By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
A new era begins in 2023 with Jimmie Johnson campaigning a new number with a rebranded PettyGMS. As a part of the ownership group, Johnson, Maury Gallagher, and others have named the team LEGACY Motor Club (LEGACY M.C.).
The new team name, LEGACY M.C., comes from what NASCAR Hall of Famer Richard Petty and his family built since the inception of NASCAR and the NASCAR Cup Series. It also honors the work that Maury Gallagher has done.
‘Legacy’ recognizes what seven-time Cup champion Johnson has built and is building, plus what the future of the team will look like. ‘Motor Club’ is a nod to the various car clubs of the past that dotted the United States of America.
“After brainstorming about the new name of our team, Maury and I recognized the opportunity to do something special and different,” said Johnson. “We felt it was important to have a name (LEGACY) that honored the past and acknowledged the future.
“The term ‘Motor Club’ is a nod to car clubs of the past. LEGACY M.C. will be an inclusive club for the automobile racing enthusiast. I am excited to be a part of a story so rich in heritage and look forward to creating a new legacy in this sport outside of the racecar.”
Between the 2021 and 2022 seasons, Maury Gallagher merged his GMS Racing Cup team with Richard Petty Motorsports to create PettyGMS. In one season together the team won the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway with Erik Jones. Jones and Ty Dillon combined to earn three top-five and 14 top-10 finishes.
For the 2023 season, now under the LEGACY M.C. banner, Jones’ No. 43 Chevrolet will be joined by rookie Noah Gragson in the No. 42 Chevrolet.
“Just over a year ago, I had the opportunity to acquire Richard Petty Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series,” said Gallagher. “We made great strides throughout the 2022 season – winning the Southern 500 with Erik at Darlington and bringing Noah into the team for 2023.
“With the addition of Jimmie in an ownership role, we knew change was inevitable with his experience and knowledge. Our goal is to win races, win championships and to represent our partners by performing at the highest level. The new image of LEGACY M.C. is something that will allow us to stand out and foster a team environment that breeds success.”
The name change also marks the end of an in NASCAR history. 2023 is the first season in the 75-year history that the Petty name is not included in the title of a team on track. Though the Petty name is not directly on track, the seven-time champion and 200-race winner is still very much a part of the team.
From 1949 through 2008, the Petty name graced Petty Enterprises. Following a merger with Gillette Evernham Motorsports, the team became Richard Petty Motorsports (RPM) in 2009. Despite partner changes, the RPM remained until the merger with GMS prior to the 2022 season.
“As we were all talking about creating a new name for the team, we looked at Jimmie, myself, and Dale Inman – that’s 22 championships – so there couldn’t be a better name to fit our race team than LEGACY. The “Motor Club” is a perfect fit because we want our fans to pull for the whole team.” remarked Petty.
“When I see the No. 42 & 43 cars, no matter who the driver was, is currently, or could be in the future, I want our fans to remember the Petty history that comes with them, and that history will continue to be made with LEGACY M.C.”
While Gragson’s No. 42 and Jones’ No. 43 Chevrolets are full-time, Johnson will compete part-time in a third open car. The No. 84 Chevrolet Camaro ZL1 will make its’ on track debut at Daytona International Speedway. As an open team, Johnson has to qualify on time for the Daytona 500.
“I’m looking forward to a new era in the No. 84 Chevrolet with LEGACY M.C. and getting a shot to drive the new Next Gen car this season,” said Johnson.
The 2023 Daytona 500 will be the first race that Johnson will not drive the No. 48. In 686 starts he has 83 victories, 232 top-five, and 374 top-10 finishes, all with Hendrick Motorsports.
The Daytona 500 is scheduled for Sunday, February 19, at 2:30 p.m. ET on FOX, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.