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Who Will Take Over the No. 20 Xfinity Series Car Next Year?

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John Hunter Nemechek officially announced that he would be moving on to the Cup Series for Legacy Motor Club, and that means that a top-level Xfinity Series seat is up for grabs in 2024. Which drivers are candidates to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing in 2024?

Corey Heim

Corey Heim won the regular season championship in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series this season, and he is the favorite to win the series championship at the season’s end. Oh, and he did all of that despite missing a race at Gateway. As a result, Heim would be the most obvious choice for the #20 JGR seat in the Xfinity Series.

He has even run four Xfinity Series races this season for Sam Hunt in the #24 car, and Heim is 20 years old. His youth may be a deterrence to some, but bringing Heim in would give Gibbs an embarrassment of riches in terms of young drivers with the likes of William Sawalich and Sammy Smith.

Carson Hocevar

Carson Hocevar is reportedly getting a lot of attention from Cup Series teams for 2024, but none of them are win-now scenarios. If he wants to keep winning races, he may need to look at the Xfinity Series. Why not make the move to arguably the best open seat in the Xfinity Series?

Sponsorship may be an issue for Hocevar, and he will also be making the move from Chevrolet to Toyota with this move. However, the 20 car is pretty heavily sponsored by loyal JGR sponsors such as Yahoo!, and that should help ease the burden some. Will it be enough to bring in Hocevar?

Jesse Love

Jesse Love is incredibly young, but he is 18 years old, making him old enough to run on the big tracks. It may be a stretch to bring him up to Xfinity so soon, and Trucks may be his next move. However, his ARCA performance simply cannot be denied.

With the number of young drivers that JGR currently has in their stable, Love could be easily taken on as a developmental project for a couple of years. This may be on the major reach end of the scale, but it is not impossible.

Grant Enfinger

Again, this may be on the reach end of the spectrum, but why not Grant Enfinger? He is currently a free agent with GMS closing its’ doors at season’s end, and he brings a lot of experience to JGR. That could be nice for a team with many young drivers in the ecosystem.

However, Enfinger really does not have any prospects in Cup as he is 38 years old. Would Joe Gibbs want to give Enfinger a seat for two years while he could work another young driver through the pipeline? Well, Nemechek is a veteran driver, so that may work to Enfinger’s advantage.

Zane Smith

Zane Smith is in a similar position to Hocevar, but Smith’s path forward is a bit less clear. He currently is under contract with Front Row Motorsports, even though he was passed over for a Cup ride for next season. If a Cup Series team is not available, then why not go for a ride like Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series?

Smith would have to find a way to work out of his contract with Front Row, which probably could happen. The question is whether or not Gibbs would be willing to pay what they need to to get him out of that contract. It could happen, and it could give Smith a direct line to the Cup Series.

Who could take over the #20 car for next year? It will be interesting to see who the next heir-apparent will be at Joe Gibbs Racing.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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