Brendan Gaughan caps final Daytona 500 with career-best finish

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 16: Brendan Gaughan, driver of the #62 Beard Motorsports/South Point Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR Cup Series 62nd Annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2020 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

With 10 laps left in his final Daytona 500, Brendan Gaughan was two laps down.

Two quick cautions, however—the last one coming on Lap 199 of a scheduled 200—got Gaughan back on the lead lap as the highest-scored lapped car just in time for the first of two overtimes.

Gaughan made the most of the opportunity, driving up to seventh place by the time the race reached its chaotic conclusion, with Denny Hamlin winning by inches over Ryan Blaney.

“My last Daytona 500, my career-best finish, what an amazing finish,” Gaughan said afterward. “The Beard Oil Team, what a great job. I’m so proud of all the guys; we don’t quit. Right now, my thoughts are with Newman.”

“Twenty-three or 24 years of this and finally a top-10 in the Daytona 500 and a chance to win. The guys didn’t quit, the pit crew didn’t quit. I love the Beard family and thank you for the opportunity. For us, this is a big deal. We’re a small team with one employee, a car chief that’s a plumber, and we come home with a top-ten in the Daytona 500. I had a shot there at the end to win. That’s Daytona, man! This stuff is wild. I do love this racing. We take this risk, love this risk and we do what we love. I still love what I do.”