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John-Hunter Nemechek to make Cup return with Legacy M.C. in 2024

John-Hunter Nemechek will make his return to the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024, driving the No. 42 entry for Legacy Motor Club.

Nemechek, 26, hasn't been full-time in the Cup Series since 2020 when he drove for Front Row Motorsports. After finishing 27th in points and losing his ride at FRM, he then went and essentially repeated the NASCAR ladder system.

He drove a Toyota Tundra for Kyle Busch Motorsports in 2021, winning five races and finishing third in the final Truck standings. In 2022, he won two more races and ended the year fifth in points.

This year, he is running for the Xfinity championship, driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota Supra. He has a series-leading five victories with the playoffs just around the corner.

Legacy Motor Club, a team co-owned by seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson, is making the switch from Chevrolet to Toyota in 2024. 

Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing are currently the only Toyota-backed teams in the top level of the sport, with Legacy M.C. set to become the third.

On Wednesday, the team announced that Nemechek will drive that No. 42 Toyota next year alongside Erik Jones, who will remain behind the wheel of the No. 43. Johnson himself will again run a limited schedule, driving the No. 84 car.

“To be able to announce my plans for next season so early and officially say I will be competing full-time in the NASCAR Cup Series relieves a lot of pressure,” said Nemechek in a release from the team. “There is so much to be done for next year, and this gives us the opportunity to get the news out there and move forward. Also, driving for Maury [Gallagher], Jimmie [Johnson] and Richard Petty is a dream come true for me.”

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, Persil Toyota Supra

John Hunter Nemechek, Joe Gibbs Racing, Persil Toyota Supra

Photo by: Matthew T. Thacker / NKP / Motorsport Images

JHN is a second-generation racer and the son of Joe Nemechek, who started nearly 700 Cup races between 1993 and 2019, winning four races. The elder Nemechek also won the Xfinity title in 1992.

“John Hunter has been around a racetrack literally since the day he was born,” said Cal Wells III, the chief executive officer at Legacy Motor Club. “I have watched him since he was a little kid – from walking around the track in a firesuit matching the one worn by his father - to becoming the talent he is today. He is a perfect fit for the Club and I expect great things out of him.”

Added Johnson: “We’re excited to have John Hunter in the Legacy Motor Club family and I can’t wait to see what he can do in the No. 42 next season. He is impressive both on and off the track and will be a great ambassador for Legacy M.C. and our partners. He will be a solid teammate to Erik [Jones] and I can’t wait to watch them both compete for wins and championships for years to come.”

Earlier this week, another Toyota driver revealed their plans for 2024 with Denny Hamlin announcing a multi-year contract extension with Joe Gibbs Racing.

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