NASCAR announced Tuesday that the sanctioning body has reinstated driver Noah Gragson for liking a racially insensitive meme on his Instagram account. The 25-year old from Las Vegas and Cup Series Rookie of the Year contender is cleared to resume all NASCAR activity.
Gragson was indefinitely suspended on Aug. 5 after it was noticed that he had liked an Instagram post featuring a meme that made light of the May 2020 death of George Floyd in police custody, an incident which led to him resigning as the driver of the No. 42 Chevrolet for Legacy Motor Club. Gragson completed diversity and inclusion training with NASCAR-affiliated RISE, which recommended his reinstatement.
"I want to express my sincere gratitude to NASCAR for reinstating me. Over the past several weeks, I have dedicated myself to personal growth and reflection, and I believe I have become a better person because of it," Gragson wrote in a statement. "I couldn't have done it without the support of my family and the NASCAR industry.
"I am now more focused and committed than ever to representing my future team in the best way possible. I'm eager to get back behind the wheel and compete at the highest level, giving it my all on and off the track. Thank you to everyone who has been a part of this journey, and I can't wait to make the most of this second chance."
On the track, it was a miserable first season in Cup for the flamboyant young star. He had just two finishes inside the top 20 in 21 starts with a best of 12th at Atlanta in March, and his average finish of 28.2 was the second worst among all full-time drivers in Cup at the time of his suspension.
It came as a surprise to Legacy Motor Club, however, that Gragson stepped down as the driver of the No. 42. While the team has since moved on and hired John Hunter Nemechek for 2024, team co-owner Jimmie Johnson has continued to speak with Gragson and commended his character in pursuing personal improvement.
"I'm proud of him. I think he's in a good place and doing a lot of growing," Johnson told Dirty Mo Media. "I think he's very focused on being reinstated and coming back and being stronger than ever."
While Gragson is currently a free agent at the Cup level, he will reportedly return to racing this weekend in the Glass City 200 ASA STARS National Tour race at Toledo Speedway.