A new season with a new opportunity will produce another first-time opportunity for Sammy Smith as he will be joining TRICON Garage in a one-race deal for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck season-opening event at Daytona International Speedway in mid-February.
The 18-year-old Smith from Johnston, Iowa, will be piloting TRICON’s No. 17 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro sponsored by Mobil 1 in place of Taylor Gray, who will not compete in the first three Truck events on this year’s schedule due to NASCAR’s age restriction policy. Gray, who is set to join TRICON and contend for the rookie title, will make his first start of this season at Circuit of the Americas in late March once he turns 18.
For Smith, the Daytona event will mark his first career start in the NASCAR Truck circuit. He is set to pilot Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 Toyota Supra on a full-time basis for this upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series season, beginning at Daytona in February, as he will contend for both the rookie and championship titles. During the previous season, Smith made his first nine career starts in the Xfinity circuit with JGR, where he notched three top-10 results and a career-best third-place run at Watkins Glen International in August. He is also a two-time ARCA Menards Series East champion, having won both titles in the last two consecutive seasons, and a six-time ARCA Menards Series winner.
The 2023 season is set to mark a new beginning for TRICON Garage, which was rebranded from David Gilliland Racing and changed manufacturers with Toyota following a three-year partnership with Ford. In addition to the No. 17 entry, the team will be fielding the Nos. 5, 11 and 15 entries on a full-time basis. Corey Heim, the reigning Truck Series Rookie-of-the-Year recipient, will be piloting the No. 11 entry for his first full-time Truck campaign while Dean Thompson and Tanner Gray will be driving the Nos. 5 and 15 entries, respectively. TRICON will also be fielding the No. 1 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro on a part-time basis for newcomer William Sawalich, who is scheduled to make his Truck debut at Martinsville Speedway in April.
Additional details regarding TRICON Garage’s driver plans for the No. 17 entry for the following two Truck events at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and at Atlanta Motor Speedway in March have yet to be announced.
Smith’s debut in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series is set to occur at Daytona International Speedway on February 17, which will commence a new season of Truck competition. The event is scheduled to occur at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.