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Why is Joe Gibbs Racing Waiting So Long to Announce Their Xfinity Lineup?

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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What’s Happening?

Joe Gibbs Racing’s Xfinity Series lineup seems like a foregone conclusion to many, but no announcement has been made. What is taking Joe Gibbs Racing so long, and what is their timeline for releasing their driver lineup?

  • Joe Gibbs Racing will have an entirely new Xfinity Series lineup in 2024. Previous driver John Hunter Nemechek is moving on to Legacy Motor Club in the Cup Series, and former team member Sammy Smith is staying in the Xfinity Series with JRM.
  • Sheldon Creed was seemingly outed as a 2024 JGR Xfinity driver by then-teammate, Austin Hill, at Martinsville. Chandler Smith reportedly bought out his Kaulig Racing contract to join Toyota, and many have since linked him to JGR.
  • Fans are hotly anticipating when the drivers for the #18 and #20 will be announced. Fans have speculated both Smith and Creed, but others have speculated other drivers.

The Timeline

Joe Gibbs Racing announced their full 2023 Xfinity Series lineup alongside fellow Toyota team, Sam Hunt Racing, in early December 2022. Based on that timeline, JGR should have an announcement any day. This lines up with a recent report from Bob Pockrass who reported on December 3rd that JGR wanted to announce their plans in around a week.

That means JGR should have an announcement coming this week. However, there has been no official indicator from JGR themselves about making an announcement this week. It could happen, but it still has not happened yet. What’s the hold up?

Why the Wait?

It’s no secret that Xfinity Series teams typically take longer to announce drivers for an upcoming season. Most Cup Series teams announce drivers for the following year during the previous season, and JGR also runs a Cup Series team.

JGR had plenty on their plate during the 2023 season. They had to get a contract done with Denny Hamlin and 23XI Racing, and they had to figure out Martin Truex Jr.’s 2024 plans. That combined with figuring out sponsors and drivers for the 2024 Xfinity Series season makes this process take longer.

It’s also possible that there were some complications with drivers who intended to sign with JGR. Trevor Bayne had a full-time ride worked out for the 2023 season with a race team before a sponsor backed out. Things can happen last minute, and maybe they did in this instance.

The Potential Drivers

Both Chandler Smith and Sheldon Creed are the first two obvious choices for the ride. They were the favorites to land the two seats heading into the offseason. However, things change, and other drivers could be searching for a ride with the team.

Ryan Truex

Ryan Truex won his first Xfinity Series race this season with JGR. He also admitted that he hopes to race in Xfinity full-time in 2024. His Dover win showed that he has talent.

However, funding may keep Truex from the Xfinity Series full-time. He was sponsored by Toyota for all of his Xfinity Series starts in 2023, and he likely needs funding from other companies if he wants to race full-time.

Trevor Bayne

Trevor Bayne ran a few Xfinity Series races for JGR in 2023. The 2011 Daytona 500 winner was originally supposed to run full-time with another team, but a sponsor backed out last minute according to Kelly Crandall of RACER.com. He may find sponsorship to run full-time with the team, but he failed to do so in 2023.

With the emergence of Sheldon Creed and Chandler Smith, there may not be room for Bayne. That along with the sponsorship issue presents hurdles for Bayne.

Potentially soon, JGR will have their 2024 plans officially figured out. However, it may take longer than expected.

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Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts