The 2023 NASCAR season will be the first without a team bearing the Petty family name.
Petty GMS Racing announced Wednesday that it was changing its team name to Legacy Motor Club. The name change comes after seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson joined the team’s ownership group at the end of the 2022 season.
The Petty family name is synonymous with NASCAR. Petty Enterprises was part of the first NASCAR season ever in 1949 when Lee Petty entered five races. Lee Petty was one of the most successful early NASCAR drivers with 54 wins in 427 races and three championships.
His son Richard then became the king of NASCAR with seven Cup Series titles and 200 wins. Richard Petty became the first driver to win seven titles and is the only driver with more than 105 Cup Series wins.
After retiring from driving in 1992, Petty continued to field teams at NASCAR’s highest level. Petty Enterprises existed as a standalone team until 2009 when it merged with the remnants of Gillett Evernham Motorsports and became Richard Petty Motorsports and Petty himself became a minority owner.
The team kept that name through multiple iterations before Maury Gallagher’s GMS Racing became the majority owner of the team ahead of the 2022 season. The team expanded to two cars for 2022 and ran just one season as Petty GMS Racing before adding Johnson as a co-owner and rebranding on Wednesday.
“After brainstorming about the new name of our team, Maury and I recognized the opportunity to do something special and different," Johnson said in a team statement. "We felt it was important to have a name 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 race car."
Johnson to run No. 84
Johnson’s addition to the ownership group also included a part-time driving schedule. Johnson retired from full-time NASCAR competition in 2020 and spent the past two seasons competing in the IndyCar Series.
He’s back in NASCAR in 2023 and will compete in February’s Daytona 500. He won his 83 Cup Series races and seven Cup Series titles while driving the No. 48 car for Hendrick Motorsports. With Alex Bowman in the No. 48 at Hendrick and the team retaining control of that number, the team announced that Johnson will drive the No. 84 car in 2023.
Johnson will team with Noah Gragson and Erik Jones in 2023.