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Legacy Motor Club signs Nemechek as Gragson's NASCAR Cup replacement for 2024

John-Hunter Nemechek will make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024, driving Legacy Motor Club's #42 entry vacated earlier this season by Noah Gragson.

Nemechek, 26, hasn't been full-time in the Cup Series since 2020 when he drove for Front Row Motorsports. After finishing 27th in points and losing his ride at FRM, he then essentially repeated the NASCAR ladder system.

He drove a Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2021, winning five races and finishing third in the final Truck standings. In 2022, he won two more races and ended the year fifth in points.

This year he is in contention for the Xfinity championship, driving a Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra. He has a series-leading five victories, with the playoffs just around the corner.

Nemechek will join the Legacy Motor Club team co-owned by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson as it makes the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in 2024. 

Nemechek will join incumbent Erik Jones, who will remain behind the wheel of the #43 machine while Johnson himself will again run a limited schedule in the #84 car.

“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,” said Nemechek, whose father Joe started nearly 700 Cup races between 1993 and 2019, winning four races. 

“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.”

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, Persil Toyota Supra

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, Persil Toyota Supra

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

“John Hunter has been around a racetrack literally since the day he was born,” said Cal Wells III, the chief executive officer at Legacy Motor Club.

“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.”

Added Johnson: “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 #42 next season.

“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 team-mate to Erik and I can’t wait to watch them both compete for wins and championships for years to come.”

Nemechek's arrival comes after a period of instability for Legacy M.C. triggered by the departure of rookie driver Gragson, who was indefinitely suspended by NASCAR, then subsequently released by his team after liking an Instagram post that appeared to mock the 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers.

Gragson's place has been taken by a variety of drivers including Josh Berry, who will take over the retiring Kevin Harvick's seat at Stewart-Haas Racing next season, road course ace Mike Rockenfeller and rising Truck Series star Carson Hocevar.

Earlier this week, another Toyota driver revealed their plans for 2024 with Denny Hamlin announcing a multi-year contract extension at Joe Gibbs Racing.

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