JR Motorsports announced Tuesday that Sammy Smith will drive the team’s No. 8 Chevrolet in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next season.
Smith makes the move from Joe Gibbs Racing, where he reached the Xfinity Series Playoffs in his first full season of competition. Smith has one Xfinity victory – achieved in March at Phoenix Raceway – and currently ranks sixth in the circuit’s postseason standings, 18 points above the provisional elimination line with one race remaining in the Round of 12.
Sponsorship will be provided by Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and the Allstate Peterbilt Group.
The 19-year-old driver replaces Josh Berry, who is set to move to the NASCAR Cup Series next season as the pilot of Stewart-Haas Racing’s No. 4 Ford. Berry, a five-time Xfinity Series winner, has driven the No. 8 JRM Chevy full time the last two seasons, reaching the playoffs each year. He qualified for the Championship 4 round in 2022.
“Sammy is a great fit for our program and will mesh well with our other drivers,” JRM team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said in a team release “He’s a young, talented racer who’s willing to learn and carries himself with a lot of professionalism. He has a bright future ahead. I’m excited for our team to help him continue his journey.”
Smith made the jump to the Xfinity Series last season, making nine starts in Gibbs’ No. 18 Toyota. He established solid credentials in the ARCA Menards Series with six wins in 2022, and he netted back-to-back ARCA Menards Series East championships in 2021 and 2022.
On his way to the NASCAR national-series ranks, Smith made the rounds with success in Super Late Model events. The Johnston, Iowa, native holds crown-jewel victories at the grassroots level in the Winchester 400 and Redbud 400 in Indiana, and the Governor’s Cup and World Series of Asphalt at New Smyrna Speedway in Florida.
Smith joins three returning drivers on the JR Motorsports roster for 2024. Sam Mayer (No. 1 Chevrolet), veteran Justin Allgaier (No. 7), and Brandon Jones (No. 9) all re-signed with the Dale Earnhardt Jr.-owned organization in recent weeks.