JR Motorsports announced Thursday afternoon that Noah Gragson will return to the team in 2021 to pilot the #9 NASCAR Xfinity Series Chevrolet.
The announcement comes amidst speculation stemming from an auspicious tweet sent by Gragson just a day prior to the announcement. The tweet featured a pen emoji and was supplemented by comments on the importance of the deal.
As a young prospect driving for a team with close ties to Hendrick, Gragson was in the rumor mill as a replacement for seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson to take over the #48 Chevrolet in 2021.
The Thursday afternoon announcement clarifies Gragson’s tweet and his future, but also leaves in question who will take over the #48. Drivers rumored to take over the #48 include Bubba Wallace and Erik Jones.
Gragson currently sits third in Xfinity Series points, 97 points behind points leader Austin Cindric. Gragson won at Daytona and Bristol, which earned him ten playoff points. Gragson also has eight more playoff points from his eight stage wins so far after 21 races this season.