NASCAR driver Noah Gragson has now officially requested a release from his team following a suspension that he received in the aftermath of his liking a meme mocking George Floyd. Legacy Motor Club, Gragson’s team, chose to suspend the driver for the next two races.
NASCAR has become a battleground for wokeness over its last couple of seasons as the sport has found itself at the center of numerous political controversies. Between the “Let’s Go Bradon” chant, which became a uniting cry for millions who oppose the presidency of oe Biden, to the Bubba Wallace scandal where his team incorrectly claimed that a noose had been put in the African American driver’s garage.
In a statement on Thursday, Gragson asked his team to release him from his contract. “I have asked LEGACY MOTOR CLUB to release me from my contract so that I can take time to work through the NASCAR reinstatement process,” said the rookie of the year competitor. “I love racing, and I am looking forward to a second chance to compete for wins at the highest level of NASCAR – and most importantly, make my family, my team and the fans proud of me once again.”
Following the suspension, many wondered if Gragson would return to the track at all this season as NASCAR’s backlash against the driver was so harsh. “Noah has a ton of talent and has a great personality,” Legacy Motor Club CEO Cal Wells III said. “This is a difficult situation, but we are proud that Noah has taken ownership of his actions and are confident he will work through this process with NASCAR and come back stronger.”
Noah Gragson was replaced by Josh Berry in the Michigan race over the weekend. Berry took the team to a DNF after crashing the car and being unable to continue the race. For the next two races, the team has announced that Mike Rockenfeller will be behind the wheel of Gragson’s number 42 car.
In a Tweet immediately following the suspension, Gragson was humble and apologetic to fans who were offending but his actions. “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.”
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
— Noah Gragson (@NoahGragson) August 5, 2023
That message came in the wake of Legacy Motor Club’s announcement that Gragson would not be in the driver’s seat of the number 42 at Michigan. Fans were quick to rush to the defense of Gragson, many saying that he should not receive such a severe punishment for simply liking a meme on social media. Other fans, also on Gragson’s side, urged the driver to stay strong and never waver in the face of this cancellation battle that he now must fight.
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