major leagues of racing -- the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series -- driving for the legendary Roger Penske, with sponsorship provided by Kodak.
Sunday was his first day as a full-time driver in the series, and while he finished a respectable 19th in the Daytona 500, he certainly seemed to enjoy the day.