“I Was Very Selfish”—Noah Gragson’s LMC Departure Was One of the Best Openings for Him in Life

Published 01/11/2024, 10:36 PM EST

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The 2023 Cup Series was a tale of tribulations for former JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson. Whether it was being afflicted by a concussion or being suspended by NASCAR after his social media controversy, the rookie driver had faced it all. However, with the light at the end of the tunnel, it was a learning experience for the young driver, as he seized the second opportunity that Gragson was granted to redeem himself in the 2024 season.

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Although Noah Gragson had displayed enough potential during his stint in the Xfinity Series as a JR Motorsports driver, he failed to replicate a similar caliber in the sport’s highest echelon. Whether it was the nascent and rebranded image of Legacy Motor Club or the novice aspect of the driver himself, the hopes of seizing the Rookie of the Year award fell apart. However, the newly reinstated Stewart-Haas Racing driver is elated to bury his dead past in LMC, which was apparent in his interview with Chris Wilner.

Noah Gragson unravels his stance on parting ways with LMC

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In his short stint in the 2023 Cup Series as a driver for Legacy Motor Club, Noah Gragson was able to clinch only two top-20 finishes. The best was his 12th position at Atlanta Motor Speedway back in March. Amidst his disappointing performance, the Chevrolet driver was involved in on-track brawls with a fellow driver. However, the driver reached the tipping point in his career when he liked a socially controversial post on social media. As a result, Gragson was suspended by NASCAR for an indefinite period and also terminated his contract with the team.

However, after undergoing NASCAR’s mandated sensitivity program, Gragson is ready to redeem himself. Filling in the spot for Aric Almirola in the SHR camp, the driver sighed a breath of relief after parting his ways with LMC and joining forces with Tony Stewart. Gragson’s sense of relief was evident in his conversation with Chris Wilner who asked the young driver as to what was his focus during his absence from racing. To which Noah Gragson retorted, “Just maturing, going on learning more about others, learning more about myself, and just become a better person in the whole process.”

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He added, “And that’s just was going through my situation allowed me to become open-minded and opened my eyes. Everybody goes through their own challenges and I was very selfish and very focused on myself and what I think of this whole opportunity of getting to learn about others allowed me to be more eye-opening throughout the day, no matter what the task is.”

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Noah Gragson continued, “Whether it’s in the race car or outside the race car, I feel like I am a lot more present and alive, I was a little worn out after last year, through the season, on-track stuff. But that being said, that has been one of the best learning opportunities, that I ever had in my life, if not the best. There have been a lot of people there along the way who have helped me through this journey, just grateful to be able to have this eye-opening experience.”

Tony Stewart raises his hopes for the reinstated driver for the 2024 season

The announcement of Noah Gragson joining Stewart-Haas Racing came just days after Aric Almirola announced his retirement from the Cup Series and, in turn, joined the camp of Joe Gibbs Racing as a part-time Xfinity Series driver. Gragson would be piloting the #10 Ford Mustang with Drew Blickensderfer as the crew chief.

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The team, which had been mired in a series of transitions and retirements, is hopeful that the driver joining the team will provide impetus for the rebuilding of the team after a disastrous 2023 season. Tony Stewart, in a press conference, stated his hopes for Gragson to join SHR. Stewart expressed, “Noah deserves to be in the NASCAR Cup Series and we’re very happy to have him as the driver of our No. 10 Ford Mustang.”

“Noah has performed at every level where he’s competed and has regularly been in championship contention. That’s the kind of driver we need at Stewart-Haas and that’s why Noah is a part of our team.”

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With the opening race of the 2024 season just around the corner, all eyes will be on the driver and whether he can reaffirm his caliber as a Cup Series driver.

 

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Written by:

Ayantika Maitra

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Had you asked an individual from the yesteryears, they would have easily asserted that motorsport is surely not a women?s forte. However, times have changed. And changing the narrative, here I am writing and analyzing the world of NASCAR, with over a corpus of 500 articles to my name.
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Edited by:

Shivali Nathta

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