Sammy Smith Nov 5, 2022; Avondale, Arizona, USA; NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Sammy Smith during the Xfinity Championship race at Phoenix Raceway. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Joe Gibbs Racing announced a major addition to its driver lineup for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Tuesday as Sammy Smith moves into a full-time role for the 2023 season.

Smith will drive the No. 18 Toyota in all 33 Xfinity races next year. Jeff Meendering will serve as the team’s crew chief and Pilot Flying J will return as the car’s primary sponsor, along with Allstate Peterbilt, Renda Group, Sinclair Tractor, and Mobil 1.

The 18-year-old Smith, who was a Toyota development driver, is coming off his second-consecutive ARCA Menards Series East title. He also made nine Xfinity starts in 2022 with JGR, finishing in third place at Watkins Glen.

“This is an opportunity I have been working towards,” Smith said in a statement from the team. “I can’t wait to get behind the wheel full-time and am looking forward to a great season. I learned a lot in 2022 that will really help me to be competitive and run up front in the Xfinity Series. Thank you to Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation, Allstate Peterbilt Group, and Toyota Racing Development for supporting me in my racing career. I am excited for next year and appreciate the opportunity.”

“Sammy is a fantastic addition to our 2023 Xfinity lineup,” said Steve DeSouza, JGR executive vice president of Xfinity Series and driver development. “He proved to have the passion and the talent to necessary to compete for wins in the races he ran for us in 2022,” .“We are excited to get him in the No. 18 full-time and know he will be competitive from the jump.”


About Sean Keeley

Along with writing for Awful Announcing and The Comeback, Sean is the Editorial Strategy Director for Comeback Media. Previously, he created the Syracuse blog Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician and wrote 'How To Grow An Orange: The Right Way to Brainwash Your Child Into Rooting for Syracuse.' He has also written non-Syracuse-related things for SB Nation, Curbed, and other outlets. He currently lives in Seattle where he is complaining about bagels. Send tips/comments/complaints to