With both of their 2023 drivers set to move to new teams for the 2024 NASCAR season, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series lineup will have a new look.
For the second consecutive season, both of Joe Gibbs Racing’s full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers have moved on, leaving the team in need of another driver lineup overhaul.
After the 2022 season, Ty Gibbs was promoted to the organization’s Cup Series team as the replacement for the Richard Childress Racing-bound Kyle Busch, and Brandon Jones left after five seasons for JR Motorsports to replace the Legacy Motor Club-bound Noah Gragson.
The team brought in John Hunter Nemechek and Sammy Smith, both of whom had competed part-time in their “star car” in 2022, to compete full-time during the 2023 season.
Now both of those drivers have found new homes for the 2024 NASCAR season.
With Legacy Motor Club switching from Chevrolet to Toyota, Nemechek was named the replacement for Gragson. He was notably linked to the No. 42 Toyota even before Gragson was suspended and ultimately released after “liking” an inappropriate meme on social media.
As for Smith, he made the same move Jones made, leaving for JR Motorsports. He is set to replace Josh Berry, who is set to move to Stewart-Haas Racing’s Cup Series team as Kevin Harvick’s replacement.
So one year after having two seats to fill, Joe Gibbs Racing again find themselves with two seats to fill. But it’s not exactly a huge secret as to who is slated to take over for Nemechek and Smith.
Austin Hill “leaked” teammate Sheldon Creed’s supposed move to Joe Gibbs Racing as he vented about his frustration with Creed after the playoff race at Martinsville Speedway in October. Creed had already been confirmed not to be returning to Richard Childress Racing, with Jesse Love set to take his place, so the potential move makes sense.
Chandler Smith, who was viewed as a possibility for Joe Gibbs Racing last year, is rumored to return to Toyota in 2024 after spending the 2023 season with Kaulig Racing and Chevrolet. While he signed a multi-year deal with the team, there has been confirmation that he will not return to Matt Kaulig’s team next year. A contract buyout is expected.
There has not yet been any formal confirmation about either one of these moves, but it would be a major surprise at this point if Joe Gibbs Racing’s full-time Xfinity Series driver lineup does not consist of Creed and Smith next year.