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The Details You Missed In JGR’s Xfinity Series Lineup Announcements

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Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Joe Gibbs Racing announced their Xfinity Series lineup on Wednesday, and there are a couple of minor details that many fans missed. There may be another unknown driver and the next JGR heir-apparent could be decided. Here are some of the unanswered questions that we have following JGR’s announcement.

  • JGR announced eight drivers would fill four full-time seats in 2024. Sheldon Creed and Chandler Smith are the two full-time drivers, while the other six will race part-time.
  • The youngest of the bunch is William Sawalich, who will race in the ARCA Menards Series this year for JGR. He will compete in three races in the Xfinity Series in 2024.
  • Fans were all over this news when it came out. They immediately began speculating how each driver would do in their new seat, from the veterans to the rookies.

JGR May Be Preparing William Sawalich For a Full-Time Xfinity Ride

William Sawalich had a tremendous 2023 season. He won 4 ARCA Menards Series races, which was good enough to win the ARCA Menards East Series Championship. He also recorded 3 top-10 finishes in 6 Craftsman Truck Series starts with TRICON Garage.

As far as his 2024 JGR plans are concerned, he was the only driver of the 19 car who was given specific races to run. Sawalich is ineligible to run in the Xfinity Series until he turns 18 in October of 2024. Once he turns 18, he will take over the 19 car for the final 3 races of 2024.

Given that he is already in the JGR pipeline, they may be preparing him for an Xfinity Series seat shortly. Gibbs is not afraid to move drivers up as soon as they are old enough to race. Ty Gibbs, Sammy Smith, and Joey Logano all started in the Xfinity Series at Gibbs when they turned 18. Could they be preparing Sawalich to take a similar step?

The 20 Car May Have Another Driver

According to JGR’s press release, “The majority” of races with the 20-car will feature Aric Almirola and John Hunter Nemechek. There could be a few surprises, last-minute entries for JGR at certain Xfinity Series races this year.

The drivers who are in the 19-car, Ryan Truex, Joe Graf Jr., and Taylor Gray, all may get an extra start or two in this car should they get the funding. JGR may look to their Cup Series lineup as well.

Denny Hamlin is one to watch for during the Southern 500 Weekend race at Darlington. Since 2015, Hamlin has entered the Xfinity Series race at Darlington with Sport Clips sponsorship every year except 2022. Sport Clips sponsors the Xfinity Race on August 31st in Darlington once again in 2024, so, look for Hamlin to enter that race.

Ty Gibbs entered 8 Xfinity Series races for JGR in 2023, including 4 road course races. He won his only race at the Indianapolis Road Course in August, so, he could jump into a road course race with the team.

This is something to watch for as the season progresses.

What Does it Tell Us About JGR’s Cup Series Plans?

Will Martin Truex Jr. race beyond 2024? That will be a major topic throughout 2024, and his replacement may be auditioning throughout 2024.

Chandler Smith and Sheldon Creed are the two lone full-time Xfinity Series drivers for JGR in 2024. Performing well may earn them a Cup Series ride in 2025 should Truex Jr. retire.

Still, John Hunter Nemechek is with the team in the Xfinity Series. Toyota brought him up to the Cup Series with Legacy Motor Club. If he performs well, is he a candidate to land a JGR Cup ride?

All of these drivers are worth considering. However, it all depends on how they perform in 2024.

There is a lot of layers to this JGR deal in the Xfinity Series. It could give us a glimpse into the future of JGR as well.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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