The NASCAR Cup Series regular season finale will take place on Saturday, August 27. Coke Zero Sugar 400 will take place at Daytona International Speedway and feature the return of a fan-favorite small team.
Beard Motorsports, the Cup Series organization operated by Linda Beard, will make its third start of the next generation era. Noah Gregson will once again drive the #62 Chevrolet Camaro after setting the fastest qualifying time among the non-charter teams at the Daytona 500.
Gragson also dominated the entry number 62 Beard Motorsports during the Geico 500 at the Talladega Superspeedway. He started in 31st place in a Wendy-sponsored Chevrolet Camaro, avoiding accidents on the track en route to 20th. This race still stands as his second best result of the Cup Series season.
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Gragson won’t have to outpace other drivers
The last time Gregson headed to Daytona International Speedway, he didn’t have a guaranteed place in the race. He first tried to qualify for the 2021 Daytona 500, but an accident during the Blue Green Vacation 150 Duel killed him and Beard Motorsports lost the Crown Jewel race.
One year later, Gregson returned to Daytona. This time, he took up running the business in a different way. He scored the fastest 33 laps during playoffs, but it was the best among the teams without charters. This ensured the number 62 would fit into the season’s opening race, and set a major goal for Gragson and the family-run team.
“It’s really touching to be able to make the race after last year came so close and had ordeals during qualifying last year and not been able to take the time,” Gregson told NASCAR Media in February. “Before last year’s duel, Mrs. Bird just said to get out there and get out of that duel. So she told me that the night before qualifying as well. Last year, you haven’t been able to make the race, it’s almost sweeter and you appreciate it so much more.”
The 2022 Coke Zero Sugar 400 will feature a different qualification session. There are only 37 cars on the initial entry roster, so Gragson won’t have to post faster laps than any other open teams. Instead, he could just focus on trying to secure a solid starting position.
Gragson showed speed during his first race in the Daytona 500
Beard Motorsports is one of NASCAR’s smallest operations—it only has one employee—but the team sure knows how to compete while on the treks to super-fast tracks.
Beard Motorsports entered the 2022 season with four of Brendan Gaughan’s top 10 championships, three of which were at Daytona International Speedway. Then Gragson put them in a position to get away from someone else before an accident occurred on the track in the final stage.
The Las Vegas native started on the 39th overall, but avoided a crash on lap 64 before working his way up to 12th in the first stage. He raced 14th during stage two, but a scheduled pit stop dropped him back to 22nd place.
The final stage featured Gragson racing within the top ten on two different occasions. He made his way to eight on lap 142 before stopping for fuel. He restarted 14th place but worked his way back into the top 10 with 10 laps remaining. Despite an accident at Lap 191 he sent Gregson to the wall and ended his day.
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