Gaughan was running seventh in the outside lane when he was collected in a Turn 1 crash with two laps to in last year’s Daytona 500. He finished 28th, which was his worst finish of the season. In the July Daytona race and the fall Talladega race Gaughan crossed the line 12th. His best finish with the team was seventh in the 2017 July Daytona race.
During Daytona 500 Media Day on Wednesday, Gaughan revealed that for the first time the team now has two cars in its fleet — a primary and backup. This offseason, Gaughan and Shaw, out of their own pockets, also took it upon themselves to find ways to help make the Beard family feel more like a Cup team.
The hauler finally got decals after having always been plain white. Gaughan had RCR graphics put Beard Oil Distributing and other logos on its side. The team’s pit box had never had a TV monitor with timing and scoring, meaning Beard had to always look at another team’s.
“So, we put TV monitors on the pit box so he [Mark Beard] could watch his own pit box and watch timing and scoring,” said Gaughan. “We decaled it up with all the Beard Oil and the South Point and the CLS (City Lights Shine) and the Justice Brothers and all that, and it was so much fun because we didn’t tell them. We cleaned the lounge and put a new TV in the lounge so that Mr. Beard could sit in his lounge with his customers that come and enjoy acting like a big-time Cup owner, because that’s what he is now.
“That’s what’s so refreshing. Everybody else just expects that. No matter where you go, everybody has it. Everybody has plenty of cars and parts and spare pit boxes and spare toolboxes. These guys are just old throwback, man. We don’t have those things.”
Beard said the gesture was special and when they arrived at the track Gaughan was eager to show off the new additions.
“We were very proud; it meant a lot,” she said.
Just how small is Beard Motorsports? Asked how many employees there are, Beard said there is Shaw, a car chief, and five other individuals who come in on race weekends. Going over the wall is a hired pit crew.
“But in the shop, it’s Darren,” Beard said. “We’ll take things to Childress or different places, but Darren is the man. He is a perfectionist; he makes sure these race cars are perfect for Brendan and for us, and he takes it really personally.
“We have to give him all the credit in the world, and we have to give the credit to Brendan. Mark and I are the ones that sit behind … we’re just so thankful to be here. This is what racing really should be. It shouldn’t be all the corporate people — they have to have it for the money, there’s no question — but this is where you get the drive to do it, and that’s really fun.”
Gaughan and his small team will have fun Sunday afternoon. The 61st annual Daytona 500 will be the fourth appearance for Gaughan and the third for Beard Motorsports.
“Look, I’m just an old retired guy that the Beards brought out of retirement because I still can get it done on restrictor plate [tracks] and they give me equipment that can get it done on restrictor plate,” he said. “That’s why I do it, because we can win this race on Sunday — now that we are in the race on Sunday.”