Toyota Gains LEGACY MOTOR CLUB as 2024 NASCAR Cup Series Partner

Noah Gragson is in his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series season - Anne Proffit photo

Did anyone ever think they’d see Jimmie Johnson racing a Toyota in NASCAR’s Cup Series? Likely not, as the seven-time Cup Series champion has been a Chevrolet guy since he joined Hendrick Motorsports and began carving up the series to suit his own pleasure.

But then, when Johnson departed NASCAR and joined the NTT INDYCAR SERIES, he drove a Honda-powered Dallara for Chip Ganassi Racing. While many might not think that went too well, for the two years that Johnson was part of the Ganassi clan, he improved his on-track performance greatly. He had to relearn how to race because, well, Cup Series sedans are the antithesis of INDYCAR’s single-seater rocket ships.

Johnson did two years’ time in the open-wheel ranks and his final go was in 2022 at the series’ finale in Monterey, California. He then elected to return to Cup Series competition – driving on a part-time basis and co-owning the No. 42, currently driven by Noah Gragson and Erik Jones’ No. 43 Chevrolets, branded as LEGACY MOTOR CLUB. He co-owns the operation with businessman Maury Gallagher.

Noah Gragson is in his first full-time NASCAR Cup Series season – Anne Proffit photo

Next year will see their two cars wearing Toyota Camry body lines and using Toyota’s TRD engines, which will bring the manufacturer an eight-car brigade in 2024, when LEGACY MOTOR CLUB joins the four Joe Gibbs Racing Camrys and the duo from 23XI Racing.

With his 83 NASCAR Cup Series victories and seven series titles that include five in a row, Johnson is the premier racer of his generation. He’s won the Daytona 500 twice and has four All-Star race wins. Gallagher is no slouch. His GMS Racing team has two NASCAR CRAFTSMAN Truck Series (NCTS) titles (2016 and 2020), together with a total of 65 race wins across six national racing circuits. Gallagher and Johnson teamed up to secure the future of Petty GMS teams at the close of the 2022 season and have been guiding the renamed LEGACY M.C. this year. Of course, adding to the legacy of this organization is team ambassador Richard Petty, who was the first to earn seven championships and secure 200 race wins.

“Maury and I are very excited about the partnership with Toyota and TRD beginning in 2024,” Johnson said. “We admire and respect the level at which Toyota conducts their business in this sport, and look forward to forging a new legacy for the future. I will always be appreciative to Chevrolet and everything we have accomplished together. I’m so thankful they took a chance on a kid from California so long ago and proud that the history books will forever memorialize our record-breaking success we shared.”

This is Toyota’s 20th season in national NASCAR competition and the manufacturer has, across NASCAR’s three top divisions, secured almost 600 race wins. With such a short tenure, as compared to both Chevrolet and Ford, Toyota currently has four Camry drivers in NASCAR’s Top 10, while racer Christopher Bell leads the Cup Series in top-five and top-10 results. Some of the outstanding racers who have brought success to Toyota include both Kyle and Kurt Busch, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth and the Cup Series’ most recent winner, Martin Truex Jr.

“We are humbled and delighted to welcome LEGACY MOTOR CLUB into the Toyota and TRD NASCAR family,” said David Wilson, who serves as Toyota Racing Development’s (TRD’s) president. “Jimmie Johnson and Maury Gallagher have impressed us with their long-term vision and commitment to building a championship-caliber organization. More importantly,” Wilson stressed, “their character and values are aligned with ours and our current Cup Series partners, Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing. Of course, we also look forward to being reunited with our old friends, Erik Jones and Noah Gragson.”

As a Toyota racer, Erik Jones is the first NASCAR driver to earn Rookie of the Year in all three touring series – Anne Proffit photo

Jones’ distinction in Team Toyota’s NASCAR history has seen him, during his Toyota tenure, become the first driver in NASCAR history to earn Rookie of the Year in all three national series. Jones’ Toyota debut came in the NCTS in 2013; he won later that year in his fifth career start at Phoenix Raceway. He later earned the NCTS championship in 2015, the same season he earned his first NXS win at Texas Motor Speedway. Jones moved to the NASCAR Cup Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, earning two Toyota wins at Daytona in 2018 and Darlington a year later.

For Toyota Motor North America’s executive vice president Jack Hollis, also the president of Toyota Motor Sales, the addition of LEGACY MOTOR CLUB to the brand’s NASCAR family is a great accomplishment. “While Toyota’s tenure in NASCAR has yielded on-track success, our proudest accomplishments are those relationships that have been built of the racetrack. Jimmie Johnson and Maury Gallagher, along with the great club that LEGACY M.C. is assembling, will be a great addition to our existing Cup Series team partners,” Hollis said.

The 2024 NASCAR Cup Series marks the most Toyota-supported entries to compete in the NCS since 2011. Toyota produces Camry TRD bodies and engines for its eight full-time entries.

About Anne Proffit 1264 Articles
Anne Proffit traces her love of racing - in particular drag racing - to her childhood days in Philadelphia, where Atco Dragway, Englishtown and Maple Grove Raceway were destinations just made for her. As a diversion, she was the first editor of IMSA’s Arrow newsletter, and now writes about and photographs sports cars, Indy cars, Formula 1, MotoGP, NASCAR, Formula Drift, Red Bull Global Rallycross - in addition to her first love of NHRA drag racing. A specialty is a particular admiration for the people that build and tune drag racing engines.

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