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Jimmie Johnson on Noah Gragson: “I’m Proud of Him”

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Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
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The Legacy Motor Club owner reveals that he still keeps in touch with former driver, Noah Gragson as he goes through NASCAR's rehabilitation process, working on reinstatement

What’s Happening?

Jimmie Johnson appeared as a guest on the Dirty Mo Media podcast, Next Level with Andrew Kurland. He discussed several different topics, including the manufacturer switch from Chevrolet to Toyota for the 2024 season. But what caught the attention of most fans was the short clip where Jimmie Johnson revealed that he still keeps up to date with his former driver, Noah Gragson.

You Need To Know:

  • Noah Gragson and Legacy Motor Club “mutually parted ways” following the reveal earlier this summer that the former driver of the LMC No. 42 liked a racially insensitive post on Instagram. Future SHR driver and current driver of the No. 8 Chevy for JR Motorsports, Josh Berry, filled in for Gragson in the immediate aftermath before Carson Hocevar would get his turn at the wheel. The new 2024 full-time driver will be John Hunter Nemechek, so a return to the team for Gragson is out of the question.
  • While nothing about Gragson’s 2024 plan is known, Jimmie did state in this interview with Andrew Kurland that Gragson is going through the necessary steps to be reinstated as a NASCAR driver. Johnson said that he checks in on him still to see how he’s doing “as a friend”, first and foremost, also stating that he is proud of his former driver for growing as a person.
  • Despite what Jimmie has said, many fans are skeptical of his motivations. Many believe that he doesn’t keep in contact with Gragson and view it as just another dirty deal on behalf of Toyota and Maury Gallagher. Other fans believe that Gragson shouldn’t have been fired or “released from his contract upon request” at all which only fuels the skepticism.

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In the clip below, posted via Dirty Mo Media’s X (formerly known as Twitter) page, Jimmie talks about Gragson and his process through sensitivity training and his progress.

While we still don’t know for certain where Noah Gragson will turn up in 2024, I think most fans and industry insiders are hopeful that he will get better and be in a racecar at some capacity next season.

Also Read:

The Main Characters

The story of Legacy Motor Club throughout the 2023 season has been quite a wild one. When Jimmie Johnson signed on as partial team owner, nobody saw it coming. Performances have been poor throughout the year which may or may not have figured into the decision to leave Chevrolet for Toyota for the 2024 season. That alone is enough to make them a main character in this epic story but the fact that co-team owner, Jimmie Johnson, is still in consistent contact with Gragson bodes well for his eventual return to the series.

This hiccup in the season-long struggle LMC has had throughout the year started when it was revealed that their driver of the No. 42, Noah Gragson, had liked an insensitive post on social media. This led to Legacy Motor Club being very proactive with their suspension of Gragson. The NASCAR indefinite suspension followed hours later. The official story is that Gragson then asked for his release from his LMC contract to begin working on the NASCAR reinstatement process. It isn’t known what 2024 will look like for Gragson but if you want to read more about what could potentially happen next, Daily Downforce writer, Joshua Lipowski has got you covered with this article:

As announced earlier this week, John Hunter Nemechek has been called up by Toyota to fill the former No. 42 driver’s vacant ride. J. H. Nemechek left the Cup Series a couple of years ago to tear it up in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing, respectively. With this new opportunity, J. H. N. will take his second crack at NASCAR’s top division, this time with a team that has direct support from their manufacturer in Toyota. If you want to read more about this monumental second chance for J. H. N., read about it here:

Around The Garage

Seven-time NASCAR Cup Series Champion and current part-time owner-driver of the No. 84 for Legacy Motor Club went on Next Level this week, which is where he talked about Gragson and being proud of him and optimistic for his future in the sport. Below, as posted on Dirty Mo Media’s YouTube channel, you can check out the whole clip.

In The Stands

Justin tweets that simply liking a meme shouldn’t result in anyone getting fired. Marcspeare corrects the record, reminding him that Gragson did ask for his release from LMC.

It boggles the mind of Matthew Kendrick as to why Jimmie Johnson is even involved in NASCAR considering he “lost his sponsor, crew chief, and got fired from HMS, Matt Kenseth style”. Hmm…that’s quite the rewriting of history there…

Chevyracer29 responds, hoping that the Kendrick gentleman his joking. If he’s not, they say that he needs to read up on his NASCAR history. True, true.

Ultimate23Dragon isn’t buying what good ole 7-time is selling, noting the shady past of both the Gallaghers and Toyota and how they’ve treated their drivers. I mean…they do sort of have a reputation…

Grh4345 is also throwing the blame to Toyota. I mean, legitimate or not, when you have that kind of reputation for how they and JGR have driven teams out of business in the past, you’re going to get this kind of reaction from fans, especially from those who never wanted Toyota in NASCAR to begin with.

Nicole also isn’t buying Jimmie’s excuses.

NS Coon thanks Jimmie for giving this updated and is happy that he and his former driver have kept in touch. They also look forward to seeing Gragson back out on the track sooner rather than later.

Sarina King, a former Jimmie Johnson fan, has turned her back on JJ for how he “didn’t give Noah more support”.

Debi thinks that Noah was going to be dumped by LMC regardless and that the meme coming out was just a good time to pull that trigger. I mean, it was reported, even way back then, that LMC and Toyota were looking at Nemechek…

On Your Screen

Our friend and partner here at the Daily Downforce, known as The Iceberg on YouTube, posted this video, laying out Noah Gragson’s options heading into the 2024 season.

Well, Daily Downforce readers, what do you make out of these comments by Jimmie Johnson? Do you buy them? Or do you think Gragson was already on his way out of LMC even before this happened? Let us know your thoughts and options on the matter! Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and watch our YouTube Shorts as well! Also, keep it right here at dailydownforce.com for all the latest NASCAR news, stories, silly season updates, and discussion topics!

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Picture of Cody Williams

Cody Williams

Cody Williams is the author of BUNNY BOY and THE FIFTH LINE. He lives near Bristol, TN.
All Posts