Colby Howard and JD Motorsports have parted ways ahead of the 25th event of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season at Richmond Raceway, the 19-year-old confirmed to TobyChristie.com on Friday Afternoon.
First joining JD Motorsports at the start of last season, Howard was tapped to pilot the No. 15 Chevrolet Camaro in a 22-race schedule with the organization, which including a career-best 12th-place finish at Daytona International Speedway in August. After turning heads with some impressive results, Howard was announced as the full-time driver of the entry for the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.
The Simpsonville, South Carolina-native has piloted the No. 15 Chevrolet Camaro in all but one race this season, with Howard elected to step out of the car at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s Road Course in order to allow Mike Skeen to qualify the entry into the event and collect additional owner points for the team, something Skeen failed to do by not making the race.
The day before confirming his departure to TobyChristie.com, Howard announced that he would be competing full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2022, piloting a second entry for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, stepping away from the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the time being. Howard says that the announcement of his 2022 plans on Thursday “just had a coincidental timing,” and revealed that his announcement had no influence on his status with JD Motorsports for this season, but did reveal there was bigger domino that fell behind the scenes, which ultimately led to his early departure.
“Won’t be in the 15 anymore, the BMR [/MHR] announcement just had coincidental timing,” Howard told TobyChristie.com. “I didn’t have much of a choice, they wanted more funding that was not part of our agreement, so I refused to put more into struggling downhill season.”
The 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season has been a struggle for both Howard and JD Motorsports, with the former driver of the No. 15 only collecting four top-20 finishes in 23 attempts this season, compared to the seven top-20s he collected in 22 starts in 2020. Entering Richmond, JD Motorsports’ No. 15 sits 35th in 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series Owner Points, the sixth-lowest of the series’ full-time entries.
At the time of publishing, the team has not released a statement touching on Howard’s official departure – and it is unclear at this point if they will. TobyChristie.com has reached out to JD Motorsports, in an attempt to have the team respond to the comments made, and a representative for the team declined to comment on the team’s behalf.
In terms of naming a replacement driver, the organization released a statement this afternoon welcoming Bayley Currey to the organization to pilot the No. 15 at Richmond Raceway, saying: “Johnny Davis would like to thank Bayley for coming aboard on such short notice, while we continue to figure out the roster for the No. 15 seat for the remainder of the 2021 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.”
— JD Motorsports w/ Gary Keller (@JDMotorsports01) September 10, 2021
If / when received, additional updates on this story will be added