(Photo Credit: www.legacymotorclub.com)
By Adam Carabine & Logan Morris
This year, in preparation for the 2024 NASCAR season, we present our Team Previews Series. Each day until the end of January, a new Team Preview will be live on our website. Check back every day to see what we have to say about your favourite team!
Adam Carabine: We’re back at our Team Previews, and I imagine this is one that Logan has been looking forward to. Legacy Motor Club returns with one new driver, and one returning. Logan, tell us about LMC!
Logan Morris: We can’t forget a new manufacturer! Legacy Motor Club is officially a Toyota team. John Hunter Nemechek takes over the 42. Recently LMC announced a significant sponsorship agreement with Dollar Tree and Family Dollar, so things appear to be looking up for the newest Toyota team.
AC: I still think they should’ve rebranded as 14-Time Racing, but hey that’s just me. The Toyota switch is an interesting one. LMC top brass Cal Wells has been on record saying that Chevrolet was not giving them much to work with in the back half of last season, and that Toyota has promised them top tier access this year. What’s interesting to me is that the John Hunter deal doesn’t happen without the switch, as he’s a known Toyota commodity. What sort of hopes do we have for him this season?
LM: Given the fact that Legacy MC is going to be a direct partner with Toyota, I think that raises expectations. John Hunter already has a year of Cup experience with Front Row Motorsports to fall back on. However, that was 2020 and it feels like a lifetime ago. The issue may be that the 43 feels like it will always get the best available resources, given its ties to Club Ambassador Richard Petty. If Nemechek finishes 22nd or higher in the final standings I think that’s a wonderful first season at Legacy.
AC: I’m just looking back at John Hunter’s season with FRM in 2020, he finished 27th in the final standings. Not terrible by any stretch for a rookie, but he’ll definitely want to finish better than that in 2024. If the equipment is miles better than last year at LMC, Nemechek may look like a genius for stepping back to Trucks/Xfinity for a few years. And what about Erik Jones? Is it playoffs or bust for him this season?
LM: You’re right that the expectations have to be higher than 27th. Though in Nemechek’s defence Front Row Motorsports wasn’t as competitive in 2020 as they are now. I think the equipment is a little different. Switching gears to Erik Jones, I do think it’s playoffs or bust. While having a new manufacturer would suggest patience, let’s not forget Jones has plenty of experience in the Toyota system. Couple that in with all the new sponsorship that team is picking up, it’s a pivotal year for “That Jones Boy.”
AC: Agreed. I don’t think I see both LMC cars making the playoffs, but it will feel like a letdown if Jones doesn’t squeeze his way in. Wins haven’t come easy for that 43 car recently, though, so Jones will have to hope there aren’t too many other winners and he can point his way into the Round of 16. Are we in agreement that Jones finishes ahead of Nemechek this year?
AC: Regardless of what happens, it’ll be a very interesting year for LMC fans. Stay tuned to our continued Team Preview series - next time we will talk about Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and JTG Daugherty!