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Brendan Gaughan tries to turn sharks into NASCAR fans

Jul 9, 2014, 9:01 PM EDT

(Photo courtesy WCYB.com) (Photo courtesy WCYB.com)

Having grown up in the entertainment capital of the world, Las Vegas, going on to play college basketball for Georgetown University and then having been a popular NASCAR driver for more than a decade, Brendan Gaughan knows how to play to crowds.

But Gaughan — a certified SCUBA diver and instructor — outdid himself Tuesday at the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga, where he made a promotional appearance for next month’s NASCAR Nationwide Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Having been tipped off by a prior press release, we already knew Gaughan was going to climb into the Aquarium and do one of his favorite things for relaxation — swimming with sharks.

Yes, you read that right. Gaughan likes to hang out underwater with some real man-eaters.

(Point of reference: we’re talking about the swimming kind, not the guys he bangs fenders with every week on racetracks across the country.)

But here’s where Gaughan the promoter and attention-grabber shined. Not only did he play with sharks, he wore a pit crew shirt — festooned with all the right emblems and patches of his sponsors — over his diving wet suit. If that isn’t great promotion — or chutzpah, at least — we don’t know what is.

But you know what? We like it.

The only thing that was missing was Gaughan having his racing helmet on, but we’ll cut him a break on that.

Check here to see a story and video of Gaughan’s exploits.

Follow me @JerryBonkowski

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