Beard Motorsports will continue to field a part-time entry in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2022, with plans to enter the No. 62 Beard Oil Chevrolet Camaro in the organization’s typical four-race superpeedway schedule, the organization announced on Tuesday.
The family-owned operation – founded by the late Mark Beard Sr, and now run by his wife Linda Beard — has secured a Next Gen chassis to use in the series’ superspeedway events next season, but has yet to officially determine who will pilot the entry throughout their part-time schedule. With this announcement, the team becomes the first open entry to declare intentions of entering the 64th Annual Daytona 500 on February 20.
“My father was passionate about racing and he took a great deal of pride in coming to Daytona and competing against the biggest names in the sport,” said Amie Beard, executive vice president, Beard Motorsports. “He passed away just before this year’s Daytona 500 and his presence was definitely missed. We didn’t make the race, and with no qualifying available at the other superspeedway races, we didn’t have the opportunity to race again. We’ve got some unfinished business, and that’s why we’re coming back to Daytona.”
The organization has proven to be a fantastic underdog story in seasons past, with crew chief Darren Shaw being the team’s only full-time employee, since the team was re-established in the 2017 Daytona 500, where former driver Brendan Gaughan finished 11th. The result of an alliance with Richard Childress Racing and a strict focus on the series’ four superspeedway events, the team has produced impressive results, including a pair of top-10 finishes in 2020.
Noah Gragson attempted to qualify for the 2021 edition of the Daytona 500, but failed to make the race, locking them out of events at Talladega and Daytona for the remainder of the season, due to not having qualifying and not having enough points.
“Beard Motorsports has always over delivered and it’s a testament to its people and the relationships they have within the industry,” said Gaughan, who has since retired from racing and now serves as Beard Motorsports’ vice president of racing operations. “We have to outwork and outthink the competition, and we feel that the NextGen car plays right into our hands because it levels the playing field. We’ll have similar equipment to the big teams, but no one is going to beat us when it comes to want and desire.”
In 2022, NASCAR has elected to implement a brand-new generation of car, known as the Next Gen car, which will debut in the 2022 Daytona 500, which is designed for closer competition, cost containment and manufacturer relevance, featuring NASCAR’s first-ever independent rear suspension, sequential gearbox, rack-and-pinion steering and single-lug aluminum wheels.
“The NextGen car is a whole new ballgame,” Beard said. “We’re ready to play.”