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Noah Gragson Asks for Release from Legacy Motor Club
The NASCAR Cup Series rookie had been suspended for liking a racially insensitive meme involving George Floyd.
NASCAR driver Noah Gragson has requested a release from his Legacy Motor Club contract after being suspended by both his team and the league for liking an offensive meme on social media mocking the murder of George Floyd.
Why did NASCAR and Legacy suspend Noah Gragson?
The Instagram account of the 25-year-old wheelman from Las Vegas, Nevada liked an insensitive image that mocked George Floyd's 2020 murder.
Legacy Motor Club, which Gragson competed for full-time in NASCAR’s top flight, made the swift decision to suspend its rookie driver on Saturday, just 24 hours before he was set to race in the FireKeepers Casino 400 at Michigan International Speedway, stating that Gragson's actions "do not represent the values of our team.”
NASCAR soon announced that it, too, was suspending Gragson, indefinitely.
“NASCAR fully supports Legacy Motor Club’s decision to suspend Noah Gragson,” the league said in its statement obtained by NBC Sports. “Following his actions on social media, NASCAR has determined that Gragson has violated the Member Conduct section of the 2023 NASCAR Rule Book and has placed him under indefinite suspension.”
What did Gragson say following his suspension?
Four minutes after Legacy Motor Club tweeted about Gragson’s suspension, Gragson responded with a statement. “I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media,” Gragson tweeted. “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.”
On Thursday, Gragson released a follow-up statement:
“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," he wrote.
“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.”
Cal Wells III, CEO of Legacy, wrote: “Noah has a ton of talent and has a great personality. 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.”
What section of the NASCAR Rule Book did Noah Gragson violate?
That specific portion — section 4.3.E in the rule book — outlines: “Member actions that could result in a fine and/or indefinite suspension [for] ... Statement and/or communication made public [including social media platforms] that demeans, criticizes, ridicules, or otherwise disparages another person based upon that person’s race, color, creed, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, marital status, religion, age, or handicapping condition.”
Floyd's killing drew international attention in 2020 after video surfaced of white, then-Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin pinning Floyd — a 46-year-old Black man — to the ground with a knee on his neck for more than 9 minutes. Chauvin was tried and convicted of murder in Floyd’s killing.