Daytona and Talladega have historically been the tracks that make up the racing campaign for Beard Motorsports. This year, you have raced at Atlanta and you will run the road course at Charlotte, in addition to this weekend’s race at Michigan. What made you decide to expand the schedule?
“It was really a combination of many things that made it possible. The current car definitely helps a lot because there is more versatility to it. When Austin Hill and his team came to us last year with the idea to race for us and add to the schedule, it was just a great opportunity to see how far we could take this. We have some great partners on board with us this season and that’s really kind of taken this racing program to a level we didn’t expect. When Mark (Beard Sr.) was in charge, I didn’t worry about any of it because I knew he would make the decisions. It’s definitely different now, doing that, and it makes it a little bit harder. I have a lot of help and support from my daughter Amie and son Mark Jr., but doing this definitely makes the actual racing more rewarding, and you end up wanting to do more.”
What does it mean to you to be racing at home in Michigan?
“Well the travel will be a lot better, for sure! I think it is going to be exciting for us – we have so many friends and family there. Our business is there. The whole NASCAR thing can still feel a little overwhelming, and even intimidating sometimes, so being so close to home and racing there, I think, gives us a better opportunity to enjoy the day and share it with our guests."
How will it feel to see the No. 62 car out on the track at Michigan?
“I think it could be a little emotional for us. My husband gave us this love of racing. The whole reason we decided to stay the course and keep racing is so we could carry on what he had started, to see what we could do with it. I think deep down it felt like the right thing to do. Every time we see that No. 62 on the track, it’s like having a piece of him there with us. Mark always wanted to run a race at this level at Michigan and he came close. Doing it now is going to be very special.”
Will you have more than the usual number of people at the track this weekend, and will you be doing anything special?
“We have always been known to buck trends and do things our way. That’s what Brendan (Gaughan) has always said and he’s right. But it will definitely be a celebration for our family and for our employees with Beard Oil to see our car on the track. We are going to be hosting a few more people than we normally do, but we also want our employees and customers to be a part of this. We have a number of them coming to the race and our plan is to show them around, let them tour the garage, see the car – all the things that go into the race weekend – and Michigan gives us the opportunity to do this.”
How do you think your guests who have never been to a race will feel after their first race?
“They will become racers for life! Every time we bring guests and clients to the racetrack, they are excited to be there and they gain a new perspective of what it takes to be at this level of racing. I find you can tell people about it all you want but, until they see it, feel the rumble of the engines and become a part of it, they really have no idea what it is like. It is then that they have become not only fans of the mighty 62, but of racing in general, and we love that!”