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February 14, 2024

Anthony Alfredo

Linda Beard

Amie Beard

Daytona Beach, Florida

Press Conference

An Interview with:

THE MODERATOR: We are now joined by Anthony Alfredo, driver of the No. 62 Beard Motorsports Chevrolet, along with Amie and Linda Beard.

How does it feel to qualify once again for the 500?

LINDA BEARD: Feels wonderful. There's no feeling like it. So we're really happy.

THE MODERATOR: I'll open it up for questions.

Q. Anthony, you've been in this race once before, but to come here with the nerves to have to race your way in, what have the emotions been like and how much relief melted off your shoulders on pit road the moment when you knew you were racing?

ANTHONY ALFREDO: Certainly enough to make me shed a tear, that's for sure. I wasn't anticipating that kind of feeling. Linda did tell me this weekend that racing in the Daytona 500 is a moment and a feeling unlike any other. I definitely experienced that today.

I know you mentioned I have raced in the Daytona 500 in 2021. That was during the pandemic. It was super weird. There was no Media Day, there weren't many fans, we didn't get to engage with many people. We didn't have the hype and camaraderie around it. I don't think I really got to truly appreciate what this event means from a driver perspective.

I sat in the stands many times certainly as a kid growing up dreaming of being a driver with the opportunity to compete in this race.

To be here is a dream come true in a way, but this is obviously only the first step. Still got the big race on Sunday. I'm really thankful to be able to deliver for the Beard family because they've been nothing but a pleasure to get to know. I'm truly honored to be the one behind the wheel. We have an awesome sponsor in Death Wish Coffee that is here in full support. We wanted to go race for 500 miles on Sunday with them.

Q. Amie or Linda, we know the story. You guys could have easily taken this 62 car after Mark Sr.'s passing and packed up and gone home. You've kept coming back. Is it for moments like this?

AMIE BEARD: Absolutely.

LINDA BEARD: Absolutely it is.

AMIE BEARD: I think dad would be extremely excited and thrilled. Losing dad was very hard. We also have family businesses included in this. But there was no question of it. We had to keep doing it for the legacy of him.

It's for our love, too. It keeps him alive for us. We thrive from it. We love it. Thank you.

LINDA BEARD: He started this. I always told him, This is not going to last. It's not going to last. But as he always said, This is a business. I went, Okay.

He loved it. Then I loved it. I just said, Okay, this is what we're going to do.

After he passed, I just said we're not stopping. We're just going to keep going so... Because we love it, too.

AMIE BEARD: Yeah, absolutely.

Q. Linda, touching on what you just talked about, what does it feel like for you when you come here now and you try to make the Daytona 500, just the whole process, the emotional process of getting here? Then when you make the race, how good does that feel?

LINDA BEARD: Well, it's emotional to come to Daytona for me for a couple reasons. Mark and I came here for probably 40-some years, came to the races. He raced here. So that's emotional to come back here because this is a place he really loved. And so did we.

To do that is always emotional for me to come back here. To do this and to do it as many times as we have, it's a blessing for us because we're a small team. A lot of people take this for granted that are here.

We don't take it for granted, you know? So when you do it like this and you get fast time, it's like you proved something not only to other people but you prove it to yourself.

That's really important for me, is to be relevant and to do this the way we want to do it and to do a good job at it, so...

Q. Does the Next Gen car kind of make stories like this more -- I don't want to see easier, but give you the opportunity to kind of have a story like this? Because the Next Gen car, the way it's designed, the way the parts are put in, you don't have to have a huge team to be able to field a race car.

LINDA BEARD: Well, that could be. But when we had the other car, we did really well also. So I think this does make it challenging because everything is so close together with every other team.

It does make this kind of sweet today, to be able to do this and to say that we've done that, so... It's a great feeling.

Q. Anthony, what has it been like working with this team? Seems like whatever driver they have brought in just has a blast with this group. It's a small group, but fun group. What is it like for you to have been a part of this group so far?

ANTHONY ALFREDO: It's been awesome. I feel right at home with them. They're super fun to be around, energetic. Just the little bit we got to know each other even coming to the race had me more and more excited to get here. Honestly, more and more motivated to make this race.

To do that was an accomplishment for all of us. Like I said earlier, it's a goal or one step in a bigger picture.

It's not easy to do, as Linda touched on. I do feel like with this new car, it's a double-edged sword. The old car there were bigger gaps, but now with the new one, the small things matter.

To come here as a single-car team that runs part-time, I mean, look at the scoring, it wasn't even close in the open cars. I feel good about that (laughter). We were thinking maybe we could be second or third realistically.

I mean, to be the fastest one was super cool. We're legitimately top 20 right now against all these big organizations. I think we showed some muscle going into Sunday, which is important as well. We're not here to ride around and be a part of the race; we want to go race and have a shot at the end.

They have that same mindset. I quickly learned why everyone has enjoyed working with them so much. Just fortunate to be the one behind the wheel this time.

Q. Linda, in the initial press release, announcing the four races, Anthony was confirmed for two of them. Can you shed any insight on what the team is looking at doing for the rest of the season.

LINDA BEARD: I don't know (laughter).

ANTHONY ALFREDO: Hopefully more.

LINDA BEARD: Hopefully more, yes.

Yes, we do have some plans. They're not finalized yet. So, yeah, we'll just take this.

AMIE BEARD: More to come.

LINDA BEARD: More to come. With Brendan Gaughan, we come here to not only have a great time, because for us this is a great time, but we come here to be competitive. We don't come here just to sit in the back. We come here to win. That's what's in our mind, is how good we can get and be.

But we want to have a great time while we're doing it. There's a lot of pressure in that garage for a lot of people. Yes, we do feel pressure. But we laugh and we have a good time and we joke around. That makes it really important to all of us, because that makes it why we want to come back and do it.

AMIE BEARD: It's the love. The love of it. The love of the sport.

Q. Is there more to come? If not, maybe more than four races?

LINDA BEARD: We don't know yet. We're not sure yet. I wouldn't want to say that and then have it not be true.

Q. Go win the 500, Anthony.

LINDA BEARD: Then we'll do a lot more (laughter).


AMIE BEARD: Exactly.

Q. Anthony, before Sunday you have the Duels. What is your strategy for that? Is your strategy any different on that than the team owners up there?

ANTHONY ALFREDO: I think we're all on the same page now. We clearly have a really fast Chevrolet Camaro. We want to make sure we keep it clean for Sunday.

At the start, obviously, we want to show we can push and get pushed and have a fast car. I don't think it will take long for us to kind of single out. If it does go single file, we'll probably hang out. If not, I think we're all on the same page about doing whatever it takes at this point to protect the car. We can only make it worse, right? At this point we've accomplished the best-case scenario, so we'll just try to do that.

Brendan and I talked about the Duels literally for hours today. Now they don't really matter, so we can go back to square one and say let's focus on Sunday, which is a great feeling.


Q. Linda, you talked about wanting to continue this on and how important it was, what it means to be down here in Daytona. What are the memories, the things that you think back to that make this place special, whether it's this spot in the garage or this spot on pit road or here or there that really have a personal feeling for you that make this such a personal event that other people don't have that experience, per se?

LINDA BEARD: Well, there's a lot to that. There's just the fact of that being a great dream of my husband's, to do this. So that comes on me, too, that I want to keep doing that.

But it's just the memories of our first couple years that we were here when we came and Brendan was driving for us. We didn't know anything. Brendan always picks on us about that. He makes fun of us. But he loved it.

It was just all that experience. So it was experience in knowing that Mark had the chance to do that in his life. That means a lot to me.

It's just the excitement of being here. I often say that when I'm on the grid with the car, whether it's here or Talladega or whatever, but especially here, there's no feeling like it, to be able to walk down that grid and know that you have made and you are in the Daytona 500. That's just the legacy of the 500.

For a family such as ourselves, and for Anthony, or for whoever is driving for us, that's a thrill. A lot of people, like I said, take that for granted. So those memories, every time you come back, you wonder, Can I do this again? Can we do this again? Is this the last time?

Yeah, I was pretty thrilled tonight to know it wasn't the last time.

AMIE BEARD: We also have very fond memories of my dad. There were times he would be in the high-top chair right there at the pit box or yet he'd be in the fan zone, surrounded by other people that don't even know who he is or that he's the team owner. It didn't matter.

It's just the memories of walking through those steps and the joys. So that's very special for here, especially for our family.

Q. Anthony, have you even had a chance to process that you still have your day job on Saturday before the 500 on Sunday?

ANTHONY ALFREDO: Thanks for the reminder.

I still have to qualify for that one, as well. We don't have any points in the Xfinity side, so that's going to be an event of itself, I'm sure. This is definitely a load off the shoulders going into that, that race.

But, man, this is the coolest thing, to be pulling double duty on the biggest weekend of the year at the most notorious track in motorsports let alone NASCAR.

A lot of in and out of the car this weekend that I'm really looking forward to. I promise I will not take any second of it for granted because this is just the time of my life right now.

Q. If current iteration "Fast Pasta" could have told your 16-year-old self that when you were running late models that you'd be here, doing double duty and qualifying into the 500 on speed, could you have even believed it at that point?

ANTHONY ALFREDO: I don't know. Probably not. It just seems so -- I don't want to say farfetched because I always believed in myself and the people I had around me. At that time, you never know. The sport is so tough. I think that's all it was at that point in time, was a dream, right?

I certainly knew for a fact at that age that I was going to do everything in my power, give it my all to get to this point in my career and not stop until I'm a Cup Series champion someday because that's my ultimate dream.

I also celebrate the small accomplishment, the little wins along the way. I think that's important to keep that motivation and keep pushing along the way.

It's a long way to go. I'm only 24 years old. I feel like I'm just getting started.

Q. This is not a little win.

LINDA BEARD: That's right. I was just thinking that (laughter).

Q. Linda, I wanted to make sure I have this right. Darren, the crew chief, is the only full-time employee for Beard Motorsports?


Q. What can you say about the effort he puts into overseeing everything that goes into it?

LINDA BEARD: I always say that Darren is the man. We wouldn't be sitting up here right now if it was not for Darren Shaw. Mark hired him, and he is so loyal to Mark and to our family that he puts in so many long hours. He never complains, he knows what to do. I have full confidence in him. He does a great job, believe me. He's really something special.

He's like part of our family. The thing about being a family team is that when these drivers come in, or your crew or whoever, you become like family. Even if we're only hear four or five times a year, we just make it that way. That's our choice to make it that way.

Q. From a driver's perspective, Brendan Gaughan was instrumental in helping this team get to the racetrack. What is his role with the team, his official title?

LINDA BEARD: My husband said he was vice president of racing operations, gave him business cards the year he retired. He's like, Oh, I can never get away from these people (laughter).

He's great. He's a great PR person for us. Brendan has a great personality. He's our biggest cheerleader, I'm telling you. We can call him anytime, whenever we need. But he's always here for us, always here for us.

Yeah, he's like my next kid. He's like a part of the family.

THE MODERATOR: Thank you for the time. Good luck this weekend.

FastScripts Transcript by ASAP Sports

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