Mark Beard fielded cars in the NASCAR Cup Series; The team still plans to run in the upcoming Daytona 500
Mark Beard Sr, owner of Beard Motorsports, had died. The sad news was announced by the team announced. Beard was 72.
In the 1980’s, Mark Beard ran in the NASCAR Busch Series and ARCA Racing Series. He entered the events as an owner/driver.
In the 1990’s, Beard picked up his helmet less frequently. He still ran his race team with drivers like Gary Neice, Dana Patten, Bobby Dotter, L. D. Ottinger, Richard Lasater, Butch Miller and Jim Brinkley Jr filling the seat.
Beard Motorsports was formed in 2009 after an equipment purchase from Hendrick Motorsports. The team began with ARCA Racing Series competition.
NASCAR Cup Series
In 2014, the team entered their first car in the NASCAR Cup Series. Clay Rogers drove the car and they attempted to qualify for races at New Hampshire, Richmond and Phoenix. However, in each attempt they failed to make the show.
In 2015-2016, the team did not run. But in 2017, they returned to the NASCAR circuits with Brendan Gaughan. They used a car purcahsed from Leavine Family Racing and an engine from RCR.
Beard owned an oil business. The car frequently showed up to the race track with Beard Oil as the primary sponsor.
Per the team website, “Beard Motorsports is part passion project and part corporate initiative, with the race team serving to market Beard Oil Distributing, a third-generation, family-owned company that services the nation’s pipeline construction industry.”
From 2017-2020, Gaughan and the team ran every race at Daytona and Talladega. The team collected a best run of 7th, which they claimed twice. The first time was in July 17 at Daytona. In the 2020 Daytona 500, Gaughan drove it to another 7th place effort.
Gaughan ran his final race at the end of the 2020 season. The team will have a new driver as they intend to continue with their early 2021 plans.
Beard died at his home..
Beard Motorsports statement
“It is with profound sadness that we announce the passing of Mark Beard Sr., president of Beard Motorsports,” the team said in the statement.
“Mark was passionate about racing and the businesses he built with his family, and even though he will be terribly missed, his work ethic and kind heart lives on with the many people he influenced.”
The team added, “While the family requests privacy at this time, they want to reaffirm Beard Motorsports’ commitment to compete in this year’s Daytona 500 where the team will race in Mark’s honor.”
Noah Gragson will run with the team in the 2021 Daytona 500. He’ll pilot the No. 62 on February 14th.
Gragson stated via twitter, “Heavy hearts today. Thinking about the Beard Family. Time to go “drive the piss out of it” and do it for Mr. Beard in the 500.”