Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

The Collateral Damage of Noah Gragson’s Indefinite Suspension

Article Contents

The Daily Downforce is Hiring Writers

In This Article

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts
The Daily Downforce is Hiring Writers

Let us know what you think

Join the conversation on socials

Aluma Trailers

Last weekend NASCAR indefinitely suspended Noah Gragson, and Legacy Motor Club announced that suspension would last at least two more weeks, with Mike Rockenfeller stepping in for Watkins Glen and Indianapolis. This stems from an incident on social media where Noah Gragson “liked” a racially insensitive meme. Gragson later apologized, but that was not enough to keep him from being suspended.

However, the fallout from the incident is just beginning. It has far more reaching impacts beyond just Gragson and his racing career.

NASCAR as a Whole

NASCAR does not have a great past regarding racism and inclusivity, and that is no secret. Rehashing that here would do nothing but open up old wounds, but, it’s always brought up once again when things like this come up.

Whenever a member of the NASCAR industry does something like this, it just reinforces the negative stereotype that some have. We know now that stereotype is unfair in the modern day, and the NASCAR industry in general is very inclusive and welcoming to everyone of every background. However, it is an ugly reality of NASCAR’s past.

This is part of why Legacy Motor Club and NASCAR had to do what they did. If they do nothing, then people will claim that NASCAR really hasn’t changed, and NASCAR continues to undermine the voices of minorities. If they do something, then Legacy Motor Club and NASCAR can show that this behavior is not tolerated.

Regardless of what they did, that does not mean that people will be quick to forgive. There will be plenty of people saying “I told you so” and others saying “I knew it” because they had a negative stereotype of NASCAR given to them, fair or unfair. All it does is push those people that NASCAR is trying to reach further away from the sport.

Sponsors

Noah Gragson not only represents himself, NASCAR, and Legacy Motor Club, but he also represents multi-million dollar corporations. Those corporations are incredibly protective of their public image, and those sponsors are vital to a NASCAR team and driver.

The bottom line is that the vast majority of NASCAR drivers need financial backing from sponsors to race. If they cannot find sponsors, it becomes impossible for them to find rides further up the ladder unless they are uber-talented.

The sponsors have a lot of power, and they could rightfully use it to make sure they are represented in the way they need to be. Sponsoring a race team is rarely a favor, it is a business transaction, and incidents like this threaten the viability of that transaction.

Could this drive those sponsors away from NASCAR entirely? That remains to be seen, but, there’s reason to believe they could stay with the sport and Legacy Motor Club or leave. Speaking of Legacy Motor Club…

Legacy Motor Club

Noah Gragson was already rumored to be on the hot seat at Legacy Motor Club, and his actions over the weekend did not help his cause. This obviously impacts Legacy Motor Club in the short-term with trying to find someone to drive the 42 car for the rest of the season. Mike Rockenfeller will pilot the car at Indianapolis and Watkins Glen, but beyond that is still a mystery.

Aside from that, the bigger issue becomes what the impact of Gragson could be on sponsorship. It’s unclear what sponsors are “Legacy Motor Club” sponsors and which are “Noah Gragson” sponsors, but, depending on who is on that list, they could be losing some major sponsors. It could be a headache trying to figure out how to make that 42 car run next.

It’s also a stain on the team in what has been a very difficult season. It’s tough psychologically on a team to know that their driver let them down. It’s difficult, and who knows how far the impact of this incident will reach at the race team.

Conclusion

The hope for this story is that Noah Gragson learns his lesson, and he is able to put this behind him. Unfortunately, the “Putting it behind him” part is easier said than done. Gragson will forever have this associated with him.

Kyle Larson continues to have his car mainly funded by HendrickCars.com, which is owned by his car owner, Rick Hendrick. Obviously, the two incidents were very different, but it does show that Gragson could have a hard time finding what he needs to keep competing in NASCAR. Let’s hope that he learns his lesson, but, the impact of this incident is far-reaching.

Army Air Force Exchange Veterans Desktop

Share this:

Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts