Noah Gragson will attempt to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 with Beard Motorsports.
Gragson, 22, has been selected by the team to replace Gaughan in the No. 62 Chevrolet. Gaughan, who has run the four superspeedway events for the Beard’s the last few seasons, hung up the helmet at the end of the 2020 season. It was he who hand-picked his fellow Las Vegas native to take over the ride.
“I loved racing for the Beard family, and even though I’m retired, I’m honored to be a part of their team, and I’m very protective of what they’ve built,” said Gaughan. “I’ve known Noah a long time, and I know he’s a very good race car driver who is ready to do some Cup racing.
“Just as importantly, he takes good care of his equipment, and he’s there at the end of races. In his entire Xfinity Series career, he’s only had four DNFs. That’s important no matter who you’re racing for, but it’s especially important for Beard Motorsports. I’m proud to see Noah have this opportunity and proud to see another Las Vegas guy in the NASCAR Cup Series.”
Gragson will have to qualify on time for the Daytona 500, or race his in through one of the Duel events. A seventh-place finish by Gaughan last year is the best finish for Beard Motorsports in the Daytona 500.
Gragson is a full-time competitor in the Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports. His first win in the series came at Daytona last February.
“I’m excited and humbled to have this opportunity with Beard Motorsports,” said Gragson. “As a young racer from Las Vegas, I had always dreamed of racing in the Daytona 500. I’m very appreciative of the faith the Beard family and Brendan have in me, and equally appreciative to JR Motorsports for allowing me to pull double duty and compete for them in the Xfinity Series and also Beard Motorsports while we’re down in Daytona.”
“When you’re racing late models and trying to work your way up, the Daytona 500 seems pretty far away,” Gragson continued. “To have it become a reality is something I don’t take lightly. I’m ready for this moment and I’m proud to have it.”
Beard Motorsports is a single-car team with one full-time employee – crew chief Darren Shaw. Richard Childress Racing prepares the car while ECR provides the engine, and Beard only competes in the four superspeedway events. Should Gragson qualify for the Daytona 500, it would be the team’s fifth consecutive year on the starting grid.
“Racing is our passion project,” said team owner Mark Beard. “Even with Brendan’s retirement, we wanted to keep racing. We’ve accomplished a lot with the resources we have, and we’re proud to give Noah the chance to chase his dream just like we chase ours.
“On top of that, racing has proven to be a very valuable asset for our companies, like Beard Oil Distributing. We’re very passionate about what we do, and the Daytona 500 is an excellent platform to show our customers the level of commitment we put into all of our work.”