Big Machine Racing Announces Surprising Driver Change

Jade Buford

Getty Jade Buford will lose his seat for the next 2 Xfinity Series races. .

The No. 48 Chevrolet Camaro will have a new driver during the next two NASCAR Xfinity Series races. Big Machine Racing has revealed that Kaz Grala will take over for Jade Buford, starting at Talladega Superspeedway.

Big Machine Racing issued a short and direct press release on April 12 and announced the news. The team said that Grala will take over at Talladega Superspeedway on April 23 and Dover Motor Speedway on April 30. Big Machine Vodka Spiked Coolers will continue to serve as the team’s primary partner amid the driver change.

“We’ve made a very serious commitment to the NASCAR Xfinity Series, including our strategic partnership with RCR, and at this time we need to evaluate all aspects of the team as I am determined to run up front,” said team owner Scott Borchetta.

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Buford is currently 24th overall in the championship standings after the first eight races of the Xfinity Series season. He has one top-10 finish — eighth at Circuit of the Americas — and three DNFs due to crashes.

Big Machine Racing Raised Expectations Ahead of the 2022 Season

Xfinity Series

GettyBig Machine Racing signed an expanded partnership with Richard Childress Racing.

Borchetta made strong comments when announcing the driver change, but there is a reason. The team owner previously turned heads with a strategic partnership with Richard Childress Racing.

Big Machine Racing announced on October 7, 2021, that the team would relocate to North Carolina in order to be closer to RCR as part of an enhanced partnership. BMR already used ECR engines, but the new deal included technical and engineering support, as well as “key assets.”

“To be able to join Richard Childress and the iconic RCR means we just put a turbocharger on our Big Machine Racing program,” Borchetta said in a statement in 2021. “As a racer and fan, I’ve always looked up to Richard, all of his accomplishments, and his organization. He’s a winner in the truest sense and I look forward to the day that we can share our first victory together.”

The No. 48 has shown speed since BMR and RCR joined forces. Buford posted the third-fastest qualifying time at Daytona International Speedway before posting top-15 times at Auto Club Speedway and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He was also in contention for a top-10 finish at Daytona before a crash on the final scheduled lap.

Grala Has Made 3 Xfinity Series Starts in 2022

Kaz Grala

GettyKaz Grala has made multiple Xfinity Series starts in 2022.

The Massachusetts native has made starts across all three national series during the 2022 season. He kicked off the season as a driver for TMT Racing during the Daytona 500 before joining Alpha Prime Racing at Auto Club Speedway. Grala’s first start of the year in the Camping World Truck Series took place at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with Young’s Motorsports.

Grala has made seven combined starts in 2022, divided nearly equally between the three national series. His best run was 14th during the Truck Series race at Circuit of the Americas. Grala also had a pair of top-25 finishes with APR in the Xfinity Series.

Grala will now make only his second career Xfinity Series start at Talladega Superspeedway after posting a 20th-place finish in 2018. Though he has a pair of top-five finishes at another superspeedway. He finished fourth at Daytona International Speedway to open the 2018 season before finishing fifth in the July race that same season.

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