The NASCAR Xfinity Series season is 19 races in and multiple drivers are preparing for career moves. However, JR Motorsports driver Noah Gragson is not currently among this group. As he told reporters, he has “no idea” about his 2022 plans.
The 23-year-old met with media members ahead of a trip to New Hampshire Motor Speedway to discuss his season and his future in NASCAR. He will be a free agent after the 2021 season but does not have any set plans for 2022. Gragson does not know if he will return to JRM, join another team, or move to Cup.
“Still no idea,” Gragson said about his plans, per NASCAR. “I would like to be a lot further along at this point of the year. Things start to really ramp up, and deals get signed. We’ll see in the next month or two, but right now… you know, with the whole charter system, with everything, there’s a lot of chess pieces moving around.”
Gragson Has Struggled to Replicate 2020 Success
The winner of two races, Gragson reached the playoffs during the 2020 season and contended for a spot in the championship four. He fell just shy, finishing fifth in the final standings while Austin Cindric secured the trophy.
The 2021 season, however, has played out differently for the Las Vegas native. Gragson has not reached Victory Lane while dealing with several issues. Specifically, he has posted six DNFs due to crashes and mechanical issues.
Despite struggling at times, Gragson has still put himself in the playoff picture. He has six top-10 finishes so far, including a season-best finish of second at Martinsville Speedway on April 11. Gragson entered the July 17 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway 134 points above the cut line, giving him an advantage over his fellow bubble drivers. He proceeded to race in the top 10 during all three stages until AJ Allmendinger sent him into the wall. Gragson dropped out of the top 10 and finished 14th overall.
“Our team is really in unison, in sync right now,” Gragson added during his media availability. “The goal right now is to keep that going with JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series for another year, but right now, it’s kind of up in the air. We need to win some races.”
Gragson Signed a One-Year Extension Prior to 2021
The contract questions are nothing new for Gragson. He spent the 2020 season finishing out the final year of his deal while facing questions about his future in the sport. For example, Gragson told reporters after a race in June that he was “fighting for a job” and that he didn’t have any plans for the 2021 season.
“I don’t really know what I’m going to do next year,” Gragson said in 2020, per “motorsport.com”. “With that being said, I’m putting everything I got into it, both on and off the race track, trying to stay motivated and positive,” he said.
The driver of the No. 9 JRM Chevrolet Camaro sparked some intrigue on Aug. 26, 2020, albeit briefly. He tweeted out a pen emoji and created questions about whether he had signed a deal to move up to the Cup Series.
However, a video posted on the JRM Twitter account shut down these questions. The short clip simply featured JRM co-owner and vice president Kelley Earnhardt Miller as she revealed that Gragson had signed a one-year extension.
One year later, the Las Vegas native is in a similar position. He is continuing to fight for wins and a spot in the playoffs while facing questions about his future in NASCAR. He has no set plans for the 2022 season, but his performance in the remaining races will play a role in his future.