Photo credit: Nigel Kinrade Photography

Noah Gragson: 'the whole package' for Front Row Motorsports

CONCORD, N.C. -- Front Row Motorsports GM Jerry Freeze was ecstatic Wednesday as he met with media members at the NASCAR Production Facility. The reason is that it was finally official that Noah Gragson will join the team on a multi-year deal.

This deal doesn't go into effect until after November's season finale at Phoenix Raceway, but Freeze will continue celebrating the fact Front Row Motorsports landed its "No. 1 player" on the board.

"I just thought this guy here, this guy can be the whole package of a young guy with some experience, a lot of talent, a lot of success in the lower series who's looking to make his mark and is marketable," Freeze said after the press conference.

What does the full package mean for Front Row Motorsports? Well, it's more than just the moves that Gragson makes on the track. Though FRM has an appreciation for how the Las Vegas native has matured over the years while stacking wins.

"If you look at his history, whether it's ARCA or Xfinity, he is just a winner," team owner Bob Jenkins told AltDriver. "And that always comes out. There are guys that can win in the Truck Series that cannot win in the Cup Series, I get that, but if you've won in everything you've ever done...

"I mean, there's just something about him that tells you he's gonna be one of those guys. To me, he's very similar to a Ross Chastain-type guy that he just continues to get better and better. And I really don't know where his ceiling is."

That being said, performing in the car is not the only thing that matters. There are plenty of drivers who can contend for top-10 finishes and wins. Not all of them can appeal to a variety of sponsors.

The marketing aspect is big for Front Row Motorsports, a team that has built up its sponsor lineup over the years while steadily becoming more of a contender.

Gragson has continued to build a fanbase and a lineup of sponsors across the country while rising through the NASCAR ranks. However, Freeze was not aware of its size until he saw the evidence on paper.

"I'll go back to two years ago -- or a year ago -- when we were getting some sales reports from NASCAR on trackside sales," Freeze said. "And Noah Gragson was like the number six or seven guy in trackside sales and I was like, 'That can't be right.' And then the next week, sure enough, he's there again. So it's like, 'Wow, I didn't realize how popular he was.'"

Gragson has success in NASCAR's lower-tier series, and he is marketable. He has shown the ability to contend in Cup this season. These attributes make him immensely appealing to Front Row Motorsports leadership.

The opportunity to join Front Row Motorsports at this point is fitting for Gragson, who is only in his second full-time season. He is still growing as a Cup driver, and he believes he has plenty of runway ahead of him.

The same can be said for Front Row Motorsports. The organization has continued to grow with Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland as the primary drivers. It has celebrated two wins since 2021 and it has become an important part of the Ford Performance family while teaming up with Team Penske.

There is still room to grow for both Gragson and FRM, something they can do together as part of a multi-year deal. This is something Gragson highlighted during his media session on Wednesday when explaining why he joined the team.

It's also something a three-time Daytona 500 winner mentioned in a Wednesday morning text to Gragson.

"(Denny Hamlin) texted me one day out of the blue and gave me some words of encouragement, probably three or four months ago," Gragson said. "And reaching out back to him today and letting him know, 'Hey, we're gonna announce this deal today.' Just telling him, 'Thank you' for all the support and mentorship over the past handful of months.

"What stuck out in my mind from his text today was 'You'll fit in good' (at Front Row Motorsports). You'll have opportunities to win races, and that's important to me. And Denny saying that, I respect his opinion quite a bit."