NASCAR: 4 driver moves that won't pay off (and 1 that will)

Several teams made driver changes for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season, but don't be surprised if not all of the moves work out.

A.J. Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Noah Gragson, NASCAR
A.J. Allmendinger, Erik Jones, Noah Gragson, NASCAR / Sean Gardner/GettyImages
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No. 1 - Will: John Hunter Nemechek to Legacy Motor Club

One move that I do think will pay off in a big way is John Hunter Nemechek joining Legacy Motor Club. Nemechek gave up his Cup Series ride with Front Row Motorsports after the 2020 season just so he could realign with Toyota, knowing that he ultimately wanted to get back to the Cup Series and be in a much more competitive situation.

It was a big gamble, one that was never guaranteed to pay off. He dropped all the way back down to the Truck Series and spent two seasons competing for Kyle Busch Motorsports. His impressive performance earned him a promotion to the Xfinity Series in 2023, where he ended up leading the series in wins with Joe Gibbs Racing.

With Legacy Motor Club switching manufacturers from Chevrolet to Toyota ahead of the 2024 season, they pegged Nemechek as their man. In total, he earned 15 wins from 2021 to 2023, bringing him to 22 career NASCAR national series wins.

While the 2024 season is set to be his 12th season in NASCAR, don't lose sight of the fact that he is still only 26 years old. Yet he was still mature enough to make the move he made at the end of the 2020 season and remain patient in the hope of landing a better Cup Series opportunity down the road.

Since Richard Petty Motorsports and GMS Racing merged to form Petty GMS Motorsports (rebranded as Legacy Motor Club in 2023) in 2022, Erik Jones has completely blown away both of his teammates. Don't expect that to be the case with Nemechek, and expect that to raise the performance level of the team as a whole.

Next. Ex-major primary sponsor returns to racing, but not to NASCAR. Ex-major primary sponsor returns to racing, but not to NASCAR. dark

The team are by no means guaranteed to drastically improve their performance simply by working with a different manufacturer, but there is certainly something to be said about being one of three Toyota teams as opposed to one of eight Chevrolet teams. After they took a major step back in 2023, expect a major bounce back in 2024.