● Beard Motorsports wraps up its 2023 NASCAR Cup Series campaign with Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 on the 2.28-mile, 17-turn road course at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway. It’s the final appearance this season for the No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro, which previously took to the track with NASCAR Xfinity Series championship-contending driver Austin Hill behind the wheel at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, Atlanta Motor Speedway, and twice each at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn. Hill will be back behind the wheel this weekend.
● Sunday’s road-course race will be the sixth career Cup Series start for Hill, who made his series debut last season at Michigan. It will be his first-ever start on a road course in Cup Series competition.
● While Hill is new to road-course racing at the Cup Series level, he has an abundance of road-course experience in both the Xfinity Series and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Top-five finishes litter his Xfinity Series road-racing resume with third-, fourth- and fifth-place finishes at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway, Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin, and the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Highlighting Hill’s road-racing resume is his August 2021 Truck Series victory at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, where the native of Winston, Georgia, qualified on the pole and led a race-high 35 laps along the way.
● United Rentals partners with Beard Motorsports for Sunday’s Bank of America Roval 400 for the second time this season. With an integrated network of 1,487 rental locations in North America, 14 in Europe, 23 in Australia and 19 in New Zealand, United Rentals, Inc., is the largest equipment rental company in the world. Founded in 1997, the company operates in 49 states and every Canadian province within North America. The company’s approximately 25,750 employees serve construction and industrial customers, utilities, municipalities, homeowners and other customers. United Rentals will be the primary sponsor for Beard’s last scheduled race of the 2023 season at Charlotte.
● The last time Hill and Beard Motorsports paired up was during the Aug. 26 Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona. Hill ran a patient race after qualifying 30th. He raced as high as 11th and avoided the mayhem that unfolded during the event to finish 14th.
● The No. 62 Beard team operates as a family owned and run team that started as a passion project for the late Mark Beard Sr. Since his passing in early 2021, the team has operated under the guidance of family matriarch Linda Beard. The team is managed and nourished by daughter Amie Beard, who manages the day-to-day operations, and son Mark Jr., who provides leadership and support. Darren Shaw continues to oversee car and team preparations in the role of crew chief while the team continues to leverage the power of ECR engines. Beard Motorsports and its family owned company, Beard Oil Distributing – a certified women-owned business – both operate and thrive in male-dominated industries.
Linda Beard, Owner of the No. 62 United Rentals Chevrolet Camaro for Beard Motorsports:
This has been a departure from the typical season for Beard Motorsports with races at Atlanta, Michigan and, now Charlotte, joining the traditional superspeedway races at Daytona and Talladega. What has the experience been like for you?
“This schedule is something we have been determined to do and it was a group decision from Amie and Mark Jr., to Darren (Shaw, crew chief) and Brendan (Gaughan). I do think that we’ve been competitive and that is our goal. You never want to go and look bad, so we strive as hard as we can to go and put our best foot forward. I think we have accomplished a lot of that and we’re proud of what we have been able to do. We just try to keep doing what we’re doing and plowing through it and making the best decisions we can.”
The No. 62 team is a labor of love for you and your family. What has it been like this year to see it grow with the expanded schedule and additional partners?
“My husband gave us this love of racing and keeping his vision alive is very important and central to this team. And we are enjoying it. We love it. It’s not always easy – racing at this level is not easy. We just try to do the best we can every time we are on the track. We are very determined. We don’t go there to lose. We go to be competitive and try to win so that’s what we keep in mind all of the time. We aren’t settling for something. We want to make this work so we can win.”
Austin Hill has been behind the wheel for all of your races in 2023. What has that experience been like?
“The drivers that we’ve had have all become family. We just kind of bring them into the fold. We enjoy all of them and their personalities. It’s been so much fun to be with each of them and to get to know them. We’ve had two crazy guys from Las Vegas in Brendan (Gaughan) and Noah (Gragson). Austin is so nice and respectful, and we enjoy spending time with him at the track. He’s very business-like and serious about his racing. He and his family are so sweet. He’s a very dedicated guy and we’ve been so lucky to have him on board this year.”
Austin Hill, Driver of the No. 62 United Rentals Chevrolet Camaro:
When you look at the calendar and see a road race coming up, how do you respond to it? Do you look forward to road-course racing?
“It’s something I look forward to – I love road-course racing. I just love all of the shifting that you’re doing. You’re turning left and right. You’re hopping curbs. You’re driving the heck out of these racecars to go fast. And that’s what I like about that. I feel like it kind of puts it in the driver’s hands.”
You have fared pretty well in the road-course events in Xfinity Series competition with top-five finishes in Portland, Austin and Elkhart Lake, to name a few, as well as your Truck Series win at Watkins Glen. What have you learned through those experiences?
“The road courses have been solid for us in Xfinity. The more I’ve run those types of races, I’ve been able to figure out what I like and what I don’t like in the car. I think that can help us this weekend in Charlotte. The biggest thing for us will be survival – lining up and getting in line, making laps and trying to be solid. We will see where we stack up pace-wise, and then adjust how we want to approach the race. And that will change during the race, but running all the laps is the first step.”
This is your final Cup Series start of the season with Beard Motorsports. How has the experience been for you?
“It’s been a great experience – the seat time in a Cup car and getting to know the Beard family. The Beards are just really great people who treat you like family, so that’s been great. Every time I was in the Cup car, I felt like I learned something. The Cup cars in general just drive a lot differently than the Xfinity cars. And the competition definitely steps up at this level.”