NASCAR Cup Series
Noah Gragson Requests Release From LEGACY MOTOR CLUB Contract
Aug 10, 2023
After three seasons of competing in the NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series, John Hunter Nemechek is set to return to the NASCAR Cup Series, completing the two-driver lineup for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB in 2024, alongside Erik Jones.
Nemechek, who currently competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series for Joe Gibbs Racing, will pilot the No. 42 Toyota Camry TRD for the organization, in what will be his second full-season campaign at NASCAR's top level, and his first since 2020.
“To be able to announce my plans for next season so early and officially say I will be competing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series relieves a lot of pressure,” Nemechek said. “There is so much to be done for next year, and this gives us the opportunity to get the news out there and move forward. Also, driving for Maury (Gallagher), Jimmie (Johnson) and Richard Petty is a dream come true for me.”
For the native of Mooresville, North Carolina, the No. 42 is significant, as his father Joe carried that same car number for the better part of three seasons in the NASCAR Cup Series, when driving for Felix Sabates from 1997 to 1999.
“We’re excited to have John Hunter in the LEGACY MOTOR CLUB family and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the No. 42 next season,” said Johnson. “He is impressive both on and off the track and will be a great ambassador for LEGACY M.C. and our partners. He will be a solid teammate to Erik (Jones) and I can’t wait to watch them both compete for wins and championships for years to come.”
Following a full-time campaign in the NASCAR Cup Series with Front Row Motorsports, which netted him three top-10 finishes in 2020, the now 26-year-old driver elected to make the jump down to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2021 with Kyle Busch Motorsports and Toyota.
“Going back to the Truck Series was humbling in a way, but it was the best thing I ever did for myself and my career,” said Nemechek. “I was able to compete for wins and two championships for KBM where we won races and were consistently one of the teams to beat week in and week out.”
In a two-season stint with Kyle Busch Motorsports, Nemechek collected seven victories in the NASCAR Truck Series but would come short of the championship in both years, earning finishes of third and fifth in points.
After scoring a victory in his limited showings in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Nemechek would then be promoted to the second-tier series on a full-time basis for 2023, driving the No. 20 Toyota GR Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing.
With eight races remaining on the calendar, Nemechek is highly regarded as one of two championship favorites, having scored a total of five victories this season at Auto Club, Martinsville, Atlanta, Loudon, and most recently, Michigan.
Nemechek has quickly become one of Toyota Racing Development's top NASCAR National Series prospects, which made this deal with LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, who will switch to Toyota in 2024, a no-brainer, especially considering the driver's experience.
“John Hunter has been around a racetrack literally since the day he was born,” Wells III said. “I have watched him since he was a little kid – from walking around the track in a firesuit matching the one worn by his father - to becoming the talent he is today. He is a perfect fit for the Club and I expect great things out of him.”
For LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, the team's final season under the Chevrolet umbrella hasn't gone as well as originally hoped, with Erik Jones carrying the organization with a total of six top-10 results, and a 27th-place points position.
As for the team's second entry, which Nemechek will jump into for 2024, the team has struggled immensely, with a best finish of 12th, and only four finishes inside the top-20 with a roster that includes Noah Gragson, Mike Rockenfeller, Josh Berry, and most recently, Carson Hocevar.