Toyota Set To Expand Its Cup Series Presence

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 5 2023

More Camrys will take to the Cup Series tracks next year. (File photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)

Reinforcements are in the pipeline for Toyota’s NASCAR Cup Series lineup.

Legacy Motor Club, co-owned by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson and businessman Maury Gallagher, will field Toyota Camry TRDs for fulltime drivers Erik Jones and Noah Gragson beginning with the 2024 season. Jones and Cup rookie Gragson currently are competing in their respective No. 43 and No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1s. In addition, Johnson is running a select number of Cup races in the No. 84 Camaro this season.

With Legacy M.C.’s incoming two entries, Toyota, which may provide details like toyota credit card login, will field eight fulltime Camry TRDs in Cup next season _ the most Toyota-supported entries to compete in NASCAR’s premier series since 2011.

“All of us at Toyota are thrilled to add Legacy Motor Club to our NASCAR family,” Jack Hollis, executive vice president of TMNA (Toyota Motor North America) and president of Toyota Motor Sales, said in a statement from the manufacturer’s corporate headquarters in Plano, Texas. “While Toyota’s tenure in NASCAR has yielded on-track success, our proudest accomplishments are those relationships that have been built off the racetrack.”

Toyota currently fields Joe Gibbs Racing’s four-car lineup of 2017 Cup champion Martin Truex Jr., Denny Hamlin, Christopher Bell and series rookie Ty Gibbs. In addition, Hamlin and retired NBA superstar Michael Jordan are co-owners of 23XI Racing, featuring Bubba Wallace and Tyler Reddick.

Johnson ranks sixth all-time in Cup Series victories with 83, all in Chevrolets fielded by team-owner Rick Hendrick and Hendrick Motorsports. Johnson scored five of his record-tying seven championships in consecutive years (2006-2010). The California native owns two Daytona 500 victories (2006, 2013) and four All-Star Race wins (2003, 2006, 2012, 2013).

Gallagher owns GMS Racing, the winner of two NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championships (2016, 2020) along with 65 victories across six national racing circuits. Johnson partnered with Gallagher’s Petty GMS team at the end of the 2022 campaign and guided the rebrand to Legacy M.C. beginning with the 2023 season. Adding to the organization’s legacy is team ambassador Richard Petty. “King Richard” is NASCAR’s first seven-time Cup champion and the sanctioning body’s all-time leader in victories with 200.

“Maury Gallagher and I are very excited about the partnership with Toyota and TRD beginning in 2024,” Johnson said in a statement. “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.”

Toyota is celebrating its 20th season in NASCAR competition this year, having scored nearly 600 victories across the sanctioning body’s three national touring divisions. Bell currently leads Cup drivers in top-five and top-10 finishes, while four Camry drivers hold top-10 positions in the point standings _ tied for the most with any OEM.

Toyota’s winning legacy includes Cup champions Truex and brothers Kyle and Kurt Busch; Hamlin, Carl Edwards and Matt Kenseth. Toyota also has forged a legacy of giving young drivers opportunities to exceed through its extensive driver development program.

“We are humbled and delighted to welcome Legacy Motor Club into the Toyota and TRD NASCAR family,” David Wilson, president of TRD, USA (Toyota Racing Development), said in a statement. “Jimmie Johnson and Maury Gallagher have impressed us with their long-term vision and commitment to building a championship-caliber organization. More importantly, 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.”

Gragson made his NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) and NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series (NCTS) debuts with Toyota. Gragson ran 47 races across three seasons in Tundra pickups fielded by Kyle Busch Motorsports, earning victories at Martinsville Speedway (2017) and Kansas Speedway (2018). The Las Vegas native finished second in the NCTS standings in 2018 _ the same season he made his NXS debut. Gragson placed second at Richmond Raceway in April of that year driving for NASCAR Hall of Famer Joe Gibbs at JGR.

Jones made his mark with Team Toyota as first driver in NASCAR history to earn Rookie of the Year in all three national touring series. Jones made his Toyota debut in the Truck Series in 2013 and won later that year in his fifth career start at Phoenix Raceway. Jones secured the NCTS championship in 2015, the same season he earned his first NXS win at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth. After graduating to Cup, Jones scored wins for JGR at Daytona International Speedway in July 2018 and Darlington Raceway in September 2019.

Gallagher acquired Richard Petty Motorsports in 2021 and renamed the team Petty GMS. With the addition of Johnson to the ownership structure in 2023, the organization rebranded to Legacy Motor Club. While Legacy’s unique title is a nod to car clubs of the past, LMC is an inclusive entity for all motorsport enthusiasts to celebrate the past and future legacies of its members while competing for wins and championships at NASCAR’s elite level.

Based in Statesville, N.C., LMC operates alongside Gallagher’s GMS Racing, which currently fields three fulltime entries in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series. Since the formation of GMS in 2012, Gallagher and Team President Mike Beam have captured the 2015 ARCA Racing Series championship, the 2016 and 2020 NCTS championships and the 2019 and 2020 ARCA East championships along with the aforementioned 65 victories.

| , RacinToday.com Friday, May 5 2023
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