Mark Beard Sr., No. 62 team owner, passes away

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Mark Beard Sr., team owner of the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet in the NASCAR Cup Series, died Sunday. He was 72.

Beard Motorsports announced his passing Monday evening through social media. Beard was owner and team president for the No. 62 entry, which was used in part to market Beard Oil Distributing, a third-generation family business based in his hometown of Mt. Pleasant, Michigan.

The team indicated it still intends to compete in the season-opening Daytona 500, deploying Xfinity Series regular Noah Gragson in a bid for his NASCAR Cup Series debut.

Beard Motorsports has been an occasional entrant in the Cup Series in recent years, fielding Brendan Gaughan — like Gragson, a Las Vegas native — primarily in superspeedway events at Daytona and Talladega. The team notched all four of its top-10 finishes with Gaughan, the most recent being an eighth-place result in the regular-season finale at Daytona last August.

“Racing is our passion project,” Beard said last month, marking the announcement of Gragson as the team’s next driver. Beard made two starts in the NASCAR Xfinity Series as a driver, scoring a best finish of 18th in the Daytona season opener in 1982.

Beard’s survivors include his wife of 43 years, Linda; his daughter, Amie; his son, Mark; two sisters and six nieces and nephews. Memorial services are scheduled Feb. 20 at Charles R. Lux Funeral Home in his hometown.