LAS VEGAS -- NASCAR and moonshine have long had an intertwined relationship, so it should come as no great surprise that Brendan Gaughan, who is sort of a throwback driver, has found a profitable way to keep the tradition going.
And this time, it's legal.
Gaughan, full-time driver of the No. 62 Chevrolet for Richard Childress Racing in the XFINITY Series, has started up a new side business called "City Lights Shine." And the Las Vegas native is very excited about it.
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"City Lights Shine is the new whiskey moonshine that we're making here in Las Vegas," Gaughan said Friday in the Las Vegas Motor Speedway media center. "We are the first and only legal distillery in Las Vegas. I've got to stress the 'legal' part."
Gaughan's partner in the business venture is former NASCAR official Mike Dolan.
"The back story is there is a certain individual who may have been a NASCAR official for quite a few years, who may have made a product every once in a while that we would, uh, taste," Gaughan said. "We may or may not have done that. I will invoke my right to the Fifth Amendment."
Gaughan said he eventually introduced the "product" to his parents, owners of South Point Casino in Las Vegas. His mother, Paula Gaughan, actually liked it so much that she encouraged her son to pursue making it and distributing it -- all legally, of course -- as a business enterprise.
"My mother and my father really enjoyed the product. They actually liked it," Brendan Gaughan said. "So a couple years ago, my mom said, 'Hey, I like this stuff. Look into it.'
"So I did. And I've always been about the numbers, plus I like to do what I know. That's kind of been a Gaughan family motto for about 50 years … The numbers added up. My partner moved out from North Carolina to Las Vegas."
Now it seems to really be taking off, in part thanks to Gaughan's South Point and NASCAR connections.
"It's now available at the SouthPoint and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Thanks to (Speedway Motorsports Incorporated president) Marcus Smith and SMI, it now looks like we're going to have it all the SMI tracks."
That includes the tracks not only Vegas, but also the ones at Atlanta, Bristol, Charlotte, Kentucky, New Hampshire, Sonoma and Texas, where Gaughan says City Lights Shine will soon be available in strawberry, blueberry, raspberry and the "original all-clear" flavors.