NEWPORT, Ky. - Richard Childress Racing (RCR) driver Brendan Gaughan plunged the depths of the Newport Aquarium Shark Ray Bay tank to teach elementary school students the importance of teamwork and about the challenges Nationwide Series (NNS) drivers will face Sept. 20 when they battle at Kentucky Speedway in the 300.

Gaughan illustrated the value of teamwork to an auditorium filled with elementary school students by asking them to create a fin signal over their heads when either a white shark or shark ray approached from the rear of the tank.

"The kids pay a little bit more attention when you're talking to them in a tank with sharks around you," Gaughan said. "It always takes a team, no matter what you're going to do in life. You're going to work in a business environment that takes a team.

"The best parents work as teams. Some pick you up from school, some drop you off at school. Some cook breakfast, some cook dinner. It takes a team. If you learn that and appreciate it, you'll get a lot further and be a lot happier sooner."

Should students be a part of the audience, they'll witness the teamwork Gaughan's No. 62 squad has used to generate his first NNS victory at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis., June 21 along with a combined five top-10 finishes through 25 events this season.

The victory takes on added significance in a campaign that has produced 15 different race champions and a strong rookie class that includes his teammate Ty Dillon, championship leader and JR Motorsports driver Chase Elliott, Team Penske's Ryan Blaney and Roush Fenway Racing's Chris Buescher consistently competing at the front of race fields.

"The Nationwide Series probably has the greatest crop of rookies I've seen in any series," Gaughan said. "You talk about the number of wins. Ryan Blaney is looking like a super stud right now. You've got Chase Elliott, who's doing a phenomenal job leading the points. Any other year, Ty Dillon and Blaney would be the talk of the town, winning races and how well they're running. I'm really proud to say I'm here being a part of it with Ty, with these young men, because they're the future of our sport. I'm really excited about where it's going."

Gaughan plans to rely on extensive Kentucky Speedway experience to work to stem the youthful tide when he makes his fifth NNS and 14th start at the venue in the 300.

He's averaged a fourth-place finish through four NNS starts, including his series track-best third Sept. 22, 2012, and hasn't placed worse than sixth. He's additionally charted two third-place NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) finishes on the rough tri-oval along with an average 18th-place finish through nine starts.

"It's one of my best ovals, statistically. Even through some of my worst years, I ran great at Kentucky. This is one I circle and say 'I know I can race well here, let's get this one" he said.

After turning 3,015 NASCAR miles in the Bluegrass State, Gaughan has developed a fondness for the Kentucky high line and will make it an integral part of his race strategy.

"What makes Kentucky so great is that it's not these new mile-and-a-halves with all this banking, parabolic and these cool things. It's old asphalt, it's super flat.

"The outside is a little more risky. I love driving the outside at these places and Kentucky fits it perfectly for me. My goal is to get to the outside while everybody is battling for the bottom and try to fly by them. Hopefully, we can do that better than anybody and get to the front," he analyzed.

Kentucky Speedway's second and final event weekend of the season opens Sept. 19 with the ARCA Racing Series Zloop 150.

Tickets, Coca-Cola Four Pack ticket specials and campsites can be purchased by calling (859) 578-2300, through the tickets and camping pages of this website or by visiting the Sparta, Ky., ticket office at 1 Speedway Dr., just off Interstate 71 Exit 57 and Ky. Hwy. 35 N.

- Kentucky Speedway -