Joe Gibbs Racing, Sam Hunt Racing unveil 2023 Xfinity lineups
Joe Gibbs Racing and Sam Hunt Racing announced Thursday their respective driver lineups for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
Piloting JGR’s flagship No. 18 Toyota is Sammy Smith, who was named to the ride before the announcement. Their No. 20 Toyota will be driven by John Hunter Nemechek, while Ryan Truex will get six races in the No. 19 Toyota – set to also be driven by others yet TBA.
Kaz Grala will drive SHR’s No. 26 Toyota full-time, while Connor Mosack will get 20 races in the No. 24 Toyota – set to also be driven by others yet TBA.
2023 is SHR’s fourth full-time Xfinity season but Grala is the organization’s first full-time driver. This is also Grala’s first full-time NASCAR season since 2017.
The five driver/crew chief pairings are as follows, below the photo.
|No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing||Sammy Smith||Jeff Meendering|
|No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing||John Hunter Nemechek||Ben Beshore|
|No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing||Kaz Grala||Allen Hart|
|No. 19 Joe Gibbs Racing||Ryan Truex (6 races), others||Jason Ratcliff|
|No. 24 Sam Hunt Racing||Connor Mosack (20 races), others||Kris Bowen|
Bowen and Beshore are new for 2023 to their respective Xfinity teams.
Bowen joins the No. 24 team after serving as crew chief for the No. 02 Our Motorsports team for 12 of the first 13 races and the last three races of the 2022 season.
Beshore joins the No. 20 team after serving as Kyle Busch’s Cup crew chief in 2021 and 2022. His last full-time season as an Xfinity crew chief was in 2020, when he led Harrison Burton to four wins in his rookie year.
Ratcliff will be returning to JGR’s “all-star” Xfinity team and Hart returns to SHR’s No. 26 team.
Ratcliff worked with Truex in 2022, as well as Mosack, Smith, Nemechek, Trevor Bayne, Drew Dollar, Christopher Bell, Bubba Wallace and James Davison.
Hart worked with Grala in 2022, as well as Nemechek, Truex, Parker Chase, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Derek Griffith and Chandler Smith.
Meanwhile, Jeff Meendering will oversee his team’s transition from the No. 19 to the No. 18 and from Brandon Jones to Sammy Smith.
JGR and SHR made the announcement jointly Thursday as they work closely together due to personal ties and TRD support. However, there is no official alliance but SHR runs with JGR engines.
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