NASCAR: Toyota driver lands surprise Chevrolet ride for one race

Carson Hocevar, Legacy Motor Club, Chevrolet, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Carson Hocevar, Legacy Motor Club, Chevrolet, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

John Hunter Nemechek is set to compete in the Homestead-Miami Speedway NASCAR Cup Series race for the team with which he has signed for 2024.

John Hunter Nemechek was rumored as the driver of Legacy Motor Club’s No. 42 car for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season even before Noah Gragson was suspended and released after “liking” an inappropriate meme on social media.

The primary reason for Nemechek’s link to Legacy Motor Club was their impending switch from Chevrolet to Toyota — and, of course, the fact that Gragson had not been performing well.

Nemechek, who gave up his Cup Series ride after the 2020 season so that he could reunite with Toyota Racing Development, had widely been viewed as the top young driver in Toyota’s talent pipeline.

The 26-year-old Mooresville, North Carolina native was indeed confirmed as the full-time driver of the No. 42 Toyota for the 2024 season, but it was understandable that he was not lined up to drive the car in any of the remaining races on the 2023 schedule, even after Gragson’s early release.

Given the fact that Nemechek is competing for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota as he attempts to win this year’s Xfinity Series championship, driving a Chevrolet in the Cup Series simply didn’t seem feasible, even for a team planning a switch to Toyota next year.

But Chevrolet, Toyota, and all other related parties have made a 2023 NASCAR Cup Series start happen for John Hunter Nemechek.

Carson Hocevar had recently been named the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet for the remainder of the 2023 season, but it was announced on Monday that Nemechek is set to drive the car in this coming Sunday afternoon’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Hocevar, who has signed a full-time deal to compete for Spire Motorsports next year, is still set to finish up the season behind the wheel of the No. 42 Chevrolet at Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway.

Nemechek hasn’t driven for Chevrolet since competing full-time for GMS Racing in the 2019 Xfinity Series season and part-time for NEMCO Motorsports in the 2019 Truck Series season.

Nemechek has made just one Cup Series start since leaving Front Row Motorsports at the end of the 2020 Cup Series season to join Kyle Busch Motorsports for the 2021 and 2022 Truck Series seasons. He competed in that one race for 23XI Racing as the replacement for the suspended Bubba Wallace last year, ironically at Homestead as well.

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This coming Sunday afternoon’s race, the Dixie Vodka 400, is set to be broadcast live on NBC from Homestead-Miami Speedway beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. If you have not yet begun a free trial of FuboTV, do so now!