No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra News and Notes:
- SMITH AT BRISTOL: Sammy Smith will make his second start at Bristol Motor Speedway in a NASCAR Xfinity Series race this weekend. In 2022, Smith qualified sixth in his first visit to the short track. In Stage One, Smith reported that his car was too loose resulting in an 11th-place finish in the stage. That loose feeling stayed with Smith for the duration of the race as he drove the car to a ninth-place finish in Stage Two and a 14th-place finish in the race. Smith also has one ARCA Menards Series East (AMSE) win at the track that came in 2022 as he claimed the 2022 AMSE Championship.
- KANSAS RECAP: Smith qualified on the front row for last weekend’s race at Kansas Speedway. The No. 18 team had a solid day going as they finished fifth in Stage One and second in Stage Two. Smith’s day ended after contact with Sheldon Creed put the 18 car into the outside wall while battling for third place, causing too much damage to continue. Smith was credited with a 35th-place finish.
- THANK YOU PRO DRIVERS: In honor of Professional Drivers Appreciation Week, the No. 18 Pilot Flying J GR Supra will run a special hood thanking professional truck drivers.
- ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Smith is eligible to compete for the 2023 NXS Sunoco Rookie of the Year (ROTY). The other drivers competing for the title are Chandler Smith, Parker Retzlaff, and Blaine Perkins.
- ARCA EAST CHAMPION x2: Smith defended his 2021 AMSE Championship in 2022 on the strength of five wins and a top-five finish in all of the AMSE races. He also won four ARCA Menards Series races and one ARCA Menards Series West race in 2022.
- ON THE PITBOX: Crew Chief Jeff Meendering will head up the No. 18 team during the 2023 season. He has visited Victory Lane eight times as a NXS crew chief, most recently with Smith at Phoenix in March 2023. His teams have collected 57 top-five finishes, 120 top-10 finishes, and 11 pole positions under his leadership.
- JGR AT BRISTOL: JGR has 112 NXS starts at BMS with 13 of those starts ending in Victory Lane. The last JGR NXS driver to win at Bristol was Christopher Bell in the 2019 spring race. The team has combined for 37 top-fives, 56 top-10’s, 11 pole awards, and 3,429 laps led.
- FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates and a behind-the-scenes look at Smith’s 2023 NXS Seasons.
- RACE INFO: The NXS Food City 300 at Bristol is scheduled for 7:30 PM EST on Friday, September 15. The race will be broadcast on USA, PRN, Sirius XM and available to stream on the NBC Sports app.
From the Driver’s Seat:
Sammy Smith: “We have a lot of speed as a team going into the Xfinity Series Playoffs. I’ve had some success at Bristol and JGR has had strong runs in Xfinity over the past few years so I think we’ll be fast. We just need to put together a complete race and I think we can get a good start to the Playoffs this weekend.”
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