Noah Gragson will attempt to make his NASCAR Cup Series debut in the Daytona 500 driving for Beard Motorsports, the team announced Thursday, Jan. 14.
Gragson, who competes full-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in JR Motorsports’ No. 9 car, replaces Brendan Gaughan behind the wheel of the No. 62 Chevrolet after Gaughan’s decision to retire last fall.
Gragson claimed his first career Xfinity Series victory at Daytona International Speedway in February 2020 and was selected by Gaughan to take the reins of the Beard Motorsports entry, in part due to their Las Vegas ties.
“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 in the press release. “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.”
Gragson finished fifth in Xfinity Series points last year while adding a win at Bristol Motor Speedway as well as 17 top fives and 25 top 10s.
“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.”
Each of Beard Motorsports’ previous 17 starts have come with Gaughan behind the wheel, 16 of which came on the superspeedways of Daytona and Talladega. Gaughan posted the team’s best finish of seventh twice, first in the 2017 Coke Zero 400 at Daytona and again in the 2020 Daytona 500.