NASCAR Driver And SCUBA Diver Brendan Gaughan To Be At The Tennessee Aquarium July 8

Monday, June 30, 2014 - by Thom Benson

Brendan Gaughan’s thrilling NASCAR Nationwide Series (NNS) recent victory in the Gardner Denver 200 road race was listed as one of NASCAR’s Top 5 highlights for the week of June 21st. This was Mr. Gaughan’s first NNS victory, an especially challenging checkered flag that was captured in wet conditions.

With 15 races down and 18 tracks ahead of him, including an Aug. 22, appearance at Bristol Motor Speedway, “The Last Great Colosseum,” Mr. Gaughan is looking forward to every opportunity to unwind between tracks.

So what does a NASCAR driver do to relax? As a certified SCUBA divemaster, Mr. Gaughan enjoys spending time underwater. So he’s taking Tuesday, July 8 off as a day to relax between races - by diving with the Tennessee Aquarium’s sharks in downtown Chattanooga. Mr. Gaughan will be the featured guest diver during the 11 a.m. Secret Reef dive show. “My life is very aggressive and fast paced. One of the great things about SCUBA diving is that it gives me the opportunity to slow down and just live in that moment,” Mr. Gaughan said. “It is such a peaceful, safe sport that I enjoy sharing with my family. I can’t wait to share this unique experience at the Tennessee Aquarium with everyone.”

While most people might fear sharks and worry about their “killer attitude,” Mr. Gaughan knows the truth about sharks. The Aquarium’s toothy Sand Tiger and Sandbar Sharks might be somewhat friendlier than the other drivers he faces on the Nationwide Series.

“I feel much safer next to a Sand Tiger Shark than I do next to some of my competitors,” Mr. Gaughan said. “On the track I have to get to know my competitors to find out who the Great Whites are and who the Nurse Sharks are. When I’m in the ocean I know that most sharks are peaceful creatures. Unfortunately, many television programs haven’t done these animals any favors. They frequently make them out to be ferocious, man-eating animals, but they aren’t.”

Following his appearance in the Secret Reef, Mr. Gaughan will spend some time in the Ocean Journey building signing autographs and greeting his fans. Hopefully many will also become shark fans after meeting the only NASCAR driver / SCUBA diver to plunge into the Tennessee Aquarium’s shark tank. Mr. Gaughan would like to see more people who are eager to learn more about these important apex predators. “It’s sad and devastating what humans have done to them,” Mr. Gaughan said. “Every year a substantial number of sharks are killed. I’d like to think that when people come to places like the Tennessee Aquarium, to see and appreciate these amazing creatures, they get excited about helping them. Hopefully, increased awareness leads to additional conservation measures to save sharks before it’s too late.”

As part of Bristol Motor Speedway Day, guests will get a special Aquarium admission discount when they mention Bristol at the Ticketing Center. Visitors will also be able to take pictures with a NASCAR Nationwide Series show car and the Bristol Motor Speedway pace car which will be displayed on the Tennessee Aquarium Plaza.

Mr. Gaughan and other NASCAR drivers again set their sights toward enduring the high-banks of Bristol on Aug 20, 22-23. IRWIN Tools Night Race tickets start at just $75 and weekend-ticket packages for the World’s Fastest Half-Mile are available for as low as $99 by calling 423-BRISTOL or by visiting www.BristolTix.com . 

Aquarium fans can discover more about sharks during SharkFest on Friday, Aug. 1.


Blue Ridge Scenic Railway Excursion To Benefit Kennesaw Museum Foundation, Southern Museum

The  Blue Ridge Scenic Railway and the Kennesaw Museum Foundation are teaming up to raise money in support of the Southern Museum of Civil War & Locomotive History. Proceeds from the Blue Ridge Scenic Railway excursion on  Saturday, March 28 , will benefit the museum ’s educational programs.   The excursion departs downtown ... (click for more)

Humpback Whales 3D Makes A Giant Splash At IMAX

There are 78 whale species in the world but, among them all, Humpback Whales are unique. They’re the only whales that sing.   Specifically, it’s the males that do the crooning which occurs primarily during the mating season. Their haunting melodies are complex and get repeated over and over. The compositions often change, yet all of the singers in one population seem to ... (click for more)

Thornhill Charged In February 2013 Burning Death Of Lucius Moss On Wilcox Boulevard

Ellis Bell Thornhill, 38, has been indicted by the Hamilton County Grand Jury on first-degree murder charges in the Feb. 7, 2013, death of 37-year-old Lucius Moss. His body was found inside a burned duplex at 1802 Wilcox Blvd. Thornhill is also facing charges of especially aggravated kidnapping, aggravated arson, aggravated assault and abuse of a corpse. The Chattanooga Fire ... (click for more)

Woman Stabbed By Husband In Dalton Dies From Her Wounds

A woman who Dalton Police say was stabbed Thursday by her husband has died of her injuries.   Glenda Dyer had been transported to Hamilton Medical Center. She initially was listed in stable condition.   The incident happened at the couple's home at 1603 Elaine Way.   Police said a murder charge will be added to the counts already facing ... (click for more)

Net Neutrality: The Beginning Of The End Or Just A New Beginning?

“The Internet is simply too important to be left without rules and without a referee on the field,” says Tom Wheeler, chairman of the Federal Communications Commission, “Today’s order is more powerful and more expansive than any previously suggested.”  The FCC’s vote for so-called Net Neutrality purports to allow the agency to regulate the Internet as a public utility.  ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Cameras Or Subterfuge?

State Rep. Andy Holt (R-Dresden) is an easy-to-like member of the Tennessee Legislature and the fact he is teaming with state senator Todd Gardenhire (R-Chattanooga) to rid the state of its loathsome traffic cameras is indeed a wonderful thing. The legislative action is long overdue, with the biggest winners being the out-of-state camera companies. That alone is just about all you ... (click for more)