NASCAR team set for manufacturer switch for 2024 and beyond

Legacy Motor Club have joined Toyota as their third team for the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season. Will the switch from Chevrolet pay off?
Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR
Erik Jones, Legacy Motor Club, NASCAR / Chris Graythen/GettyImages

Manufacturer changes were not uncommon throughout Richard Petty's driving career, and his race team is set for another one ahead of the 2024 NASCAR Cup Series season.

Legacy Motor Club announced last spring that they would be switching from Chevrolet to Toyota following the 2023 season. They felt that being one of three Toyota teams as opposed to one of eight Chevrolet teams would serve them better from a competitive standpoint in the long run.

Though they felt like they were treated like a "tier three" team with Chevrolet, there is no guarantee that a switch to Toyota will result in instant success. However, the move should give them far more upside in the long run, and they are set up with a solid driver lineup to make it happen.

Erik Jones, a former Toyota driver himself, has consistently gotten the most out of his equipment since joining the team from Joe Gibbs Racing back in 2021, most notably by winning the 2022 Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. It was the team's first win since 2014.

John Hunter Nemechek, who gave up his Cup Series ride with Front Row Motorsports after the 2020 season just so he could realign himself with Toyota, is back in the Cup Series after three successful years in the Truck Series and Xfinity Series. He has been preparing himself for this moment for several years, and the gamble he made three-plus years ago appears to have paid off.

After Ty Dillon struggled in 2022 and Noah Gragson struggled both on and off the track in 2023, Legacy Motor Club have the ideal driver lineup with which to move forward following such a significant change.

But it's not the first manufacturer change in Legacy Motor Club's history -- factoring in their previous identities, that is.

Richard Petty Motorsports switched from Dodge to Ford after the 2009 season, and they switched from Ford to Chevrolet after the 2017 season.

Upon partnering with Maury Gallagher's GMS Racing to become Petty GMS Motorsports following the 2021 season, they remained with Chevrolet. After the 2022 season, they added seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson as another co-owner, and they rebranded as Legacy Motor Club.

But after only a handful of races into their stint as Legacy Motor Club, they made the decision to switch to Toyota for the upcoming season.

Keep in mind, while manufacturer switches are not uncommon in the history of Petty's race team, GMS Racing had only ever been aligned with Chevrolet. The same is true for Johnson throughout his illustrious Cup Series racing career with Hendrick Motorsports.

Who could have seen Jimmie Johnson aligning himself with Toyota -- and actually driving a Toyota in select races -- a few years ago?

There are high expectations for Legacy Motor Club following a massively disappointing 2023 season. Will their switch to Toyota pay off in the form of race wins or playoff berths for their drivers in year number one? Can Johnson, who has been sitting on 83 career wins (tied for sixth place all-time, one shy of a fourth place tie) since June 2017, reestablish himself as a contender in his few starts?

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The 2024 season is scheduled to begin with the 66th annual Daytona 500 at Daytona International Speedway on Sunday, February 18. Fox is set to provide live coverage starting at 2:30 p.m. ET. Begin a free trial of FuboTV and don't miss this or any other races throughout the year!