Sam Hunt Racing will be fielding two full-time entries while also introducing Kaz Grala and Connor Mosack as the team’s key competitors for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
The 23-year-old Grala from Boston, Massachusetts, will be piloting the team’s No. 26 Toyota Supra on a full-time basis while the 23-year-old Mosack from Charlotte, North Carolina, will be driving the No. 24 Toyota Supra in 20 Xfinity events for the upcoming season.
The news comes as Sam Hunt Racing based in Mooresville, North Carolina, prepares to enter its fifth season with at least one start in the Xfinity circuit. The team, which debuted as DRIVE Technology in 2013 and originally competed in the ARCA Menards Series East, made its inaugural presence in the Xfinity Series during the 2019 season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway with Colin Garrett piloting the team’s first entry. The team returned on a part-time basis in 2020 before fielding the No. 26 entry on a full-time basis in 2021 piloted by multiple competitors.
This past season, Sam Hunt Racing fielded the No. 26 entry on a full-time basis for a second consecutive season as the car was piloted by multiple competitors. The team also introduced a second entry, the No. 24 Toyota, for select events. Throughout the 2022 season, the No. 26 team finished in the top 10 five times with their best runs being fourth at Darlington Raceway in May and fifth at Phoenix Raceway in March. The No. 24 team made a single start at Daytona International Speedway in February, where Jeffrey Earnhardt piloted the entry to a 15th-place result.
Through a combined 78 career starts in the Xfinity Series made between 17 different competitors, Sam Hunt Racing has achieved three top-five results and seven top-10 results. Their best on-track result to date remains a third-place run at Richmond Raceway in September 2021 made by John Hunter Nemechek. The 2023 season will mark the team’s first opportunity to contend for the driver’s title with Grala.
“Timing and patience have been pivotal components of our growth process at SHR. Expanding to two full-time teams in 2023 brings an excitement level only matched by the responsibility and expectation to compete at a high level every week,” Sam Hunt, owner of Sam Hunt Racing, said. “It goes without saying that having a full-time driver in the No. 26 for the first time is a blessing to our organization and an important component of our growth. Kaz is a highly talented and experienced driver and has strived for an opportunity like this for a long time. Having Connor anchor the No. 24 team is something we are also really looking forward to. He is a very talented young man and has every trait and characteristic I look for in a young driver. We’re heading into 2023 with confidence in both teams and drivers, and I’m excited to continue to build this program with each of them.”
For Grala, the 2023 season will mark his first opportunity competing in the Xfinity circuit on a full-time basis. It will also mark his second full-time campaign overall within NASCAR’s top three national touring series after competing in the Craftsman Truck Series on a full-time basis in 2017 with GMS Racing. During the season, Grala notched his lone career victory at Daytona and became the youngest NASCAR winner at Daytona at age 18 years, one month and 26 days. He went on to make the 2017 Truck Playoffs before finishing in seventh place in the final standings.
This past season, Grala competed in a combined 25 starts across NASCAR’s top three national touring series, 10 of which occurred in the Xfinity Series. His best run occurred at Watkins Glen International in August, where he finished fifth while driving for Big Machine Racing. He made his first start with Sam Hunt Racing during the 2022 Xfinity Series finale at Phoenix Raceway in November, where he finished 23rd.
Through 44 career starts in the Xfinity Series, Grala has achieved five top-five results, 10 top-10 results, 18 laps led and an average-finishing result of 18.6. His highest result in the series are a pair of fourth-place finishes at Daytona in 2018 and at Road America in 2020.
“I’ve scratched and clawed for each opportunity over the past several seasons, and while it hasn’t been easy, it’s made me appreciate this sport and its difficulty more than I ever could have if things had been easy,” Grala said. “I feel like everything has finally come together at the perfect time in my life with the right team around me to start that next chapter in my career. I couldn’t be more proud and hopeful heading into 2023 with Sam Hunt Racing with a chance to compete for a championship. I’ve worked my whole life to get to this point, and I intend to make the absolute most of it next year and beyond.”
Mosack, the 2020 CARS Tour Rookie of the Year and a Trans Am TA2 class competitor, made his NASCAR national touring series debut in June 2022 at Portland International Raceway, where he piloted Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Supra to a 28th-place finish. He returned at Watkins Glen with Sam Hunt Racing, where he finished a season-best 15th. He also made two starts in the Truck Series and eight starts in the ARCA Menards Series, both with Bret Holmes Racing.
Mosack’s first Xfinity start in 2023 will occur at Phoenix Raceway in March with the rest of his schedule yet to be determined.
“Being able to run 20 races in the Xfinity Series next year is a really big deal to me,” Mosack said. “Two years ago, I didn’t really know where I was going or how I was going to get there. Racing in this series is a big step toward where I want to go, and I’m excited it is with a team like Sam Hunt Racing. With SHR being a growing team, I know I can develop relationships with everyone involved and continue to learn from them. I’ve enjoyed getting to know Sam and trust that his team and values will help to develop me as a driver.”
In addition to the new driver lineup, Sam Hunt Racing welcomes Kris Bowen, formally from Our Motorsports, as the crew chief of the No. 24 entry. Allen Hart is expected to remain as Grala’s crew chief for the 2023 season.
The rest of the team’s driver lineup for the No. 24 “all-star” entry, including one for the season-opening event at Daytona in February, will be announced at a later date.
With their plans for the upcoming season announced, Sam Hunt Racing’s 2023 season is set to commence at Daytona on February 18. The event is slated to occur at 5 p.m. ET on FS1.