Ty Gibbs, Joe Gibbs Racing, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Use your ← → (arrows) to browse
Joe Gibbs Racing announced Sammy Smith as a full-time driver for the 2023 NASCAR Xfinity Series season. Who will join him in the team’s lineup?
Joe Gibbs Racing entered the offseason between the 2022 and 2023 season without any confirmed drivers for their NASCAR Xfinity Series team for next year, with full-time drivers Ty Gibbs and Brandon Jones set to compete elsewhere.
Gibbs was promoted to his grandfather’s Cup Series organization as the replacement for the Richard Childress Racing-bound Kyle Busch, while Jones is set to move to the JR Motorsports Xfinity Series team as the replacement for the Cup Series-bound Noah Gragson.
Gibbs drove the No. 54 Toyota full-time in 2022 after driving it part-time in 2021, while Jones had driven the No. 19 Toyota full-time since 2018.
The team announced their first full-time driver of 2023 on Tuesday, confirming that Sammy Smith, who drove the “star car” (No. 18 Toyota) in nine of 33 races on the 2022 schedule, is set to drive the No. 18 Toyota full-time next season.
Assuming Smith isn’t Joe Gibbs Racing only full-time driver for 2023, here are three other possibilities to join the team.
Possible Joe Gibbs Racing drivers: No. 1 – John Hunter Nemechek
John Hunter Nemechek drove the “star car” in three races in 2022 after driving it in three races in 2021. He competed full-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Truck Series in both seasons, but with the organization switching from Toyota to Chevrolet amid Kyle Busch’s move from Joe Gibbs Racing to Richard Childress Racing, Nemechek won’t be with the team in 2023.
Nemechek has full-time Cup Series and Xfinity Series experience, and he is still just 25 years old. He won a race in Joe Gibbs Racing’s “star car” in 2021 and recorded one of its three season-best runner-up finishes in 2022.
He also competed in select races for Sam Hunt Racing in both seasons, recording three more top five finishes. Since the team began competing in the series in 2019, Nemechek is responsible for all three of their top five results.
After winning seven Truck Series races over the last two seasons, he would be a perfect addition to Joe Gibbs Racing’s full-time Xfinity Series lineup.