Gaughan's racing is no longer all in the family
By JEFF WOLF
The former headquarters for South Point Racing is quiet today.
After nearly 10 years, there is no rush to get a truck ready for Saturday night's NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
There will not be an open house for fans to stop by on their way to the speedway, which is a couple hundred yards away.
For the past several years, the immaculate and massive shop served as a hub for major NASCAR events in town.
Brendan Gaughan, whose family owned and operated the team through last season, decided late last year to discontinue the team because major sponsorship could not be obtained.
"We hadn't had a sponsor for a long time," he said. "Dad spent a lot on the team. I was working hard trying to get as much money as I could, and I was putting a lot into it to keep the team going."
He won't rule out having a NASCAR team one day and putting it in Las Vegas, but for now he and his family -- especially his father, Michael Gaughan -- can enjoy races without worrying about a team owner's bottom line.
"It's sad not to see the shop running and not being able to open it up for fans, but life goes on," Brendan Gaughan said.
"It's nice to not have to worry about some aspects of running your own team, but a side of me still likes the business side of racing."
When Gaughan starts Saturday night's Qwik Liner Las Vegas 350 on the 1.5-mile tri-oval, it will be the first time he races a truck his family doesn't own at his home track.
The only truck race he missed was when he left to drive full time in the Sprint Cup Series in 2004, which is the year after he won six truck races, including the one in Las Vegas.
After the team closed, Gaughan, 33, and several members of his team joined Tom Mitchell's Circle Bar Racing team near Charlotte, N.C.
"I'm still driving for a family-owned team, it's just not my family," he said. "My daddy and I are getting along a lot better now. And my accountant loves me a lot more."
Gaughan, who has eight wins in the series but none since 2003, is 14th in truck points with two top-five finishes. His teammate, Rick Crawford, is fourth with one win this season.
"Fortunately for me, Rick Crawford and the Circle Bar team picked me up and let me bring a bunch of my guys including (crew chief) Bryan Berry.
"Not one of my guys was ever out of work, and we paid them until they found jobs."
He basks in the accomplishments of the South Point Racing team, which had been called Orleans Racing before that.
Gaughan's broad smile widened when he bragged about proving to the NASCAR world that a team based in the West could win.
"We proved that. Nobody thought we could," he said. "I have a business plan in my head that could base a NASCAR team in Las Vegas and make money doing it."
That thought might have ended the new love affair with his accountant.
Not to mention his family.
Contact reporter Jeff Wolf at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0247.