Qualifying for Daytona 500 is special for 24-year-old driver and his small racing team

Shane Connuck, The Charlotte Observer on

Published in Auto Racing

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Qualifying into the Daytona 500 made Anthony Alfredo shed a tear.

The 24-year-old driver sat in the grandstands of Daytona International Speedway countless times as a kid, when he had dreams of just having the ability to drive a race car.

On Wednesday night, Alfredo accomplished what he considers a dream come true, earning a spot in the “Great American Race” (2:30 p.m., Sunday).

And the accomplishment may have meant even more to his team.

Beard Motorsports, which will field a No. 62 Chevy in four Cup races this year, was founded by the late Mark Beard Sr. His passing, which came a few weeks before the 2021 Daytona 500, devastated his family.

But Beard’s widow, Linda, and daughter, Amie, felt they needed to continue his NASCAR team. They knew he wouldn’t have wanted it to fold, and this was an opportunity to continue his legacy.


“We showed some muscle going into Sunday,” a cheerful Alfredo said. “We’re not here to ride around and just be a part of the race. We want to go race and have a shot at the end.”

Alfredo raced in the Daytona 500 in 2021, when he competed full-time in the Cup Series for Front Row Motorsports. He finished 30th with just one Top 10 finish that season and was dropped.

After competing in two Cup races last year with Live Fast Motorsports, Alfredo joined Beard for four races, the rest of which will be announced later in the year. He’ll compete full-time in the Xfinity Series, driving Our Motorsports’ No. 5 Chevy.

“We come here to be competitive,” Linda Beard said. “We don’t come here just to sit in the back. We come here to win.”


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