Saturday, 22 June 2024

NASCAR suspends Noah Gragson for liking insensitive social media post; future at Legacy Motor Club in doubt Featured

Posted On Saturday, 05 August 2023 14:49 Written by
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Noah Gragson, pictured here with his 42 car at Daytona, has been indefinitely suspended by both Legacy Motor Club and NASCAR after liking a social media post making fun of the death of George Floyd. Noah Gragson, pictured here with his 42 car at Daytona, has been indefinitely suspended by both Legacy Motor Club and NASCAR after liking a social media post making fun of the death of George Floyd. Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

BROOKLYN, Mich. — To say that Noah Gragson’s debut season for Legacy Motor Club in the No. 42 Cup car has been a struggle would be the understatement of the year.

In 21 races this season, he has only achieved two top-20 finishes (a 12th at Atlanta, and a 20th place at COTA), and he missed one race with concussion symptoms.

But things just got a whole lot worse for Noah, as he has been indefinitely suspended by both Legacy Motor Club and NASCAR for liking a social media post featuring a meme that belittled and made fun of the death of George Floyd at the hands of police. (NOTE: I won’t repeat what it says or share it out of decency, but I’ll say the meme is of the same despicable type that got NASCAR’s Mike Wallace suspended a few years back)

Gragson will be replaced in the 42 car at Michigan by Chevy’s super-sub Josh Berry, who got word of his new assignment for the weekend less then two hours before practice.

"We have made the decision to suspend Noah Gragson effective immediately regarding his actions that do not represent the values of our team," Legacy Motor Club said.

Gragson has already addressed the suspension on social media, saying: “I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media. I understand the severity of this situation. I love and appreciate everyone. I try to treat everyone equally no matter who they are. I messed up plain and simple.”

Whether it was an accidental like (which can happen), or he purposely put his stamp of approval on this type of hateful meme, this incident may end up marking the beginning of the end of Gragson at Legacy Motor Club. I would also offer the idea that it’s a bit of a red flag that Noah would be interacting with people who feel comfortable sharing such despicable memes in the first place.

With a lowly 33rd-place position in the point standings, Gragson has already done little to prove he is worthy of a second season the 42 car, and rumors were already abuzz that John Hunter Nemecheck is in line to take over the 42 car in 2024.

With this indefinite suspension, for something that really can’t be defended (as Noah admitted in his apology), it provides a clear runway for Gragson to be shown the door by Legacy Motor Club a few months early. And honestly, it’s probably for the best for all parties.

Since he’s not putting up results, and that’s unlikely to change this year, there’s little reason to return Gragson to the car this year unless sponsorship dictates that he must be there. And even in that scenario, there are likely other contingencies that can be deployed to expedite his departure.

And for Gragson, the extra time out of the car will not only give him more time to explore any realistic racing options he has for 2024, but also to get his head straight and recognize that he cant be connected to these type of messages, or the people sharing them, if he wants to have a future in NASCAR.

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Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

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