"When I closed my team down in 2007 and the way it closed down was personally pretty difficult. I never thought I'd race again from there in NASCAR. We've been talking about that for years. What happens is, my father some days is -- I think best way I can put it is what my grandfather used to say -- trying to tell my father a secret is like telling the Las Vegas Sun. He likes to talk when he gets around reporters."
Gaughan was referring to a story that ran in the Las Vegas Review-Journal last month during the NASCAR Sprint Cup and XFINITY Series weekend indicating that 2016 would be it for Gaughan. And while he considers it each year, he's not ready to call it a career just yet.
"Every year he (his dad) and I talk about retirement," Gaughan said. "Every year I talk about it, he talks about it, one of us does, one of us doesn't. We always are saying it and discussing it. But it's always been the same strategy in my eyes. If I can't win races, I don't want to be here.
"... As long as I can keep winning races and being up front and if we can make this Chase and keep competing for wins and championships, I think we will stay around as long as I can keep going."
Gaughan, 40, has been around the sport a long time and bounced around a little bit before spending the past five seasons with Richard Childress Racing. In 2014, he captured his first two Nationwide (now XFINITY) Series victories. Through five races in 2016, Gaughan has three top 10s and is sixth in the point standings.
Part of what has helped Gaughan in recent seasons is an arrangement he worked out with Childress that allows him to spend most of his time at his Las Vegas home with his wife and two kids.
"A couple years ago, I was spending 18 and 20 days apart from my family pretty regularly and that was just making life very difficult. I'm lucky. I never felt that I should part from the team; I've always been a team guy. I played college sports (at Georgetown University). I live with my team, I'm at the shop everyday. I've done that my entire career since I owned my team. Luckily for me at RCR, there are seven guys on my race team that have been with me since 1999, 2000, 2002. They've been with me since I was in my early 20s. Life was getting difficult and they said 'Go home.'
"... It's been great and it's actually what helped us win those couple races in the middle of 2014 and what made us run so good last year. My home life was much happier and in doing that, it made racing go better ... I'm still doing the same stuff, I'm just not in the shop every day."
In the summer, the family will head for their North Carolina house and Gaughan will spend more time at the shop. The veteran driver credits being able to have that freedom to those around him.
"When you have great people around you, you can get away with sometimes taking the next step in life."