Noah Gragson will attempt to make his NASCAR Cup debut behind the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet in the Daytona 500 on Feb. 14.
Gragson, 22, is coming off of a breakout Xfinity Series season behind the wheel of the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet. He is thrilled to return to Daytona International Speedway where he scored his first-career Xfinity Series win in last year’s NASCAR Racing Experience 300.
“I’m excited and humbled to have this opportunity with Beard Motorsports,” Gragson said. “As a young racer from Las Vegas, I had always dreamt 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.”
Gragson posted two wins, 17 top fives, 25 top 10s and led 622 in his second full season on the NXS tour.
Gragson follows the footsteps of fellow Las Vegas racer, Brendan Gaughan, who retired after four seasons driving for the Beard family. Gaughan was instrumental in Gragson’s selection for his replacement.
“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,” Gaughan said. “I’ve known Noah a long time and I know he’s a very good racecar 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.”
After campaigning in what is now the Xfinity Series himself in the 80’s then providing a platform for other drivers on the tour, Mark Beard returned to the ownership ranks with Gaughan in 2017. Beard also enjoys a technical alliance with Richard Childress, who provides cars and engines for Beard Motorsports super speedway program.
“Racing is our passion project,” said Beard, a former driver who made two Xfinity Series starts in the 1980s. “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.”