NASCAR Drivers Weigh In On NCAA March Madness

Brendan Gaughan & the Georgetown Hoyas

NASCAR driver Brendan Gaughan, who drives the No. 33 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet in the Nationwide Series and No. 2 Chevrolet 8 Camping World Series, is a former walk-on basketball player for the Georgetown Hoyas, lettering in 1995, 1996 and 1997. Gaughan, who was roommates with Allen Iverson on the road, played on two Big East regular season championship teams, as well as one NCAA Elite Eight appearance.

The Las Vegas native likes Georgetown’s chances when the No. 3-seeded Hoyas open up NCAA Tournament play against No.14 Belmont on Friday. He shares some of his thoughts:

On Georgetown and how they’ll do. “I’ll always pick Georgetown to win it all. Once a Hoya, always a Hoya. I think the Elite Eight game will be great with UNC. That has always been a classic battle.”

Does he still follow the team? “I definitely still follow them. The Hoyas are always going to be a family to me. JT3 is doing a great job.”

Does he still talk to the coaches? “All the time. I talk to Coach Thompson a lot; we’re great friends. Coach Spriggs, one of the assistant coaches came to the race in Las Vegas this past weekend. I go to at least one or two games a year and visit the locker room.”

Does he plan on going to a game? Went to the UConn game this year. Going to try and catch the women’s game at Chapel Hill. If they make it to the Final Four weekend, I’ll go to all of the games during my few off weeks.”

Favorite memory? “There are so many great memories. The Preseason NIT game against Colgate at Madison Square Garden when I closed my eyes and made the basket. We won the game, 106-57”

Final Four: Georgetown vs. Florida St.; Michigan State vs. Duke
Championship: Georgetown beats Duke

Select NASCAR drivers weigh in from the NASCAR garage on March Madness:

Kurt Busch (No. 51 NSCS)
Final Four: Kentucky, Michigan State, Ohio State, Kansas
Championship game: Kentucky to win it all.
Thoughts: N/A

Denny Hamlin (No. 11 NSCS)
Final Four: “Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky, Kentucky!!”
Championship game: Kentucky
Thoughts: “I think Kentucky is going to win it all. The tournament is about talent and coaching, and Kentucky has a ton of talent and the best coach in college basketball (John Calipari). I mean, who’s going to beat them? I’m excited to watch the games over the next few weeks.”

Elliott Sadler (No. 2 NNS)
Final Four: UNC, Missouri, FSU, Kentucky
Championship game/score: UNC 86, Missouri 81
Thoughts: “The Tar Heels will be strong throughout the tournament if John Henson stays healthy. Missouri will be tough to beat. They have great guards, but I think the Heels will pull it out.”

Austin Dillon (No. 3 NNS)
Final Four: Kentucky, Florida State, Missouri, North Carolina
Championship Game/score: Kentucky 86, Florida St. 82
Thoughts: “Kentucky has a great team and they are a No. 1 seed so I think they will go all the way this year.”

Brendan Gaughan (No. 33 NNS/No. 8 NCWS) and Georgetown men’s basketball alumnus
Final Four: Georgetown vs. Florida State; Michigan State vs. Duke
Championship: Georgetown
Thoughts: “I’ll always pick Georgetown to win it all. Once a Hoya, always a Hoya. I think the Elite Eight game will be great with UNC. That has always been a classic battle.”

David Ragan (No. 34 NSCS)
Final Four: Missouri, Kentucky, North Carolina, Syracuse
Championship game/score: Syracuse 70, Kentucky 67
Thoughts: “Predicting the tournament champion is like predicting a winner at Talladega. Anything can happen, but maybe I’ll get lucky.”

David Gilliland (No. 38 NSCS)
Final Four: Kentucky, Missouri, Ohio St, Kansas
Championship game/score: Kentucky 68, Kansas 67
Thoughts: “I’m not much of a basketball fan, so I let my kids help with my picks. They picked based on places they’ve heard of and school colors and that sort of thing. If there was a SpongeBob University, they’d get the championship pick at our house.”

Justin Allgaier (No. 31 NNS)
Final Four: Kentucky vs. Missouri and Syracuse vs. North Carolina
Championship: Kentucky wins it all
Thoughts: “I think Kentucky is the strongest team in the league. North Carolina will beat Syracuse because of their style, but not be enough to beat Kentucky. There are a few upsets that could mess up my picks like Ohio State, but I think that if everyone plays like they should, it will go my way.”

Jason Bowles (No. 81 NNS)
Final Four: Kentucky, Murray St., Syracuse, Michigan
Championship game/score: Kentucky 65, Syracuse 59
Thoughts: “I really don’t watch any basketball but I always fill out a bracket. I’m the guy that no one likes when I get lucky and win the pool by just picking random teams. Haha.”

TJ Bell (No. 50 NNS)
Final Four: Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Ohio St.
Championship game: North Carolina 75, Kentucky 68
Thoughts: “North Carolina’s maturity and experience will beat them when Kentucky tries to attack the 3-point line. UNC will let UK shoot and will do what Vanderbuilt did to UK in the SEC championship game.”

Dakoda Armstrong (No. 98 NCWTS)
Final Four: Indiana (Biased pick- Indiana native), Michigan St., UNC, Ohio State
Championship: North Carolina 73, Indiana-70
Thoughts: “I have to go with my home state team to take it to the championship, but UNC has a lot of talent and I’m thinking they’ll take it all the way.”

Paulie Harraka (No. 5 NCWTS) and current Duke Univ. senior
Final Four/Championship: “Duke, Duke, Duke and Duke!”
Thoughts: “Duke has shown that we have amazing talent this year. We’ve had a few rough starts, but I believe that as long as we get the game started on the right foot, we’re unstoppable. Go Devils!”

Travis Kvapil (No. 9 NCWS)
Final Four Selections: W. Kentucky, UNC-Asheville, Long Island, and Lamar/Vermont winner (All 16th place seeds)
Championship game: WKU vs. Long Island
Thoughts: “Who doesn’t love an underdog? Besides, I’ll look like a genius if it works out like that. I’ll clean up at Vegas.”

Aric Almirola (No. 43 NSCS)
Final Four: Kentucky, North Carolina, Ohio St., Michigan St.
Thoughts: “I’m looking at the bracket and I see a lot of the schools who traditionally do well in the tournament advancing. There could be some good matchups with Syracuse and Ohio State and Duke and Kentucky, but I feel good about this Final Four.”