JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson has spent much of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season facing questions about his plans for 2022. Now his race team has provided the answer. Gragson will return to the No. 9 and contend for the Xfinity Series championship once again.
JRM broke the news on Tuesday, Aug. 31, with a cinematic video on Twitter. A movie-quality score provided the soundtrack as footage of Gragson and his biggest moments played. The clip ended with a confirmation that Bass Pro Shops, True Timber, and Black Rifle Coffee Company will return as Gragson’s main sponsors.
“Johnny Morris believed in me enough to put Bass Pro Shops on my car to start the 2020 season, and it paid off with victory the first time out,” Gragson said in a press release from the team. “It was special to stand in Victory Lane at Daytona with Johnny right beside me. Bass Pro Shops, Rusty Sellers at TrueTimber and Evan and Mat at Black Rifle Coffee Company have been fantastic to work with. We still have a lot to accomplish this season but I’m looking forward to battling for a series championship again in 2022.”
Gragson Has Nearly 100 Starts in His Full-Time Tenure
The driver of the No. 9 first began competing for JRM full-time during the 2019 Xfinity Series season. He has since made 89 starts while earning trips to the playoffs in all three seasons. Now Gragson currently sits eighth in points, well above the cut line, with three races remaining in the regular season.
Gragson did not win during his first full-time season, but he posted nine top-five finishes and consistently contended for wins. He reached greater heights in 2020, kicking off the season with a win at Daytona International Speedway and then adding another victory at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gragson ended the 2020 season fifth in the points standings.
While Gragson has yet to win in 2021, he is back in the playoffs once again. He will have the opportunity to pursue a championship with the No. 9 team’s support, as well as the knowledge that he will be back with JRM once again.
The Xfinity Series Roster is Taking Shape
Gragson’s deal to return in 2022 is the latest in recent weeks for JRM. The Xfinity Series organization has continued to make moves as its drivers fight for wins and playoff points.
The moves began with Josh Berry agreeing to a deal to drive the No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro for the entire 2022 season schedule, his first full-time year in Xfinity. He made a dozen starts for JRM in the stock car and another in the No. 1 during the first portion of 2021, winning at Martinsville and posting several top-10 finishes.
Shortly after Berry signed his deal, JR Motorsports confirmed that another driver would continue to suit up on a full-time basis. The team addressed rookie Sam Mayer’s future, saying that he would be back in 2022 but that he would move to a different stock car while Berry returned to the No. 8.
Now that Gragson, Berry, and Mayer are all under contract for full-time runs in 2022, there are only two other drivers with questions about the season. Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett are both key members of the team and could return in 2022. JRM has not confirmed plans for either driver, but co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. stated multiple times that he is open to fielding five cars in the Xfinity Series.