Saturday, March 2, 2024

Sammy Smith moving to JR Motorsports in 2024

Joe Gibbs Racing will have more than just one seat to fill for the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. On Tuesday, JR Motorsports announced they have signed Sammy Smith away from JGR to drive the #8 Chevrolet Camaro.

“Sammy is a great fit for our programme and will mesh well with our other drivers,” said JRM team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “He’s a young, talented racer who’s willing to learn and carries himself with a lot of professionalism. He has a bright future ahead. I’m excited for our team to help him continue his journey.”

Smith was a Toyota prospect who enjoyed massive success in the ARCA Menards Series East before moving up to the Xfinity Series for 2023. He won at Phoenix just four races into his rookie campaign and is currently sixth in points with twelve top-ten finishes.

He replaces Josh Berry in the #8 as the latter joins Cup Series team Stewart-Haas Racing. His sponsor Pilot Flying J will reunite with JRM, having previously appeared on Michael Annett’s #1 until his retirement at the end of 2021; Smith and Annett’s families are close friends, with the former’s father Kurt being Annett’s business manager.

“It’s special to welcome Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, and Allstate Peterbilt Group back into the JRM family,” commented team CEO Kelley Earnhardt Miller. “They were part of our Xfinity programme for five years and were instrumental in helping us become a four-car operation in 2017. This reunion shows a lot of promise with a talent like Sammy at the wheel. We can’t wait to go to work with them.”

Brandon Jones also migrated from JGR to JRM in 2023, where he pilots the #9. Sam Mayer and Justin Allgaier will respectively remain in the #1 and #7.

With Smith’s departure, neither of JGR’s full-time cars have 2024 drivers as his team-mate John Hunter Nemechek is returning to Cup with new ally Legacy Motor Club. JGR part-timer Ryan Truex, who won at Dover with the team, plans to return in 2024 but has not confirmed his schedule.