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Noah Gragson joins Stewart-Haas in NASCAR Cup return

Stewart-Haas Racing (SHR) announced on Wednesday that Gragson would replace Aric Almirola in the No. 10 Ford Mustang, beginning with the 2024 season. Almirola retired from full-time competition at the conclusion of the 2023 season, and will now compete part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing.

“Noah deserves to be in the NASCAR Cup Series and we’re very happy to have him as the driver of our No. 10 Ford Mustang,” said Tony Stewart, the NASCAR Hall of Famer who co-owns SHR with Haas Automation founder Gene Haas.

“Noah has performed at every level where he’s competed and has regularly been in championship contention. That’s the kind of driver we need at Stewart-Haas and that’s why Noah is a part of our team.”

Gragson’s rookie Cup season

Gragson, 25, began the 2023 season in Cup competing as a rookie with Legacy Motor Club. He failed to score a result higher than 12th after 21 races, which included six DNFs. He was then suspended by the team and later by NASCAR itself on August 5.

Gragson violated the sport’s code of conduct after liking a meme that mocked the 2020 murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. A few days later, he asked to be released from his contract with LMC.

NASCAR reinstated Gragson in September after he completed diversity and inclusion training, which made him eligible to compete once again.

Past successes 

Gragson is a 13-time winner in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and has made 39 Cup starts over the course of two seasons (2022-2023) with a best finish of fifth in the 2022 regular-season finale at Daytona.

In four fulltime seasons in the Xfinity Series, Gragson finished in the top-10 in points each year and made it to the Championship 4 twice, finishing third in 2021 and second in 2022 with a series-high eight victories.

“I’m grateful for this opportunity with Stewart-Haas Racing and while most people in the industry are happy that the offseason is here, I want to get started on 2024 and go racing as soon as I can,” Gragson said.

“Stewart-Haas is filled with racers, and I saw that and felt it as soon as I walked onto the shop floor. There are high expectations here and a strong desire to compete and win races. I have high expectations for myself, and I want to deliver for Tony and Gene and everyone at Stewart-Haas.”

Before joining the Xfinity Series fulltime in 2019, Gragson competed in the Truck Series in 2017 and 2018. He won twice and finished second in the 2018 series standings.

He also owns six wins across what is now known as the ARCA East and West series and is a former champion of the prestigious Snowball Derby Super Late Model race (2018).

“I race to win and winning at the Cup level is what I’ve been working toward since I started racing Bandoleros as a 13-year-old at the Bullring in Las Vegas,” Gragson said.

“To be with an established team with a history of winning is what every driver wants. I’ve got exactly that here at Stewart-Haas and I aim to make the most of it.”

Gragson will be paired with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, who worked most recently with Almirola. The duo will make their debut together in the Feb. 4 preseason non-points Busch Light Clash at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

 



This article was originally published by a www.motorsport.com . Read the Original article here. .

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