Noah Gragson landing spots: No. 1 – Stewart-Haas Racing
The one seat that is guaranteed to have a new driver in 2023, and could very well be in the mix for Noah Gragson, is Stewart-Haas Racing’s #10 Ford.
The current driver of the car, Aric Almirola, announced his plans to retire from full-time racing before the 2022 season began. Ryan Preece is currently serving as a reserve driver for the organization, and he has long been seen as the favorite to take over.
Preece has even been compared to current Hendrick Motorsports driver Alex Bowman, who had a similar role with Rick Hendrick’s team in 2016.
But Gragson serves a dark horse to take over behind the wheel of the #10 Ford, as he has had a more impressive NASCAR career than Preece so far. Gragson’s personality could also make for a bigger splash of a signing, compared to the signing of a journeyman.
Stewart-Haas Racing also need to start preparing for the future, and that goes beyond Almirola. Kevin Harvick’s contract is set to expire at the end of next season, and with Harvick already having stated that he was ready to hang it up last year, a flagship face of the organization will become a need sooner rather than later.
Chase Briscoe earned his first career victory earlier this year and has shown his potential behind the wheel of the #14 Ford, but with Cole Custer continuing to struggle, a four-car team can’t rely on one young prospect to carry the organization alone.
Placing Gragson in the #10 Ford could make for a fierce combination, establishing him and Briscoe as the future faces of Stewart-Haas Racing. Additionally, both of these drivers share a connection to co-owner and NASCAR Hall of Famer Tony Stewart himself.
Briscoe has stated numerous times that Stewart was his childhood hero, and Gragson pays homage to him after every victory by climbing the fence. Two young guns with a desire to win for a NASCAR legend is exactly what Stewart-Haas Racing could use to recapture their success.
Leaving Chevrolet may be tough for Gragson, but he has switched manufacturers before to advance his career. The decision to move from Chevrolet to Ford to not only drive in the Cup Series but to represent a NASCAR Hall of Famer every week makes the #10 Ford the perfect landing spot for the Las Vegas, Nevada native.