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Noah Gragson to attempt next month’s Daytona 500

From familiar faces and redemption runs to Michael Jordan's brand new racing team, NASCAR on NBC takes a look at the top storylines going into the 2021 season.

NASCAR Xfinity Series regular Noah Gragson will attempt to make his Cup debut in next month’s Daytona 500 with Beard Motorsports, the team announced Thursday.

Gragson will drive the No. 62 Chevrolet. The team does not have a charter and is not guaranteed a starting spot.

If he makes the Daytona 500, his debut at NASCAR’s top level will come one day after opening his 2021 Xfinity season for JR Motorsports.

The story was first reported Dec. 23 by

The 22-year-old Gragson takes over the No. 62 entry from fellow Las Vegas native Brendan Gaughan, who ended his NASCAR career following last October’s Cup race at Talladega Superspeedway.

Gaughan drove in a part-time role for Beard Motorsports, primarily on superspeedways, from 2017-20. During that span, he recorded four top-10 finishes, including two last season at the Daytona 500 (seventh) and the regular-season finale at Daytona (eighth).

“I’m excited and humbled to have this opportunity with Beard Motorsports,” Gragson said in a team release. “As a young racer from Las Vegas, I had always dreamt of racing in the Daytona 500. I’m very appreciative of the faith the Beard family and Brendan have in me, and equally appreciative to JR Motorsports for allowing me to pull double duty and compete for them in the Xfinity Series and also Beard Motorsports while we’re down in Daytona.”

Gragson earned his first career Xfinity win in the 2020 season opener at Daytona. He went on to add another victory at Bristol in June and finish fifth in the season standings.

“Noah is in a really great position,” said Gaughan, a long-time acquaintance of Gragson, in the same release. “He’ll be in his third year of Xfinity with a strong team in JR Motorsports, and he’ll get to sample and understand what the Cup Series is about.

“Every time you strap into a race car, it’s an opportunity to learn, but it’s also supposed to be fun. He’ll be able to do both with Beard Motorsports.”