Gaughan savors part-time ride in Sprint Cup Series

Brendan Gaughan longed to get back in a Sprint Cup car, but didn’t receive the kind of offers from race teams that he thought could help him achieve success at NASCAR’s highest level.

The right offer finally came, and Gaughan will drive four Cup races for Richard Childress Racing, including the Kobalt Tools 400 on March 11 at his hometown track, Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

“For eight years, I’ve waited for a second chance,” Gaughan said Thursday. “In our sport, you don’t often get second chances. I’ve waited for an opportunity. I’ve tried to make my opportunity.”

Other than one start in 2010, the former Georgetown basketball player hasn’t driven in a Cup race since competing in 36 events in 2004, when Gaughan had one top-five finish and four top-10s.

Gaughan’s first ride this season in the No. 33 Chevrolet, primarily sponsored by the South Point, will be at Phoenix the week before Las Vegas. He also will drive in 10 Nationwide Series races, including the Sam’s Town 300 on March 10 at LVMS, and eight Camping World Truck events, including Sept. 29 at LVMS.

Having an opportunity to drive a Cup car at the speedway is especially meaningful because of the strong local support his family-owned South Point has received, Gaughan said.

“This is available because the South Point is doing well,” he said. “This is the reason I’m here, because of Las Vegas.”

■ SCHEDULE CHANGE — The trucks race at LVMS, previously scheduled for Oct. 13, was moved to Sept. 29.

The race had been scheduled to be the day before the IndyCar race, but that Oct. 14 event was canceled over concern regarding the LVMS track conditions for open-wheel cars following Dan Wheldon’s death in October.

“Running the race on Oct. 13 would have necessitated a daytime event in order not to go head-to-head with the Saturday night Sprint Cup race in Charlotte (N.C.) on the same day,” LVMS president Chris Powell said in a statement. “The date switch allows us to run the event under the lights, and that allows more people to attend the race. We appreciate NASCAR’s working with us to make this change.”

■ EATING DIRT — The Mint 400, which is March 23 to 25 on a new course in Jean, has joined the Best in the Desert American Off-Road Racing Series.

The event, revived in 2008 after a 20-year absence, was part of the Southern Nevada Off-Road Enthusiasts series.

The Mint 400 also is under new ownership by the Martelli brothers, who are partners in a marketing and production group called Mad Media.

Contact reporter Mark Anderson at or 702-387-2914. Follow him on Twitter: @markanderson65.

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