Legacy Motor Club move to Toyota is just … smart

The No. 43 car will be a Toyota in 2024

The organization now known as Legacy Motor Club was once called Richard Petty Motorsports in its earlier days. Jimmie Johnson then joined the organization, at that time called Petty GMS Racing, and the current name was devised. Two seven-time NASCAR Cup Series champions have their names intertwined in this one team.

Petty largely serves as an ambassador for the operation now co-owned by Johnson and businessman Maury Gallagher.

While Petty drove various types of cars during his legendary racing career, he is most associated with Chrysler through that company’s Dodge and Plymouth brands from his championship winning days with Petty Enterprises. Johnson was a standard bearer for Chevrolet during the time in which he was racking up titles for Hendrick Motorsports.

On Tuesday, however, the team those two racing legends are now associated with announced it will switch away from Chevrolet to Toyota at the start of the 2024 season.

No doubt some will be offended by the fact that the team associated with two of NASCAR’s most iconic figures has allied itself with a foreign car maker but this new partnership just makes sense for all involved. As a company, Legacy must position itself in a way to succeed. Trailing far, far behind three other Chevrolet teams. The move to Toyota for LMC will put them a little closer to the front of the line in terms of their relationship with an OEM(Original Equipment Manufacturer).

Chevrolet currently has three teams that would be considered ahead of Legacy- Hendrick Motorsports with its four cars, Richard Childress Racing with its two cars, and Trackhouse Racing with its two cars. At best the No. 42 and No. 43 rides would rank 9th and 10th among the ‘Bowtie’ brigade.

With Toyota, LMC will be grouped with Joe Gibbs Racing and its four cars along with 23XI Racing and its two cars. So at worst, Legacy’s machines would be ranked 7th and 8th with their new OEM. Further, Toyota seems to be willing to assist all of its teams in whatever ways they may need. This is not to say that Chevrolet doesn’t but anytime an organization can move a rung higher in the pecking order it has to help.

Johnson issued a statement regarding the move in a press release sent out by Legacy Motor Club and Toyota.

“Maury Gallagher and I are very excited about the partnership with Toyota and TRD beginning in 2024,” said LEGACY M.C. co-owner Jimmie Johnson. “We admire and respect the level at which Toyota conducts their business in this sport and look forward to forging a new legacy for the future.  I will always be appreciative to Chevrolet and everything we have accomplished together. I’m so thankful they took a chance on a kid from California so long ago and proud that the history books will forever memorialize our record-breaking success we shared.”

Toyota let their thoughts be known on the change as well in that same release.

“We are humbled and delighted to welcome LEGACY MOTOR CLUB into the Toyota and TRD NASCAR family,” said David Wilson, President of TRD, U.S.A. (Toyota Racing Development). “Jimmie Johnson and Maury Gallagher have impressed us with their long-term vision and commitment to building a championship caliber organization. More importantly, their character and values are aligned with ours and our current Cup Series partners, Joe Gibbs Racing and 23XI Racing. Of course, we also look forward to being reunited with our old friends, Erik Jones and Noah Gragson.”

This was a business move that just made sense. Legacy saw an opportunity to better itself while Toyota seized on the chance to increase its numbers. This was the smart call for all involved.

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Richard Allen has been covering NASCAR and other forms of motorsports since 2008.

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