Brendan Gaughan Reveals He Approached Jimmie Johnson Before Noah Gragson for 2021 NASCAR Daytona 500

Published 01/15/2021, 11:31 AM EST
BRISTOL, TN – APRIL 06: Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Ally Chevrolet, prepares to drive during practice for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway in Bristol, Tennessee. (Photo by Donald Page/Getty Images)


It has been just about a few months since Jimmie Johnson retired from full-time Cup Series racing. But Beard Motorsports advisor and their former driver, Brendan Gaughan, has said that he wanted the seven-time champion to race for his team in the 2021 Daytona 500!

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Speaking in an interview, Brendan said, “Look, I’m an old guy like the old guys, so I figured I’ll give Jimmie or Jeff a call first. But Jimmie’s first response was, ‘Dude, I just left for a reason, I’m old! I don’t wanna do that!’”

The former Hendrick Motorsports No.48 has had his fair share of participation in the Daytona 500, competing 19 times and even winning it twice. Surely then, it would have been surprising to see him back on track only months after announcing his departure!

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LONG POND, PA – AUGUST 03: (L-R) Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe’s Chevrolet and Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 DuPont Chevrolet, stand in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Nextel Cup Series Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway on August 3, 2007 in Long Pond, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Jimmie Johnson was an ‘outside shot’, says Brendan Gaughan

“I had Noah kinda in the back of my head most of the time, and the kid’s earned his shot at a good ride. He was amazing last year, winning Daytona at the beginning of the year.”

“He’s earned it, he is over on a Chevy team, you know Dale Earnhardt Jr, which is the right manufacturing. He fits in with the Beard 62 car,” he added.

Following his exploits in the 2020 Xfinity Series campaign, one could say Gragson definitely has done everything to deserve this chance. Gaughan also reveals that the young driver certainly made the top of his shortlist, before eventually selecting him.

“Jimmie was an outside shot I was going to give him a, you know, can’t hurt to try. But Noah was in my head most of the time,” concluded Gaughan on the subject.

Gragson will pilot the No.62 Beard Motorsports car at the 2021 Daytona 500

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The Beard No.62 Chevrolet, helped by its technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing, speared through to achieve a Top-10 finish in the 2020 Daytona 500. Now, Xfinity Series driver Gragson gets a shot at a first taste of Cup Series racing action.

NEWTON, IOWA – JUNE 16: Noah Gragson, driver of the #9 Switch Chevrolet, watches qualifying for the NASCAR Xfinity Series CircuitCity.com 250 Presented by Tamron at Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa. (Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images)

The 22-year-old has experience winning at Daytona, courtesy of his excellent drive in the 2020 Daytona 300. He ultimately finished 5th in the division, winning two races along the way.

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Hence, both Beard Motorsports and Brendan will look on expectedly to see how Gragson performs in the upcoming Daytona 500.

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Bhargav Gopal

927 articles

Hailing from Bengaluru, Bhargav is an F1 and NASCAR author for EssentiallySports. He is a huge fan of Max Verstappen and Red Bull Racing. Bhargav also has an MBA in Sports Management from the Symbiosis School of Sports Sciences, Pune.

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