Jordan Bianchi provided the report in an article covering the biggest Silly Season questions. He said that Petty GMS Motorsports “is working toward finalizing a contract” that would put Gragson in the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro for the 2023 season. Bianchi added that an “official announcement is expected soon.”
There have been questions about the No. 42 Chevrolet Camaro since July 15. Ty Dillon and Petty GMS Motorsports announced that they would part ways at the end of the 2022 season. Gragson was a frequently-mentioned name as a possible replacement at the time, and now it appears that he will indeed take over.
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Gragson Is Fresh off a Strong Performance
Gragson, who has been making part-time starts in the Cup Series in 2022, is in the midst of the championship conversation in the Xfinity Series. He has the second-most playoff points behind Ty Gibbs and a series-leading 10 stage wins.
Gragson is fresh off a strong performance at Michigan International Speedway. He won the pole for the August 6 race, and he swept the first two stages to add more playoff points to his total. This includes a drag race with AJ Allmendinger on the final lap of the second stage.
Gragson had the best car at MIS, but he fell short of his fourth win of the season. The reason is that his strategy did not play out. Gragson stayed out late in Stage 2 after a caution while the majority of the field headed down pit road for tires and fuel. He won the stage but fell back to the middle of the pack after pitting during the break.
This strategy wouldn’t traditionally create concerns, especially with one whole stage remaining in the race. However, the remaining laps of the New Holland 250 went green. Gragson was not able to complete his comeback and had to settle for third.
Questions Remain About the Crew Chief
If Petty GMS Motorsports announces the new contract as Bianchi reports, there will be some questions about the crew chief. Will he work with Jerame Donley, or will he reunite with his former Xfinity Series crew chief?
Dave Elenz served as an Xfinity Series crew chief for seven seasons (2015-2021), and he reached Victory Lane 15 times while working with a variety of drivers. This includes championship-winning seasons with William Byron and Tyler Reddick. He also served as Gragson’s crew chief from 2019-2021.
Elenz departed JR Motorsports after the 2021 Xfinity Series season, and he moved up to the Cup Series. He joined Petty GMS Motorsports and began working with Erik Jones. He has since guided the Michigan native to eight top-10 finishes and two top-fives.
It’s less likely that Petty GMS Motorsports would break up the Elenz-Jones pairing, which would mean that Gragson would potentially join forces with Dillon’s crew chief. Donley is currently in his first season atop the pit box after years as a race engineer, and he has guided the No. 42 team to one top-10 finish.
Obviously, Petty GMS Motorsports has multiple options. The team could pair Gragson with Donley, or it could hand a different person the responsibilities. Petty GMS Motorsports will not provide this information until it makes the official announcement.