Joe Gibbs Racing announced Wednesday they will have two full-time and six part-time drivers racing in NASCAR’s Xfinity Series in 2024.
Sheldon Creed and Chandler Smith will race full-time for the team. Creed will pilot the No. 18 Toyota, while Smith will drive the No. 81 Supra, marking the first time the number has raced for JGR in the Xfinity Series since 2021 at Road America. Sam McAulay will serve as crew chief for Creed, and Jeff Meendering will sit atop the No. 81 pit box in 2024.
John Hunter Nemechek and Aric Almirola will split time in the No. 20 Toyota. Ryan Truex, Taylor Gray, William Sawalich and Joe Graf Jr. will race in the No. 19. Seth Chavka and Tyler Allen will serve as crew chiefs for the No. 19 and No. 20, respectively.
The 26-year-old Creed moves from Richard Childress Racing, where spent the last two Xfinity seasons as driver of the No. 2 Chevrolet. Creed ended the 2023 campaign with seven top-five and 15 top-10 finishes to go along with a seventh-place finish in the driver standings. Creed, the 2020 Craftsman Truck Series champion, takes over for Sammy Smith, who will join JR Motorsports next year.
“Honestly, I’m just really excited to be here. JGR has been extremely good in both Xfinity and Cup, not just the last couple years but, you know, for a long time,” Creed said. “Excited to be here and excited to get rolling with my guys.”
Chandler Smith competed with Kaulig Racing during the 2023 season as pilot of the No. 16 Chevrolet, where he amassed one win, eight top five and 13 top 10s and a ninth-place finish in the final standings. The 2023 campaign was the 21-year-old’s first full-time season in the Xfinity Series.
The move acts as a homecoming of sorts for Smith, who was a part of Toyota Racing Development’s TD2 program from 2018-22.
“Toyota, all the executives, everybody at TRD and Toyota, they were my family. They picked me up when I was 14 years old and gave me opportunities that I wouldn’t have been able to have without them,” Smith said. “So, to be able to come back and be with people that believe in me and put me in the best equipment to go win championships and trophies under their banner, that’s who I want to go to bat for every single weekend.”
Almirola, who left a fulltime Cup ride at Stewart-Haas Racing will run a part-time schedule in the No. 20 with Nemechek, who will make the jump to Cup and drive the No. 42 Toyota full-time for Legacy Motor Club. Nemechek will race in 10 Xfinity events, according to a JGR press release.
As a full-time Xfinity Series driver with JGR in 2023, Nemechek finished fourth in the driver standings and compiled seven wins, 17 top five and 24 top 10s. In 104 Xfinity starts, Almirola has four victories, with his most recent coming in June at Sonoma Raceway.
Truex and Graf will return as part-time drivers for the No. 19. Joining the duo will be Gray and Sawalich, who both saw action with Tricon Garage in 2023. Sawalich, 17, additionally raced with JGR in the ARCA Menards Series last year, claiming the East Series championship. Sawalich will make his Xfinity debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway following his 18th birthday on Oct. 3 and additionally get starts at Martinsville Speedway and Phoenix Raceway to close the season.
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