After a long absence, Brendan Gaughan is back in the Daytona 500, adding more of a Las Vegas flair to this week’s field.
The NASCAR season starts Sunday at Daytona International Speedway, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the 5-1 favorite. He’s a two-time winner of the race, taking first in 2004 and 2014.
Gaughan made his Daytona 500 debut in 2004 and finished 19th. He’s returning for his second start after qualifying Sunday by posting the 33rd-fastest speed (189.294 mph) in the No. 75 Beard Oil Chevrolet.
Gaughan, the 41-year-old son of South Point Hotel Casino owner Michael Gaughan, has had a long racing career and is a part-time driver in the NASCAR Cup Series.
He’s currently included as a field bet at 30-1 odds. Gaughan joins Las Vegas natives Kyle Busch (10-1) and Kurt Busch (25-1) in the 40-car field.
The lineup will be set following Thursday’s 150-mile qualifying races. Gaughan is driving for car owner Mark Beard.
"This is a team that's never made a Cup race," Gaughan told NASCAR.com. “This man has tried six or seven times to make a race, and his first Cup race is the Daytona-freaking-500. I'm so glad to do it for him."