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.


TVRM’s Historic Steam Locomotive #4501 Is Ready For Tennessee Valley Railfest

The Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum (TVRM) on Wednesday announced the return of its iconic Steam Locomotive 4501 to operation. TVRM has been restoring Locomotive 4501 over the past three  years and she will make her public debut at Tennessee Valley Railfest on Sept. 6 and 7.  The locomotive last ran in 1998 and has patiently waited for a complete overhaul.  ... (click for more)

Rock Out Labor Day And Beyond In Tennessee

 If there’s one place travelers can get a music smorgasbord, it’s Tennessee. In each corner of the state and areas in between, music rooted in bluegrass, rock, soul, country, and gospel can be heard from porches in small towns to concert stadiums in burgeoning cities. From the nation’s biggest Labor Day celebration in Knoxville to celebrating local and national talent in Nashville ... (click for more)

School Board Unanimously Makes Cuts To Teacher Insurance; Spouses Can Only Stay On If They Have No Other Insurance

The Hamilton County School Board on Thursday night voted to Increase the premium for spouses by $100 - a move officials said would save the schools from $2,040,000 to $3,040,000. Spouses will not continue to be covered if they have insurance available to them on their jobs. School officials said the 1,700 spouses on county school insurance last year had $10 million in claims. ... (click for more)

City Audit Hits Travel Abuses By Top Chattanooga Library Personnel; Report Forwarded To State On Possible Fraud

A report by Internal City Auditor Stan Sewell found travel abuses by top personnel of the Chattanooga Library. The auditor said he found possible instances of fraud and forwarded information to state officials in regard to "reported potential fraudulent activity" by Margaret Backus, Systems Administrator and Nathaniel Hill, Assistant Library Director. The report says, ... (click for more)

Thanks For Making The Southern Brewers Festival A Success

Now that the dust has settled I'd like to thank Chattanooga for supporting the Southern Brewers Festival and making it yet another very successful event.    For those who do not know - the SBF benefits the Chattanooga chapter of Kids on the Block and the Chattanooga Community Kitchen.  As a partner helping the SBF with volunteers, sponsorships and the overall production ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn ... (click for more)