And shortly after, Legacy Motor Club announced that they were suspending Gragson, effective immediately.
“We have made the decision to suspend Noah Gragson effective immediately regarding his actions that do not represent the values of our team. Josh Berry will drive the No. 42 entry for this weekend’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan.”
Gragson issued a statement apologizing for his actions, saying that he was disappointed in himself for his “lack of attention and actions on social media.”
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. https://t.co/PCX6iMJxRF
Xfinity Series driver Josh Berry, who has already filled in for Chase Elliott and Alex Bowman in the Cup Series earlier this year when the Hendrick Motorsports drivers were injured, will replace Gragson in this weekend’s race at Michigan International Speedway. Berry has already been announced as the replacement for Kevin Harvick in the #4 car for Stewart-Haas Racing next season.
It’s not the first time Gragson has drawn headlines this year. Earlier in the season, Gragson confronted Ross Chastain after a series of on-track run-ins, and Chastain ended up landing a punch on Gragson’s jaw.
And Gragson also missed the Cup Series race at Sonoma in June due to concussion-like symptoms sustained after a wreck in the previous race.
It’s not known how long his suspension from Legacy Motor Club will last, or if NASCAR will issue any punishment to Gragson themselves.
Either way, not a great start to what was a promising Cup Series career…
Noah Gragson Paid Tribute To Tim Richmond In This Year’s Group Photo
Gotta love it when the young guns pay tribute to the legends.
And this was certainly a legendary moment in NASCAR history.
Tim Richmond was a superstar in the NASCAR Cup Series in the 1980s. He had made his name in open-wheel racing before making the switch to stock car racing. And he was from Ohio, unlike all of the old-school NASCAR drivers who were southern boys from North Carolina and Georgia.
Richmond had a reputation for being more of a slicked-back Hollywood playboy than a blue-collar everyman like the rest of the drivers in the garage. But despite his image he won his first race in 1982, he won four races during his first few years in NASCAR before landing a ride with Hendrick Motorsports for the 1986 season.
It would prove to be a breakout year for Richmond, who won an incredible 7 races that season and finished third in the points behind Dale Earnhardt and Darrell Waltrip.
But Richmond got sick and was hospitalized after the 1986 season – publicly announcing that he was suffering from pneumonia – and missed the start of the 1987 season.
He returned in time for the 1987 All-Star Race, at the time known as The Winston, on May 17, 1987.
And before the race, he posed for what is now an infamous group photo with his fellow drivers, a photo that NASCAR would use for posters that would be distributed to bars and restaurants all over the country.
At first glance it looks like a normal photo. But if you take a look at Richmond – specifically the area right below his belt – you’ll see what’s made the poster so infamous in NASCAR in the 30+ years since the photo was taken.
Richmond is standing in the back, the second from the left in a Folgers driving suit. Kneeling in front of him is Neil Bonnett. And right behind Neil Bonnett’s ear is what appears to be…Tim Richmond’s penis.
Now, it’s never been confirmed that Richmond really did let it all hang out in the photo. But once people started noticing what looked to be Richmond’s mini-me in the photo, NASCAR tried to collect all of the copies of the poster and reissued one with a different photo, this time without an alleged penis in it.
Richmond would go on to win two more races in 1987, before suddenly resigning from Hendrick Motorsports in the middle of the season.
He attempted to make a comeback in 1988, but NASCAR suspended Richmond for allegedly failing a drug test prior to the Daytona 500. And in 1989, Richmond passed away at the age of 34. His family would reveal shortly after his death that Richmond had passed away from complications of AIDS.
Richmond managed to score 13 Cup Series wins during his relatively short career, and was named one of NASCAR’s 50 Greatest Drivers of All-Time in 1998.
And this week, as NASCAR returns to North Wilkesboro for the first time in nearly 3 decades for the All-Star Race this weekend, one current driver paid tribute to Richmond in an…interesting way.
The drivers all gathered on the track for a group photo to celebrate the sport’s return to one of its original tracks. And if you look closely at Noah Gragson – just below his belt – you’ll see that he’s holding his finger down there, seemingly commemorating Richmond and the infamous 1987 poster.