Joe Gibbs Racing’s “star car”, the #18 Toyota, still needs a driver for the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
As the 2022 NASCAR Xfinity Series season has progressed, Joe Gibbs Racing have confirmed a multitude of drivers for their “star car”, which is the #18 Toyota this year.
The two primary drivers of the “star car” last year no longer drive it. Ty Gibbs drove it in 17 of the 33 races on last year’s schedule, but he is now a full-time driver for the team. NASCAR Cup Series driver Kyle Busch drove it in five of the 33 races on last year’s schedule, but he retired from Xfinity Series competition after reaching 100 wins.
Six drivers have driven the #18 Toyota through the first 15 races of the 2022 season. Trevor Bayne has competed in five races, Ryan Truex has competed in four, Drew Dollar has competed in two, John Hunter Nemechek has competed in two, Bubba Wallace has competed in one, and Connor Mosack has competed in one.
ARCA Menards Series East driver Sammy Smith is the most recent driver to be confirmed for races behind the wheel of the #18 Toyota this year. He is set to make his Xfinity Series debut in this Saturday’s race at Road America and compete in a total of eight of the season’s final 18 events.
Bayne is set to compete in three more races this year while Dollar is set to compete in two more, Nemechek is set to compete in one more, and Wallace is set to compete in one more.
The first of those three races is the Alsco Uniforms 250, which is scheduled to take place next Saturday, July 9 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
So an announcement regarding who will pilot the #18 Toyota in this 163-lap race around the four-turn, 1.54-mile (2.478-kilometer) high-banked oval in Hampton, Georgia is surely coming soon, given the fact that there is just one more race before this one.
Busch competed in this race last year, but he is obviously not in contention to do so this year. Bayne competed in the race at Atlanta Motor Speedway back in March, but even though his schedule has already been expanded from what it was initially, the second race at the newly repaved track is not one of his three remaining races.
Will the driver of the #18 Toyota in this race be somebody new, or will one of the other confirmed drivers have it added to his schedule?
The other two races for which a driver of the #18 Toyota has not yet been announced are scheduled to take place at Darlington Raceway on Saturday, September 3 and at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on Saturday, October 8 (playoff race).
With those races both still being months away, there is no pressing need for the team to make any driver announcements yet, unlike for the upcoming race at Atlanta Motor Speedway.