NASCAR Cup Series team owner passes away

Brendan Gaughan, Beard Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images)
Brendan Gaughan, Beard Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images) /

Beard Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team owner Mark Beard Sr. passed away on Sunday at the age of 72, the team confirmed.

The NASCAR Cup Series has lost a team owner, as Beard Motorsports team owner Mark Beard Sr. passed away this past Sunday, January 31 at the age of 72.

The team confirmed the sad news on social media.

Beard was the owner and team president of the #62 Chevrolet (formerly the #75 Chevrolet), which also served as a way to market Beard Oil Distributing, a third-generation family business based in his hometown of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

Beard Motorsports, which opened in 2009 and have competed in 35 races (17 in the Cup Series, 11 in the Xfinity Series and seven in ARCA), have competed primarily in the Cup Series superspeedway races since 2017.

They attempted to make their Cup Series debut in 2014 with Clay Rogers behind the wheel but failed to do so on three occasions at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Richmond Raceway and Phoenix Raceway.

Brendan Gaughan competed for the team in all four superspeedway races (two at Daytona International Speedway and two at Talladega Superspeedway) on the schedule in each of the last four seasons, plus the race at the Daytona International Speedway road course last season before retiring.

Gaughan finished in a career-high seventh place at Daytona International Speedway in 2017 and then again in the 2020 Daytona 500. He also finished in eighth at Talladega Superspeedway in 2019 and then again at Daytona International Speedway last year.

Beard himself competed in two Xfinity Series races, one in 1982 and one in 1986. He finished in 18th place at Daytona International Speedway in 1982 and 26th at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 1986.

Beard Motorsports still plan to attempt to qualify for the 63rd annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway next week.

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Single-car qualifying is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, February 10, the Bluegreen Vacations Duels are scheduled to take place on Thursday, February 11 and the race itself is scheduled to take place on Sunday, February 14.

Full-time JR Motorsports Xfinity Series driver Noah Gragson is set to drive the #62 Chevrolet in an attempt to make his Cup Series debut. He will need to lock himself into the field, given the fact that the team’s car is not a chartered entry and is therefore not guaranteed a starting spot in the race. There are only four open starting positions for non-chartered entries in the 40-car field, and there are at least 44 cars on the entry list thus far.

Gragson shared the following message on Twitter following Beard’s passing.

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When Gragson was confirmed as the team’s driver for their Daytona 500 attempt this year, Beard stated the following: “Racing is our passion project.” We will see what Gragson can do to advance that project next week.