Shortly after his suspension from the team, NASCAR also announced that the driver would be suspended indefinitely.
And ultimately, the decision was made by Legacy Motor Club, which is owned by Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson, to part ways with Gragson altogether amidst the controversy and a disappointing rookie season.
Gragson issued an apology for his actions, blaming it on a “lack of attention” 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
But now, it seems the once-promising rookie is getting another shot in NASCAR’s top series.
Gragson was reinstated by NASCAR back in September after completing the required diversity and inclusion training. And it was just announced that he will drive the #10 car for Stewart-Haas Racing in the Cup Series in 2024, with the team announcing that it had signed Gragson to a multi-year agreement.
Racing can make you. It can also break you.
A new challenge awaits, and @NoahGragson is ready to prove himself.
Gragson will replace veteran Cup Series driver Aric Almirola, who left the #10 car after spending six seasons with Tony Stewart’s team.
Speaking on the opportunity to get back behind the wheel, Gragson says his time away from the sport has given him a greater appreciation for his second chance:
“I think just all the opportunities and experiences and time I’ve spent with different people and just listening and learning, right, I think that’s given me a new understanding. And being out of the race car, it’s not fun watching somebody else do your job, right?
And I’ve grown a new appreciation and love back for the sport, where I might have been a little burnt-out last year and be the first one to admit it. But the passion and the love I have for the sport is higher than it’s ever been right now.”
And as far as the incident that resulted in his suspension in the first place, Gragson says it was “ignorance” on his part – but that he’s learned from it:
“I had a lot of garbage on my feed. I was careless when I first got on social media and would accept friend requests from different people, and all of a sudden, you’re friends with people you don’t even know on there, and you’ve just got garbage on your feed, right?
So I’ve become a lot more aware of other people, and I was very selfish in the past and only wanted to do things for me. And through this whole process, I’ve learned how to acknowledge others. Everyone’s going through stuff, right? Everyone’s going through their battles. Everyone’s got their challenges in life, and it’s allowed me to just be open-minded to other people.”
But the opportunity to re-establish himself in NASCAR won’t come without challenges: He’s joining a Stewart-Haas team that struggled for much of 2023, and lost their top driver when Kevin Harvick retired after a remarkable 20+ year career in the Cup Series.
Sounds like he’s excited to get back to work though.