Gaughan unapologetic after Texas fight

Jeff Birchfield • Updated Nov 7, 2017 at 7:16 PM


Brendan Gaughan is one of the most fun-loving drivers in NASCAR, but he’s also one of the sport’s most intense competitors.

That was evident last Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway when he and fellow driver Ross Chastain got into a fight following the Xfinity Series O’Reilly 200.

Chastain told veteran motorsports reporter Dustin Long of NBC Sports that their trouble started when both drivers tried to pass a slower car on the backstretch. With track position at a premium, neither driver was about to back off, and when Chastain tried to take a line to arc from the bottom of the track, Gaughan wasn’t about to give him room.

He felt Gaughan was out to wreck him from that point on, although Gaughan said his aggravation and the ensuing altercation wasn’t about just one incident. Gaughan, who won Stage 2 of the race, ultimately finished 17th, just two spots ahead of Chastain with both drivers a lap down.

“It isn’t the first issue we’ve had or the first issue others have had (with him),” Gaughan said in an interview shared by Sirius XM Radio. “I finally just had enough. Should I have done something different? Maybe, but at this point of my life, I don’t care. I got a lot of text messages from our peers who seem to be happy. But, we move on and racing goes on.”

There is definite generational gap with Gaughan, 42 years old, and Chastain, 18 years younger. Chastain commented to Long that the way Gaughan was driving, he didn’t want to collect his life insurance policy at 24 years old. Gaughan isn’t a fan of how Chastain and some other young drivers communicate through the media and through technology after an on-track issue.“These millennials love to talk and text,” Gaughan said. “This was taught to me by Butch Miller, by Parnelli Jones, the old greats. If you have a problem, you get eye-to-eye contact. Let them know if it was accidental, intentional or whatever.”

Gaughan gave an example of how he approached another young driver, Dylan Lupton, after the race with the way he thinks those situations should be handled.

“Dylan Lupton pinned me down and our Chevy was a little loose and we spun,” Gaughan said. “I clipped his rear end and he spun. Neither one of us wrecked and we drove away. I went to him after the race, gave him a big hug, and said, ‘Great save.’ I like to have that face time and go hash it out that way. I guess I’m a little older than others.”

In their case, Chastain said things were said beyond just cuss words and he was trying to get out of the car when Gaughan started swinging. Gaughan, who as a basketball player at Georgetown was a roommate of another passionate athlete, Allen Iverson, said he will live with whatever decision NASCAR has on the matter. Asked about being penalized or put on probation, Gaughan referenced one of NASCAR’s most famous fights between Bobby Allison and Cale Yarborough after the 1979 Daytona 500.

“It was nothing other than grown men being grown men,” Gaughan said. “That’s up to NASCAR (about penalties or probations). They make their rules and I will follow their rules. It’s their sandbox and you do what they say. Had there not been the fateful Daytona race and everyone was snowed in on the East Coast with the big fight, NASCAR might not be as big as it is now.”

Starting times set for Bristol

NASCAR has released starting times for the 2018 Monster Energy Cup Series races. The Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway is set for 2 p.m. on April 15 and will be broadcast on FOX. The Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Aug. 18. Instead of one of the series’ most popular races to be on broadcast TV, it will be shown on NBC Sports Network.

Virginia is for Winners

Logan Roberson from Waynesboro, Va., led all 51 laps of the inaugural Tennessee Crate Nationals at Volunteer Speedway last Saturday night.

Corey Hedgecock finished second and Jesse Lowe was third, followed by five-time Volunteer track champion Vic Hill.

Jensen Ford of Jonesborough led the local drivers with a seventh-place finish. Bobby Mays of Jonesborough was 20th, followed by Johnson City’s Tim Maupin in 22nd. Two-time track champion Tim Byrd of Jonesborough didn’t transfer from the B-Main.

Other winners were: Jed Emert (Sportsman Late Model) of Maryville, Chris Rickett (Modified Street) of Morristown, Don Adams (Open Wheel Modified) of London, Ky., and John Stevens (Classic) of Wallin Creek, Ky.

Hot Summer Nights

Gary Henry of Fall Branch had two wins this season and finished second in points in the Hot Summer Nights Supercross Series in the 40+ division.

Other runner-up finishes by local riders included: Brooke Brown (Women 85cc) of Laurel Bloomery and Johnson City’s Brock Ragan (two 51cc classes) and Riley Cash (51cc multi-speed).

Local riders who finished third in their classes included: Draven Greene (250C) of Elizabethton, Ian Clark (450C) of Telford, Nick Dunbar (CollegeBoy Am) of Limestone, Mike Hensley (30+) of Gray, Logan Reeser (85-150cc) of Johnson City, Jerry Gillis (ATV Novice) of Limestone and Gray’s Andrew Carver (85cc Beginner).

Among the youngest riders, Evan Hayworth (65cc 10-11) of Piney Flats, Brayden Phillips (51cc Open) of Unicoi and Elizabethton’s Lane Cash (51cc Multi-Speed) all had third-place finishes.

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