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.


Willkommen To Rock City's 9th Annual German Festival

Rock City invites the public to c elebrate fall on the mountain with gorgeous scenery and a festival atmosphere honoring Rock City’s German heritage.  Rocktoberfest opens this Saturday from 8:30 a.m.-5 p.m. at Rock City and continues every Saturday and Sunday throughout the month.  This year, kids can set out on a scavenger hunt in search of the Fall Fairy’s magical ... (click for more)

Titans Of The Ice Age 3D Comes To The Giant IMAX Screen Oct. 3

Titans of the Last Ice Age 3D, opens at the Tennessee Aquarium IMAX Theater on Friday transporting guests to the otherworldly frozen landscapes that supported vast numbers of these prehistoric animals. “Audiences will experience the world of these prehistoric animals with a realism that only this canvas can provide,” said Andy Wood, the film’s producer. “The Pleistocene has been ... (click for more)

Man Found Floating Near Manufacturers Road Was Steven Paul Calhoon, 34

The body found floating in the Tennessee River on Sunday morning downtown has been identified as 34-year-old Steven Paul Calhoon. C hattanooga Police are awaiting the results from the Medical Examiner’s Office to determine the cause of death. At 8:31 a.m.,  the Chattanooga Police Department was dispatched to 530 Manufacturers Road on a found body. Police said ... (click for more)

Bare Majority On County Commission Approves Support For Abortion Amendment

A bare majority of the County Commission on Wednesday morning voted to support an upcoming ballot amendment curbing abortion in Tennessee. Several commissioners said the issue was out of the commission's purview, and the vote should not have taken place. In favor were Sabrena Smedley, Randy Fairbanks, Jim Fields, Marty Haynes and Chester Bankston. Greg Beck and Warren Mackey ... (click for more)

How To Reform The City Industrial Development Board - And Response (3)

My aims is to bring to the public’s attention the need for procedural changes that, if implemented, would significantly improve the information available the public, to the City Council and to the City Industrial Development Board about the verifiable benefits and costs of tax incentive financing structures and to make the entire process transparent. The public, the City ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: My October Garden

Hark! It is the first day of October and, as I make my monthly stroll through the garden, I find a growing numbers of leaves and acorns. Autumn leaves are beautiful while acorns are nuts, thus you will get the idea as we make our monthly awards: A PRETTY LEAF to Phil Hughes after the Minnesota Twins pitcher came within one inning of earning a $500,000 bonus this season. The deal ... (click for more)