Gragson Finishes 31st at Daytona
Las Vegas Native’s NASCAR Cup Series Debut Gets Derailed by Multicar Accident
Event: 64th Running of the Daytona 500 (Round 1 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway (2.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (65 laps/65 laps/70 laps)
Start/Finish: 39th/31st (Accident, completed 190 of 201 laps)
Note: Race extended one lap past its scheduled 200-lap distance due to a green-white-checkered finish.
Race Winner: Austin Cindric of Team Penske (Ford)
Stage 1 Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex Jr., of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-65):
- Noah Gragson rolled of the grid in 39th for his first career NASCAR Cup Series start. He finished the first stage in 12th.
- Using the draft to his advantage, Gragson wheeled the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro up to 23rd by lap 24.
- On lap 38, Gragson made a scheduled, green flag pit stop for right-side tires and fuel. He returned to the track in 22nd.
- While under caution on lap 42, Gragson reported that his car was handling well. The team pitted again to top off with fuel.
- Gragson avoided an eight-car accident on lap 64 and drove all the way up to 12th, maintaining the position through the end of the stage.
- Upon the conclusion of the stage, Gragson pitted for four tires and fuel. He made a second pit stop to fill the car’s fuel cell before the race went back to green
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 66-130):
- Gragson started 21st and finished 19th.
- Gragson raced his way up to 15th by lap 82.
- Gragson was 14th before making a scheduled, green flag pit stop for tires and fuel on lap 106.
- After the pit stop, Gragson fell back to 22nd, but he worked his way up to 19th by the end of the stage.
- During the break, the team pitted for right-side tires and fuel.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 131-200):
- Gragson started 14th and finished 31st.
- Gragson drafted his way into the top-10 to where he was running eighth by lap 142.
- During a caution on lap 152, Gragson said he was happy with the balance of his No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro. Crew chief Darren Shaw made a strategy call and pitted Gragson twice to fill the car up with as much fuel as possible. Gragson restarted 14th.
- On lap 191 while Gragson was running in the top-10, another car lost control and slid into his Chevrolet Camaro as the two raced through the frontstretch. Gragson was turned into the wall and his car suffered heavy front-end damage and was unable to continue. Gragson was unhurt.
- Austin Cindric won the 64th Daytona 500 to score his first NASCAR Cup Series victory in just his eighth career start. His margin over second-place Bubba Wallace was .036 of a second.
- There were seven caution periods for a total of 37 laps.
- Fifteen of the 40 drivers in the race finished on the lead lap.
- Cindric leaves Daytona tied with Brad Keselowski for the championship lead. Both have 54 points with a five-point advantage over their nearest pursuer, Martin Truex Jr.
Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro:
“I felt like we had a strong run going and we had been doing a great job all day. We ran really hard there and we were competitive, so we were happy about running eighth there. I felt like we were going to be in good position there to at least go for a top-five. Our car was great all day. Thanks to everyone at Beard Motorsports and to all of the fans out here.”
The next event on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the Wise Power 400 on Sunday, Feb. 27 at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The race begins at 3:30 p.m. ET with live coverage provided by FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Gragson and Beard Motorsports’ next race is the Geico 500 April 24 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. That race starts at 3 p.m. ET with live coverage on FOX and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.