NASCAR Off-Season: Petty GMS, Jimmie Johnson Partnership


Justin Byers, Author

The NASCAR offseason has just started to heat up. With only a few weeks until the Busch Clash in LA, seven-time NASCAR Champions Richard Petty and Jimmie Johnson have got the media taking.

Back in November, the only NASCAR news big enough to bump Ross Chastain’s heroics at Martinsville off racing’s front page, Jimmie Johnson announced that he had become a partner with Petty GMS Racing with an eye toward racing a limited Cup Series schedule in 2023.

Petty sold his Richard Petty Motorsports to two-time Truck Series championship owner Maury Gallagher last year, and they fielded Camaros for Erik Jones and Ty Dillon. Dillon had almost no success in the No. 42 car, but teammate Erik Jones won in the No. 43 at Darlington Raceway on Labor Day weekend. The Petty GMS team announced late in the season that Xfinity Series star Noah Gragson will replace Dillon for the full schedule in 2023.

This deal will see Johnson run a handful of Cup races next year, including the season-opening Daytona 500 and almost certainly the Brickyard 400. There were no immediate details regarding what Johnson paid to become an owner, the percentage of Petty GMS Racing he bought, or Johnson’s precise 2023 schedule. In the recent past, he’s expressed interest in entering more IMSA sports car races and the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

Johnson raced 19 full seasons in NASCAR, all for Hendrick Motorsports. He won 36 poles, 83 races, and seven championships, including an unimaginable five in a row. He took home every individual honor in the sport, but his two-year, 29-start IndyCar career was a disaster: no poles or victories, and only one top-five and two top-10 finishes. Of his 29 starts, he finished 18 times in the 20s.

However, that was back in November before the championship race. On January 11th, more bombshells were dropped by Petty GMS and Jimmie Johnson on the TODAY Show. At the time, no announcement was made on what the team name would be. It was announced by Jimmie Johnson that the team would run 2 full-time cars and a 3rd part-time car under the name LEGACY MOTOR CLUB (or LEGACY M.C.). Johnson also announced that he would drive the no. 84 car.

Johnson’s partial NASCAR schedule in the No. 84 car for Legacy will begin at the Daytona 500 with Carvana, his Indycar sponsor, as the car’s primary sponsor for the race. Unsure what other races Carvana will sponsor in Johnson’s part-time schedule.

On an unrelated note, Kevin Harvick also announced that 2023 would be his final NASCAR season. Harvick was put onto the global stage when he was named Dale Earnhardt’s replacement just days after Earnhardt’s fatal 2001 crash and he will make this 23rd season his last in NASCAR. The 2014 Cup champion heads into his final year tied for ninth on NASCAR’s career wins list with 60 race victories, has 13 consecutive playoff appearances, and is one of the final active drivers from the sport’s halcyon days.

A lot of news to come before the Daytona 500 in February. Stay tuned Canes!