Noah Gragson has made a name for himself in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving for JR Motorsports. However, his time there may be coming to an end.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has been a platform for young drivers to develop their craft in hopes of making it to the Cup Series, and Noah Gragson’s tenure in it has been a productive one.
Then driving full-time in the Truck Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports, Gragson ran three races for Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series program in 2018. After the season ended, he decided to leave the Toyota Racing Development camp for the Driver’s Edge program and sign with the premier Chevrolet team of the Xfinity Series, JR Motorsports.
He originally signed on to replace Elliott Sadler behind the wheel of the #1 Chevrolet, but the team later elected to put Michael Annett in that seat and put Gragson behind the wheel of the #9 Chevrolet.
In his tenure with JR Motorsports, the 24-year-old has amassed seven wins, 48 top five finishes, and 79 top 10 finishes. He made a strong playoff run last season, winning the round of 8 race at Martinsville Speedway to qualify for his first Championship 4, and he finished in third place in the point standings.
Given his success with JR Motorsports, Noah Gragson’s time with not only the team but in the Xfinity Series may be coming to an end.
It was announced last week that Ty Dillon would be released by Petty GMS Motorsports at the end of the 2022 Cup Series season. FOX Sports’ Bob Pockrass later reported that Gragson is the top candidate to replace Dillon behind the wheel of the #42 Chevrolet.
The move makes sense, as Gragson has a long-standing relationship with Petty GMS Motorsports sponsor Black Rifle Coffee Company, making the team a strong candidate to land the Las Vegas, Nevada native for the 2023 Cup Series season.
Gragson currently competes part-time in the Cup Series, driving for both Kaulig Racing and Beard Motorsports. His best finish in seven starts so far this year is an 18th place finish at Kansas Speedway.
While there might have been more competitive rides that Gragson had his eye on, signing with Petty GMS Motorsports would be a great way for him to begin his full-time Cup Series career following a solid four-year run in the Xfinity Series.
The team felt like they needed to move on from Dillon, considering his deficit in the point standings to teammate Erik Jones, and going with the young prospect could be exactly what they need.
As Dillon hopes to finish out his season strong, Jones is looking to take the #43 team to the playoffs for the first time since 2014. For Gragson, he will look to become Xfinity Series champion before turning his focus to a full-time Cup Series debut in 2023.
His actions at Road America serves as a reason for him to clean up his act on the track, and his anticipated new bosses, Maury Gallagher Jr. and Richard Petty, will be looking at that just as much as current boss Dale Earnhardt Jr. has. Can he do that and prove himself to be worthy of a full-time NASCAR Cup Series ride?