(Photo Source: Twitter.com/JRMotorsports)
Press Release | JR MOTORSPORTS
MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Sept. 26, 2023) – JR Motorsports has tabbed current NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoff contender and two-time ARCA Menards Series East champion Sammy Smith as its newest driver, the team announced today. Beginning in 2024, Smith will command JRM’s iconic No. 8 Chevrolet Camaro in full-time NXS competition with partnership from Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and the Allstate Peterbilt Group.
“Sammy is a great fit for our program and will mesh well with our other drivers,” said JRM team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. “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, 19, transitions to JRM after spending the past two seasons stockpiling stats that include a win at Phoenix Raceway – which made him the youngest NXS winner in the track’s history – six top-five and 15 top-10 finishes. Smith also clinched a coveted spot in the NXS Playoffs this season. He replaces longtime JRM driver Josh Berry, who is moving to the Cup Series in 2024 to fill the seat vacated by retiring superstar Kevin Harvick.
“I am very appreciative for the support of Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and all my partners that helped make this happen,” said Smith, a native of Johnston, Iowa. “The opportunity to race for JR Motorsports is one I am looking forward to and cannot wait to see what we all accomplish together.”
Smith’s been aligned with Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and Allstate Peterbilt Group since his career began. As the largest operator of travel centers in North America, Pilot Flying J is a Knoxville, Tenn.-based company with more than 750 retail locations. Based out of Des Moines, Iowa, TMC Transportation is the nation’s largest employee-owned open deck transportation company. The Allstate Peterbilt Group is the largest privately held factory-authorized dealer group in the Upper Midwest.
“It’s special to welcome Pilot Flying J, TMC Transportation and Allstate Peterbilt Group back into the JRM family,” said JRM CEO Kelley Earnhardt Miller. “They were part of our Xfinity program for five years and were instrumental in helping us become a four-car operation in 2017. This reunion shows a lot of promise with a talent like Sammy at the wheel. We can’t wait to go to work with them.”
All three brands spent the 2017-21 NXS seasons in partnership with JRM. The relationship produced Pilot Flying J’s first series victory at Daytona International Speedway in 2019 prior to a second win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2021.
“We have been supporting and cheering on Sammy throughout his journey in the Xfinity Series for the last two seasons,” said Adrienne Ingoldt, vice president of brand and marketing for Pilot Flying J. “We’re excited for the next chapter in his career and seeing the success he‘ll bring behind the wheel of JRM’s No. 8 car.”
Smith, who began racing at the age of 8, carved his path through the ranks by way of go-karts, Legend Cars, Late Models and Super Late Models, winning several crown-jewel events in the latter such as the Winchester 400, Redbud 400 and Governor’s Cup. He has raced in multiple series, including the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series. In addition to two championships, Smith is a 15-time winner at the ARCA Menards Series level.
“We are excited to continue our motorsports partnership with Sammy as he joins the JRM race team,” said Jason Webb, EVP, asset management for TMC Transportation. “Having been a partner with JRM for several years, we know they are a first-class organization. Sammy will be joining a team that will provide him with the resources and tools to dominate on the track and continue to develop to reach his full potential.”
Smith will join Justin Allgaier, Brandon Jones and Sam Mayer in completing JRM’s driver lineup in 2024. Specific partner races and crew duties for Smith and the No. 8 team will be announced at a later date.