Jade Buford is out, at least for the next two NASCAR Xfinity Series races, as Kaz Grala will get behind the wheel of the No. 48 Big Machine Racing entry for Talladega Superspeedway and Dover Motor Speedway.
The team made the announcement on Tuesday in the form of a press release.
In the release, team owner Scott Borchetta stated, “we’ve made a very serious commitment to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including our strategic partnership with RCR, and at this time we need to evaluate all aspects of the team as I am determined to run up front.”
Buford, 34, has made 44 starts in NASCAR Xfinity Series competition and the driver, who comes from a road racing background, has scored three top-10 finishes.
After eight races in 2022, Buford sits 24th in the NXS driver standings. Aside from an eighth-place finish at Circuit of the Americas, Buford has not had a top-20 finish this season.
Grala sliding behind the wheel will give the team a proven commodity, who can help them assess where they are as an organization. If Grala performs well, it is to be determined what that means for Buford’s future with the organization, but it is clear in the statement above that Borchetta intends for his team to compete for top finishes often.
Grala, 23, has two top-10 finishes in six-career NASCAR Cup Series starts and he has scored four top-fives and nine top-10 finishes in 37-career NASCAR Xfinity Series starts. Grala has history with Richard Childress Racing, Big Machine’s technical ally, as he ran NASCAR Xfinity Series events for them between 2019 and 2020 and he even ran his NASCAR Cup Series debut in place of Austin Dillon, who was sidelined due to COVID, at the Daytona Road Course in 2020.
Additionally, the Boston, Massachusetts-native has a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory on his resume as well.