NASCAR: Noah Gragson to return to JR Motorsports in 2021

Noah Gragson is set to return to JR Motorsports for a third year in the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season, the team confirmed Thursday.

Noah Gragson is set to be back behind the wheel of the #9 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports in the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season after making comments that he was unsure of his future.

Gragson has driven the #9 Chevrolet since last season after moving up from the Truck Series following a runner-up finish in the championship standings in 2018 driving for Kyle Busch Motorsports.

JR Motorsports and Gragson both confirmed this extension on Thursday.

Gragson has competed in 57 Xfinity Series races, including 54 since joining JR Motorsports at the start of last season. He made his series debut in 2018 driving for Joe Gibbs Racing and recorded finishes of second, fourth and seventh place in three starts.

He has two career wins to his name, with both coming earlier this season. He won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway in February before winning again at Bristol Motor Speedway in May. He also dominated the doubleheader weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, but he was unable to close the deal in either of the two races.

The 22-year-old Las Vegas, Nevada native sits in third place in the championship standings behind Team Penske’s Austin Cindric and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Chase Briscoe with an average finish of 8.7, 10 top five finishes and 15 top 10 finishes through 21 races this year.

There had been talks of Gragson potentially being promoted from JR Motorsports to the Hendrick Motorsports Cup Series team as the replacement for retiring seven-time champion Jimmie Johnson behind the wheel of the #48 Chevrolet, but he was never considered one of the frontrunners for that ride.

Two of Hendrick Motorsports’ other three drivers, Chase Elliott and William Byron, won championships behind the wheel of the #9 Chevrolet for the Rick Hendrick co-owned JR Motorsports Xfinity Series team before their promotions to the Cup Series.