Joe Gibbs Racing announced that Sammy Smith will be joining the NASCAR Xfinity Series competition on a full-time basis and behind the wheel of the No. 18 Toyota Supra for the 2023 season.
The 18-year-old Smith from Johnston, Iowa, is coming off a competitive 2022 campaign, where he made his first nine career starts in the Xfinity circuit, beginning at Road America in July and capping off the season at Phoenix Raceway in November. Throughout his part-time Xfinity schedule, he earned three top-10 results and recorded a career-best third-place run at Watkins Glen International in August while contributing to JGR’s No. 18 team finishing in seventh place in the 2022 Xfinity owner’s standings.
For his first full-time Xfinity season and bid for the series championship, Smith will be receiving a bevy of sponsorship support for the upcoming season that will include Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt, Renda Group, Sinclair Tractor and Mobil 1. Veteran Jeff Meendering, who served as Brandon Jones’ crew chief during the previous four seasons, will be remaining at JGR for a fifth full-time season to serve as Smith’s crew chief.
“This is an opportunity I have been working towards,” Smith said. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel full-time and am looking forward to a great season. I learned a lot in 2022 that will really help me to be competitive and run up front in the Xfinity Series. Thank you to Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt Group, and Toyota Racing Development for supporting me in my racing career. I am excited for next year and appreciate the opportunity.”
In addition to his part-time Xfinity schedule in 2022, Smith competed on a full-time basis in the ARCA Menards Series East and part-time in the ARCA Menards Series for Kyle Busch Motorsports. He captured the ARCA East title after winning all but two of the series’ seven-race schedule, which marked his second consecutive title in the series after winning his first a year prior with Joe Gibbs Racing. In the ARCA side, he captured six victories and 15 top-five results in 16 starts, which was enough for him to deliver the owner’s title for KBM.
“Sammy is a fantastic addition to our 2023 Xfinity lineup. He proved to have the passion and the talent to necessary to compete for wins in the races he ran for us in 2022,” Steve DeSouza, Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Driver Development, added. “We are excited to get him in the No. 18 full time and know he will be competitive from the jump.”
The remainder of Joe Gibbs Racing’s and Toyota’s Xfinity Series lineup is set to be announced this Thursday, December 8, at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
With his plans for the upcoming season set, Smith’s first full-time campaign in the Xfinity Series is set to commence at Daytona International Speedway on February 18. The event’s coverage is slated to occur at 5 p.m. ET on FS1.