NASCAR reinstates Noah Gragson after suspension for liking insensitive Instagram post

Noah Gragson has been reinstated by NASCAR.

The former driver of the No. 42 car for Legacy Motor Club was suspended by both the team and NASCAR in early August after he liked an Instagram meme mocking the 2020 death of George Floyd. He was reinstated Tuesday after NASCAR said he had completed the diversity and inclusion training required for the suspension to be lifted.

“I want to express my sincere gratitude to NASCAR for reinstating me,” Gragson said in a statement. “Over the past several weeks, I have dedicated myself to personal growth and reflection, and I believe I have become a better person because of it. I couldn’t have done it without the support of my family and the NASCAR industry. I am now more focused and committed than ever to representing my future team in the best way possible. I’m eager to get back behind the wheel and compete at the highest level, giving it my all on and off the track. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey, and I can’t wait to make the most of this second chance.”

At the time of his suspension, Gragson said he was “disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media.” He parted ways with the team less than a week after he was suspended.

Gragson is eligible to race in any NASCAR series now that he has been reinstated, though he will need to find a team willing to hire him. Through 21 races in 2023, he had an average finish of 28th and didn’t have any top-10s. Legacy has already announced that John Hunter Nemechek will drive the No. 42 car in 2024 as it switches from Chevrolet to Toyota.

Gragson moved to Legacy Motor Club and the Cup Series in 2023 after racing four full seasons in NASCAR’s second-tier Xfinity Series for Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s JR Motorsports. He won 13 races in 135 Xfinity starts and finished second in the points standings in 2022, with eight wins and 26 top-10 finishes in 33 starts.

RICHMOND, VIRGINIA - JULY 29: Noah Gragson, driver of the #42 Sunseeker Resort Chevrolet, waits on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Cup Series Cook Out 400 at Richmond Raceway on July 29, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Noah Gragson had an average finish of 28th through 21 NASCAR Cup Series races in 2023. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)