Brendan Gaughan is not retiring.
No, he doesn’t know whether he will return in 2018 for another full-time season at Richard Childress Racing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Regardless, ‘retirement’ is not an option.
“Here’s the deal, no matter what, I will race forever. When someone uses the word ‘retirement’ – people love to throw that word out with me – you can say that all you want, but I will never be done racing,” Gaughan, 42, said Tuesday in Charlotte, N.C., at an event promoting the start of the Xfinity Series playoffs.
“My father still races one race a year. We race because we love to race. If I don’t race full-time, I promise you, you’ll still find me behind the wheel. I’ve already told the Beard Motorsports folks that I for sure will be doing the four (restrictor-plate) Cup races with them next year.
“So no matter what, ‘retirement’ is never a word that will fit for me.”
This has been Gaughan’s fourth full-time season with RCR in the Xfinity Series. He won two races in 2014 and finished eighth in the series standings – his best season so far.
Although he hasn’t won a race this season, he still qualified for the 12-driver Xfinity playoffs based on points along with his RCR teammate, Daniel Hemric.
Gaughan enters the playoff opener Saturday night at Kentucky Speedway as the 11th seed, 22 points behind top-seed William Byron.
One thing that has changed with Gaughan’s age is his appreciation of the opportunity to compete for a NASCAR championship.
“I love this new format. I think this new format really breathes life into guys like me. You can have those few mistakes,” Gaughan said. “In the old days, we’d be sitting here talking and (regular season champion) Elliott (Sadler) would have a big points lead and maybe a couple guys would have a real chance to battle him for it.
“It was few and far between when you had years like 2003 in Trucks when you had four guys going to the last race with a legitimate chance to win the championship. I think this playoff format has done a lot to invigorate not just the fans, not just the media but even the drivers.
“Any other year we’d be sitting here talking about what we’re going to do better at next year. Now we’re saying, ‘The playoffs are here. We got a chance to win this thing.’ ”