By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Veteran racer Brendan Gaughan is set to hang up the helmet at the conclusion of the fall race at Talladega Superspeedway October 4, 2020.
Last month, the Las Vegas native announced his intentions of retiring on SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, but it didn’t catch wind until Auto Racing Daily published the report on December 18, 2019.
Motorsports Tribune reached out to Gaughan’s team (Beard Motorsports), confirming it’ll be his final Cup season.
Beard officially issued a press release Monday that the 62nd Daytona 500 will mark the start of Gaughan’s farewell tour on the NASCAR circuit.
The 23-year NASCAR veteran will enter his third season driving the No. 62 Bear Oil Distributing/South Point Hotel & Casino Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 1LE in the NASCAR Cup Series. Like the previous two seasons, Gaughan will be running all four superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega.
Gaughan discussed why he felt it’s time to call it a career after scoring 10 national touring wins and competed in 62 Cup races with a fourth at Talladega in October 2004 being his best-ever finish.
“I love racing, and competing with Beard Motorsports these last few years have made for some of my most enjoyable moments in NASCAR,” Gaughan said. “We do a lot with a little, so when we run up front and lead laps, it’s very satisfying because you know all the work that went into it.
“I wouldn’t want my last races as a NASCAR driver to be with any other team. Mark Beard Sr., and his entire family are passionate about racing, and NASCAR in particular. We’re all competitive and want to perform, but we’re going to have fun doing it. That’s how we all got started in the sport – because it was fun. And as I wrap up my career, I’m going to make sure it stays fun.”
The 44-year-old has had his share of ups and downs throughout his NASCAR career that goes back to 1997. Gaughan gained notoriety after scoring back-to-back West titles from 2000-01 for Bill McAnally Racing before setting the Truck Series by storm.
In his first two seasons in Trucks with Orleans Racing, Gaughan scored eight victories with six taking place in 2003. That same season, he ended up fourth in the final standings due to controversial circumstances that saw him being crashed out in the finale at Homestead.
Gaughan’s strong tenure caught the eyes of both Doug Bawel and Roger Penske, promoting him to the Cup Series in 2004. It proved to be a tremendous struggle as Gaughan finished 28th in points with one top-five and four top-10s.
For the next four seasons, Gaughan went back to the Truck Series with minor success. Then in 2009, he moved up to the Xfinity Series where he eventually redeemed himself as a consistent competitor throughout the 2010s, with 2014 being his best campaign.
That year, he won at Road America and Kentucky for Richard Childress Racing, finishing the year eighth in points.
Gaughan wrapped up his full-season run in NASCAR at the conclusion of the 2017 season, but continued racing on a partial basis.
While Gaughan is no longer driving for RCR, there’s still ties with that team as Beard Motorsports has a technical alliance with them. Such as cars being constructed by them and the No. 62 Camaro being powered by ECR (Earnhardt Childress Racing) engines, which has been beneficial.
Car owner Mark Beard, Sr. commented that having Gaughan has been an absolute honor and is happy to have Richard Childress’ support.
“Brendan brings a lot of experience to our race team and that has allowed us to be competitive despite not having all the resources of the bigger teams that compete week in and week out,” Beard said. “We have a lot of respect for what those teams do, and it’s an honor to be able to park in the NASCAR Cup Series garage, unload our racecar and see where we stack up. We take a lot of pride in the effort we put forth, and the effort our partners put into Beard Motorsports.
“Richard Childress and the staff at RCR provide us with top-notch equipment. We’ve worked with them since 2017 and it’s easy to understand why they’ve been in the sport for 50 years. We’re proud to continue our technical partnership with RCR and we look forward to making Brendan’s last races as a NASCAR driver memorable.”
The 62nd Daytona 500 will commence February 16, 2020 with Gaughan looking to attempt his fifth start in “The Great American Race” where his best finish to date being 11th in 2017.