Beard Motorsports has selected Austin Hill to drive its No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro in a limited NASCAR Cup Series schedule in 2023. The non-chartered, single-car team will run six races with Hill beginning with the 65th Daytona 500 on Feb. 19 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
Hill competes fulltime in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Richard Childress Racing (RCR) and is in the midst of wrapping up an impressive rookie campaign that has seen the 28-year-old racer from Winston, Georgia, score two wins and make the NASCAR Playoffs. Prior to joining RCR for his maiden Xfinity Series effort, Hill spent four, fulltime seasons in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, winning eight races and qualifying for the NASCAR Playoffs three times.
“From the moment I started in quarter midgets back home in Georgia, racing in the NASCAR Cup Series has always been my goal,” Hill said. “I’m incredibly grateful to Richard Childress for giving me the platform to race and win in my first season in the Xfinity Series, and for the opportunity the Beard family has provided me to run more races in Cup.”
Family has played a major role in Hill’s NASCAR ascent. The married father of three operated his own race team alongside his dad, Bryan, for years. If there’s anyone who appreciates the tight, family atmosphere of Beard Motorsports, it’s Hill.
“We’re a proud, family-run race team and these six races in 2023 are moments we’re really looking forward to,” said Amie Beard, executive vice president, Beard Motorsports. “No job is too small here at Beard Motorsports, and if anyone can appreciate that, it’s Austin. He’s raced and run his own team and been successful. It’s helped make him a really good driver and an even better person and we’re thrilled to have him as part of our team.”
After Daytona, where Hill will have to race his way into The Great American Race because Beard Motorsports has no guaranteed starting spot in the Daytona 500, Hill will drive the mighty No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro April 23 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, July 2 at the Chicago Street Course, Aug. 6 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Aug. 26 at Daytona and Oct. 1 at Talladega. Sponsorship for each of these races will be announced at later dates.
“Austin has really seized the opportunities that he’s had in his young career. He’s won in Trucks and here he is winning in his first year in the Xfinity Series. It’s all very impressive. He brings a lot of talent and just a really strong desire to compete, and that’s a great combination for us to have at Beard Motorsports,” said Mark Beard Jr., executive vice president, Beard Motorsports.
Beard Motorsports has typically run just four races a year – two at Daytona and two at Talladega. For 2023, the decision was made for the generational race team founded by the late Mark Beard Sr., and now run by his wife, Linda Beard, to expand its schedule in order to be a part of the inaugural street race in Chicago and to also compete in the Beards’ home state of Michigan since Beard Motorsports is located two hours north of the 2-mile oval in Mount Pleasant.
“Our family has grown up in Michigan and we’ve all grown up around racing, so being able to race at our home track is something we’re genuinely excited to see happen,” Linda Beard said. “It’s an excellent way to promote Beard Oil Distributing. We’re a third-generation, family company that has always called Michigan home. We’ve been providing fuel and lubricants exclusively to contractors for more than 50 years, and now we’ll be able to say ‘Thank you’ to a lot of those customers at a race that’s right in our backyard.”
Beard Motorsports has proven to be the little team that could, a modern-day David competing against the Goliaths of the NASCAR Cup Series. The team employs just one fulltime person – crew chief Darren Shaw – and has since its debut in the 2017 Daytona 500 when it finished 11th with driver Brendan Gaughan. Beard Motorsports regularly punches above its weight, a fact highlighted just two months ago when Noah Gragson drove the No. 62 Beard Oil Distributing Chevrolet Camaro to a superb fifth-place finish in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona.
The 2023 Daytona 500 will mark Beard Motorsports’ 22nd NASCAR Cup Series race and its 11th at Daytona. For Hill, it will be just his second career start in NASCAR’s premier series. Hill made his NASCAR Cup Series debut in August at Michigan, where he drove to a respectable 18th-place finish.