Gragson provided the insight during championship weekend at Phoenix Raceway. He met with Heavy and other media members to discuss Jimmie Johnson joining Petty GMS as an owner. He explained that it is wild being able to drive for multiple NASCAR champions, but he also noted that it was the result of extensive effort and faith.
“You know, I feel like if you believe in yourself and you can be in a position where people believe in you as well, good things happen,” Gragson explained. “And I think that’s the vision with Maury Gallagher. Mike Beam, Richard Petty, the Petty family. Now, Jimmie Johnson, it’s pretty special.”
Gragson continued and explained that Johnson joining the organization is “pretty wild” to him. The reason is that he signed his contract to join the team months prior to the seven-time champion even considering taking on this new role.
This News Caught Many People by Surprise
Gragson made it clear to media members that he was not one of the people that had inside information about Johnson joining Petty GMS. It caught him by surprise along with a large majority of fans and industry members.
Gragson was not prepared for this information, but he was able to take part in a special event due to being in the right place at the right time. He and Erik Jones were both able to attend Johnson’s introductory press conference at Phoenix Raceway and they were able to witness the beginning of a new era.
“I don’t think anyone — I was shocked personally — would have thought in their wildest dreams that Jimmie Johnson and Richard Petty and Maury Gallagher would team up to own a NASCAR Cup Series team,” Gragson added.
“But obviously a very special moment that we’ve had today, listening to Maury and Richard and Mike Beam and Jimmie just kind of reflect on their goals and vision, where they want to take this. I think it’s obviously a very special moment and [I’m] just excited to get to work with these guys.”
Gragson Will Now Embrace Learning Opportunities
The 2022 Xfinity Series season is over, and Gragson is no longer a full-time driver for JR Motorsports. He is now the man who will take over the No. 42 Petty GMS Chevrolet Camaro, and he will use the opportunity to learn as much as possible.
Gragson noted during his media availability that he already has a relationship with Johnson. He has texted his “big brother figure” in previous years in order to get helpful advice about certain situations that may arise on the track. Now they will have more opportunities to communicate. Though Gragson will also have another driver to lean on in teammate Erik Jones.
“[I] felt like a little brother just wearing out the big brother,” Gragson said about Johnson. “Not comparing that he is like a big brother figure to me right now, but in the sense of like, I was trying to gain as much knowledge as I could from him. So he was always open to helping me out and really, really grateful for that.
“Jimmie, obviously, [brings] a lot of value into the team and different aspects. And personally, I think that it’s really special for everybody involved. Everyone’s really excited. And [I’m] excited to be able to be teammates with Erik Jones full time. He’s a great driver as well.”