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Johnson: Legacy Motor Club NASCAR team "not where we wanted to be"

Legacy Motor Club’s two full-time NASCAR Cup drivers enjoyed their best combined performance last weekend, but owner/driver Jimmie Johnson says much work remains to get the organisation up to speed.

Jimmie Johnson, LEGACY MOTOR CLUB, Club Wyndham Chevrolet Camaro

Nigel Kinrade / NKP / Motorsport Images

Erik Jones is 21st in the series standings, after finishing eighth at Atlanta Motor Speedway last weekend in his first top-10 of the season, while rookie team-mate Noah Gragson is 27th following his a personal best finish of 12th.

Since last November when the former Petty GMS Racing team announced its new part-owner in seven-time Cup Series champion Johnson, the rebranded LMC outfit has undergone many changes including new personnel and changes in responsibilities for several who already worked there.

Asked about LMC’s start to the year, Johnson said on Friday at Circuit of the Americas that the team was trying not to “overreact” to the performance so far this season.

“So much changes from year to year. You go to Daytona and we all feel like we all had good cars and were competitive,” said the 47-year-old, who ended his full-time NASCAR career at the end of 2020 before spending two years racing in IndyCar.

“California is after that. We had some weird stuff go on with the splitter and all that dirt and rock and all the debris that was at the track that the splitters delaminated on our cars.

“It’s really easy to look at that and say that’s the reason why our performance wasn’t where it needed to be.”

With the series having competed on superspeedways, an intermediate track and a shorter track (Phoenix), Johnson said the organisation has a good amount of data to better evaluate where it stands in the development of its cars.

“We’re not where we want to be, but there’s endless work going on in the shop,” said Johnson.

Noah Gragson, Legacy Motor Club, Sunseeker Resort Chevrolet, Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, Allegiant Chevrolet

Noah Gragson, Legacy Motor Club, Sunseeker Resort Chevrolet, Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, Allegiant Chevrolet

Photo by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

“I’m very thankful for the crew chiefs, for Joey Cohen (vice president of racing operations) and his hard work and focus that’s gone into it and all the engineering that’s behind it.

“We’re digging along. We haven’t hit our peak for the season yet and I think we now have an idea of where our short-track cars are, what we need to work on – mile-and-half stuff and certainly the restrictor-plate tracks.”

Johnson added that, to his surprise, he has been working more on the business side at Legacy MC, as he tries to tailor the races in which he competes to help both the competition and business sides of the team.

He is currently scheduled to compete in the Coca-Cola 600 in May and the Cup Series’ first street race in July in Chicago, but will add more.

“My focus point still really has been on the business marketing aspect of the team,” he said.

“I sit in on plenty of meetings and debriefs and have a pulse of what is going on in our competition department.

“If you would have asked me four or five months ago where I’d probably spend most of my time, I’d think naturally on the competition side, but there’s really been more on the business side.”

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