● Wendy’s® (Nasdaq: WEN) has joined Beard Motorsports and driver Noah Gragson as its primary partner for the GEICO 500 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. Fresh off an impressive activation on the biggest stage in college basketball – March Madness – the company has shifted gears and traveled to the biggest oval track in NASCAR to share the fan-favorite $5 Biggie™ Bag with race enthusiasts. The $5 Biggie Bag comes complete with the choice of a Jr. Bacon Cheeseburger, Double Stack™, or a Crispy Chicken BLT with four-piece chicken nuggets (Spicy or Crispy), small Hot & Crispy Fries, and a small soft drink. A lot of flavor, a lot of value, a lot of choices.
● The Biggie-st, baggiest meal deal is lapping the competition and going big at Talladega. In addition to its red-white-and-blue No. 62 Wendy’s $5 Biggie Bag Chevrolet Camaro that Gragson will race in the GEICO 500, Wendy’s will have a pop-up restaurant in the infield at Talladega near turn four where fans can get their own $5 Biggie Bag without missing any of the racing action. It’s operating schedule is as follows (all times CDT):
● Friday, April 22: 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (Biggie Bag and Frosty sampling)
● Saturday, April 23: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (Frosty-ccino sampling); 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Biggie Bag and Frosty sampling)
● Sunday, April 24: 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. (Frosty-ccino sampling); 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. (Biggie Bag and Frosty sampling)
● It’s more than just a pop-up store. It’s a float! That’s right. The Wendy’s pop-store in the infield at Talladega is mobile, and fans can see it in action on Friday night in the Big One on the Boulevard Parade, starting at 7:30 p.m. CDT. But wait, there’s more! The Biggie Bag-themed float with 3-D products adorning it – Double Stack, fries, nuggets and a drink – has a walk-up window where fans can get food. You’ll ask, “Is this heaven?” No, it’s Talladega. And if you weren’t totally sure, a Wendy’s-branded big rig will be pulling the float. That air horn you’ll hear is the sound of awesome.
● How do you know when you’ve made it? When you have your very own Frosty. Noah Gragson has indeed made it. The driver of the No. 62 Wendy’s $5 Biggie Bag Chevrolet Camaro developed the Blue Raspberry Frosty in the corporate kitchen of Wendy’s headquarters in Columbus, Ohio. It’s an exclusive treat that is only available at the Wendy’s pop-up store in the infield at Talladega.
● Since its NASCAR Cup Series debut in 2017, Beard Motorsports has proven to be the little team that could, a modern-day David competing against the Goliaths of NASCAR. The family-ownedorganization has taken a strategic approach to its racing endeavors, running only the superspeedway races at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway and its sister track, Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway. With a Chevrolet Camaro powered by an ECR-built engine, Beard Motorsports can race at the front, a fact proven by a pair of top-10 finishes in 2020 at the hands of former driver Brendan Gaughan – seventh in the Daytona 500 and eighth in the Coke Zero Sugar 400, also at Daytona.
● What drives Beard Motorsports? Passion. Linda, along with her children, carry on the pursuit of their husband and father, respectively, in racing and in business. Beard Motorsports and its family-owned company, Beard Oil Distributing – a certified women owned business – is a distinctive qualifier in the male-dominated sport of auto racing. Linda is hands-on with the family motorsports business and was alongside her husband as he pursued his passion of racing at Daytona – first as a NASCAR Xfinity Series driver in 1982 and simultaneously as a team owner. Today, Beard Motorsports competes in his honor. The GEICO 500 at Talladega will be the team’s 19th career NASCAR Cup Series start and its ninth at Talladega.
● While it’s Linda Beard at the top of Beard Motorsports’ masthead, the team is managed with ample support from her children, Amie and Mark Beard Jr., along with help from crew chief Darren Shaw and Gaughan, the former NASCAR Cup Series driver who made 17 of his 67 career Cup Series starts with Beard Motorsports. It was Gaughan who, upon retiring from racing at the conclusion of the 2020 season, tabbed Gragson to be his successor in the No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro. In addition to both being natives of Las Vegas, Gaughan has observed Gragson’s rise from regional racer to a competitor in NASCAR’s top national touring series.
● While Gragson is still a NASCAR Cup Series neophyte with only three career starts in NASCAR’s top series, he is not new to NASCAR. The 23-year-old competes fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for JR Motorsports (JRM) and 2022 marks his fourth season in NASCAR’s stepping-stone division to the elite NASCAR Cup Series. Gragson is a six-time winner in the Xfinity Series, and he scored his first career victory in the 2020 season opener at Daytona. He is coming off his best year yet where in 2021 Gragson won three races and advanced to the Championship 4 where he competed for the series title in the season finale at Phoenix Raceway, finishing a career-high third in points.
● Gragson’s first career NASCAR Cup Series start came with Beard Motorsports in this year’s Daytona 500. After starting 39th in the Great American Race, Gragson was running among the top-10 with just 10 laps remaining, But on lap 191, another car lost control and slid into his Gragson’s Chevrolet Camaro as the two raced through the frontstretch. Gragson was turned into the wall and his car suffered heavy front-end damage. Gragson was unhurt, but the same could not be said for his racecar. He was unable to continue the race and was ultimately credited with a 31st-place finish.
● Before joining the Xfinity Series fulltime in 2019, Gragson competed in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017 and 2018. He won twice – Martinsville (Va.) Speedway in October 2017 and Kansas Speedway in May 2018 – and finished second in the 2018 championship. Those Truck Series results were a continuation of the kind of talent Gragson showcased in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series. In 2015 and 2016, Gragson raced in this developmental league, regionally split into two divisions – K&N Pro Series East and K&N Pro Series West. Gragson won six races between the two entities and narrowly missed out on the 2015 West title by a scant seven points.