Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), a four-time championship-winning operation in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, has revamped its driver lineup for the 2024 season, the team officially announced on Wednesday.
The organization, which has secured a series-high 204 victories, will field a pair of entries that will compete for the NASCAR Xfinity Series championship which if successful, would be the third for JGR in the last four seasons.
Meanwhile, the organization’s third and fourth entries, the No. 19 and No. 20, will feature an assortment of competitors, some of which are considered to be veterans of the second-tier series, while others aren’t even old enough to compete, as of the start of the season.
Sheldon Creed, who spent the last two seasons competing in the series for Richard Childress Racing, will join Joe Gibbs Racing to drive the No. 18 Toyota GR Supra in 2024.
A champion of the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, Creed is still on the hunt for his first victory in the second-tier series, having endured the heartbreak of seven runner-up finishes, including in each of the final two races of the 2023 season.
Sam McAulay, who has served as the lead race engineer for Denny Hamlin in the NASCAR Cup Series for the last eight years, will be calling the shots for Creed and the No. 18 Toyota Supra in 2024.
Joining Creed as a full-time driver for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2024 is Chandler Smith, who has returned to the Toyota Driver Development (T2D) program to pilot the No. 81 Toyota GR Supra.
A native of Talking Rock, Georgia, Smith spent his rookie season driving for Kaulig Racing but parted ways with the organization after the first of what was scheduled to be a multi-year agreement, which the team announced in late October.
In his first season of Xfinity Series competition, Smith posted a ninth-place finish in final points, on the strength of a single victory at Richmond Raceway, as well as eight top-five and 13 top-10 finishes.
Smith will work hand-in-hand with Jeff Meendering in 2024, as he chases his first ‘Championship 4’ appearance in the Xfinity Series, and if all goes according to plan, maybe even his first NASCAR National Series championship.
Those two drivers, both of which have proven to be winners in NASCAR’s top-three series, will serve as the organization’s two opportunities to collect another Xfinity Series title for Joe Gibbs Racing — at least when it comes down to the driver’s championship.
Meanwhile, a roster of six different drivers will attempt to bring home the Owner’s Championship for Joe Gibbs Racing, in one of the organization’s two rotisserie entries in 2024, the No. 19 and No. 20 Toyota GR Supra.
Aric Almirola and John Hunter Nemechek will make up the majority of the 33-race NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule for the No. 20 Toyota GR Supra, which will be led by Tyler Allen, who has served as an engineer under Adam Stevens for the last seven years.
Nemechek, a nine-time Xfinity Series winner, will contest a 10-race schedule in the entry, which will begin with back-to-back races at Daytona International Speedway and Atlanta Motor Speedway, with Pye-Barker Fire & Safety sponsoring the entry.
Almirola is a four-time NASCAR Xfinity Series winner, which includes a surprise victory earlier in the season at Sonoma Raceway while driving the No. 28 for RSS Racing. The Tampa, Florida-native announced in October he would be finished with full-time racing in the NASCAR Cup Series.
Meanwhile, the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra, which served as the multi-driver entry for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2023, will once again host a unique cast of drivers for the 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series campaign.
After breaking through with his first NASCAR National Series victory at Dover Motor Speedway last season, Ryan Truex returns to the NASCAR Xfinity Series with Joe Gibbs Racing, where he’ll contest multiple races in the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra.
Truex will be joined by Joe Graf, Jr., who returns to Joe Gibbs Racing after a six-race stint with the organization last season, which produced a best result of ninth-place at Kansas Speedway and a pair of top-10 finishes.
Finally, Toyota Driver Development (T2D) prospects Taylor Gray and William Sawalich will also spend time behind the wheel of the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra in 2024. The first start of the season for each driver will also serve as their NASCAR Xfinity Series debut.
Gray, who is set to compete full-time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2024, will take to the track multiple times throughout the season. At the time of publishing, no official debut date has been announced for Taylor Gray.
Sawalich, the 2023 champion of the ARCA Menards Series East, will contest a three-race schedule in the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra including events at Homestead-Miami Speedway (October 26), Martinsville Speedway (November 2), and Phoenix Raceway (November 9).
Seth Chavka will oversee the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra in 2024, after serving as a lead race engineer for Joe Gibbs Racing since 2019 for Erik Jones, Kyle Busch, and Ty Gibbs.
“Over the last couple of months, we’ve been working diligently to put together our 2024 Xfinity program which will include the addition of a fourth team,” said Steve DeSouza, EVP NASCAR Xfinity Series/Development at JGR. “Our 2024 roster has a great balance of experience, youth, wisdom, and talent. We believe the veteran drivers will continually benchmark our program, complement, and challenge each other, as well as assist our younger drivers to further develop their skill set. We are also excited about our crew chiefs and the teams they have assembled. We take a lot of pride in not only our program’s on-track success, but also in the opportunity to develop and promote our team members.”
2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series Lineup for Joe Gibbs Racing:
- 18 – Sheldon Creed – Crew Chief: Sam McAulay
- 19 – Ryan Truex, William Sawalich, Taylor Gray, Joe Graf Jr. – Crew Chief: Seth Chavka
- 20 – Aric Almirola, John Hunter Nemechek – Crew Chief: Tyler Allen
- 81 – Chandler Smith – Crew Chief: Jeff Meendering