Gaughan looks to finish career in style at Talladega

Image by Motorsport Images

Gaughan looks to finish career in style at Talladega


Gaughan looks to finish career in style at Talladega


Brendan Gaughan’s final NASCAR start is days away at Talladega Superspeedway, and the 45-year-old would love to go out on top.

“‘Gaughan Going Out in Style’ – I’d love to get a win on the way out the door,” he said. “I don’t think you can write one any better than that. Hell, the way 2020’s been, stranger things have happened, so let’s go.”

Gaughan announced in January he would once again run the four superspeedway races with Beard Motorsports before retiring. He stopped racing full-time after the 2017 season, bidding goodbye to Richard Childress Racing and the Xfinity Series.

Despite the pandemic affecting the season, and the Next Gen car pushed to 2022, Gaughan is keeping with his decision. Wanting to give the Beard family a chance to hire a new driver with the new car was one reason behind Gaughan’s decision to move on from NASCAR.

“No,” Gaughan said again this week about running the 2021 Daytona 500. “The Beards have asked me a bunch of times. Mrs. Beard drives a very hard bargain, and she is very difficult to say no to, but it’s time. I’m honored that I’ve gotten to drive for the Beards. I think I’ve had four top-10s for that family in the 16 races I’ve driven for them. That’s pretty dang phenomenal for a team with one employee and two racecars.”

Gaughan has never won a NASCAR Cup Series race. He has eight top-10 finishes in 66 career starts, two of which came earlier this year when he drove the No. 62 Chevrolet to a seventh-place finish in the Daytona 500 and an eighth-place result in the summer Daytona race (photo above).

Last fall, Gaughan was leading at Talladega when he was collected in an accident and sent airborne. Afterward, Gaughan gave an energetic interview in which he reiterated his love for superspeedway racing and “kicking their butt out there” as a part-timer with a small team.

“To my fans, they all know the same thing – there’s no need to watch the start of the race if you’re looking just for me,” said Gaughan. “Just watch the last 20 laps. It’s kind of a boring race if you’re going to look for me in the early stages, and there’s not a lot of TV time for the Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Chevy. But in the end, that’s how it works. It takes patience; it takes some strategy; it takes doing things a certain way.

“Fortunately, Darren Shaw (crew chief), myself, Ron Lewis (spotter), we all have that patience, and we’re able to wait till the end. I look at when I first started for these guys – this is going to be my 17th start – with five laps to go in all of those races, I think there have been only two where I wasn’t running in the top-10. You just have to know how to be there at the end.”

While Gaughan is retiring from NASCAR, he is not retiring from racing. Those who hope to continue rooting for him will find him in the desert and helping his children with their racing careers.

“We’ve got a job to do, and that’s to go out and try and win the race,” said Gaughan of his final weekend. “That’s what we show up to do every time we roll that No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing/South Point Chevy Camaro off the hauler. That’s the first thing – to try to get the job done. After that, you think about the other things.

“I did not expect to have these last four years in NASCAR. The Beard family gave me something that was completely unexpected. They gave me this last little bit of fun, and it’s been phenomenal. I want to go try and win one. I’ve got one more shot to win a Cup race, and I’m going to do my damndest to do it.”

For more with Gaughan on his career and final season, go here.

IndyCar Debrief