Two-time 24 Hours of Le Mans winner Mike Rockenfeller will drive for Legacy Motor Club in the next two races, as the future of suspended driver Noah Gragson with the organization in question.
Soon after Legacy suspended Gragson on Saturday, NASCAR indefinitely suspended him for liking a racially insensitive meme about George Floyd. Gragson has started the process of working with NASCAR on the steps, including sensitivity training, to be reinstated.
With no return date set, the team has been reaching out to drivers about filling Gragson’s seat for upcoming races. The team had no additional update beyond the next two weeks and is in discussions with Gragson about his future with the team.
The 25-year-old Cup rookie is 33rd in the Cup standings and his future even before the suspension was murky amid his struggles on the track. The organization will move from Chevrolets to Toyotas next year, and Gragson’s seat is one that has been mentioned as a possibility for Toyota driver John Hunter Nemechek.
JR Motorsports driver Josh Berry filled in for Gragson last weekend at Michigan. As far as the next two weeks, team co-owner Jimmie Johnson tapped into his friendship with Rockenfeller. Johnson and Rockenfeller were teammates driving at Le Mans this year in the NASCAR/Hendrick Motorsports “Garage 56” entry.
“Rocky and I were teammates and helped develop the G56 program,” Johnson said. “I couldn’t think of a better person to assist our club in this tough situation. These back-to-back road-course events will be great for Rocky from the technical side as they will bring out his expertise.
“Rocky is extremely knowledgeable and talented, and I know he will get us the best results possible.”
Rockenfeller made two Cup starts last year, driving for Spire Motorsports at Watkins Glen (finishing 30th) and the Charlotte road course (29th).
“It’s going to be a huge challenge as I have never raced at Indy,” Rockenfeller said. “I was dreaming about being in a Cup Series car again and I’m thankful for the opportunity. I will try my best in this short timeframe to come together with the team and have a great race in Indy.”
Gragson tweeted an apology Saturday following the announcement of his suspension.
“I am disappointed in myself for my lack of attention and actions on social media,” Gragson posted on Twitter. “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.”
Bob Pockrass covers NASCAR for FOX Sports. He has spent decades covering motorsports, including the past 30 Daytona 500s, with stints at ESPN, Sporting News, NASCAR Scene magazine and The (Daytona Beach) News-Journal. Follow him on Twitter @bobpockrass, and sign up for the FOX Sports NASCAR Newsletter with Bob Pockrass.
Get more from NASCAR Cup Series Follow your favorites to get information about games, news and more