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Silly Season Rumors: Noah Gragson to the 10 Car for SHR?

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Bob Pockrass dropped an intriguing Silly Season note on Door Bumper Clear. He said that he feels that Almirola is likely out, and the most recent candidate is someone that many will find interesting…Noah Gragson. Why would this work, but, more importantly, is it even realistic?

What Could Hold Noah Out of the Ride

Like the vast majority of NASCAR rides, a driver needs to bring a significant amount of funding to give them even a fighting chance at a ride. This ride will absolutely need someone with significant funding because of who is potentially leaving the ride.

Aric Almirola brought significant funding from Smithfield which has, at least partially, been a primary sponsor for 27 of 32 races so far this season. Stewart-Haas Racing already has to find a way to fund Josh Berry in the 4 car for 2024 because of Busch Beer leaving. Therefore, it is going to have to take a driver with significant funding for the 10 car should it open up.

Obviously, Noah Gragson is not the easiest sell for a sponsor. Just two months ago, he was suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for “liking” an insensitive Instagram post. Now, is it enough to keep him in sponsorship jail for the rest of his racing career, hopefully not, but Gragson will still have to overcome that as he goes about finding sponsorship.

Certainly, the hope is that there is some place for him, but, if he can’t find funding, this ride will not work out in all likelihood. Even if his suspension does not keep sponsorship away, finding that kind of funding is not as easy as it is. However, if he can find the funding, then this could be one of the best places for Gragson to go.

Why It Could Work

Stewart-Haas Racing is one of the most interesting teams in NASCAR in terms of which drivers they sign. They tend to sign drivers who are either looking for a second chance at rebuilding their career (Clint Bowyer and Kurt Busch are two examples) or giving a driver their first chance at a top ride after working their way up on merit (Aric Almirola and Ryan Preece being two examples).

Now, sometimes this has worked out well for the organization with drivers like Kurt Busch, Clint Bowyer, and Aric Almirola winning races and qualifying for the Playoffs, but other drivers like Danica Patrick and, to this point, Ryan Preece have not panned out as some within the organization hoped.

Gragson falls within the first category of a driver trying to potentially rebuild his career. The talent is obviously there given his performance in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with JR Motorsports. One bad year, or more like 3/4 of a year, with an obviously underperforming race team at NASCAR’s top level, should not be a career death sentence for someone with a pedigree like Gragson.

Now, one can argue that SHR is a struggling team right now as well, which could potentially spell some issues for Gragson. One could argue that part of the reason Gragson struggled so much at Legacy Motor Club is because he was trying to overextend equipment that was not giving him what he needed to succeed. Could he run into that same issue at SHR? Maybe he could, and that could spell some issues for Gragson.

However, there is something that SHR will allow Gragson to show, and that is personality. Tony Stewart will allow Gragson to be himself, and that will allow Gragson to be free-spirited both on and off the race track. When he can show his personality, he can succeed.

Would this pairing of driver and teamwork? If the funding gets together, maybe it will work out.

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