Joe Gibbs Racing has made some changes to the upcoming NASCAR Xfinity Series driver schedule. Ty Gibbs will take over the No. 54 JGR Toyota Supra at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 17. John Hunter Nemechek will then take over the stock car at Talladega Superspeedway on Oct. 2.
Casey Campbell, the sports director at the “Great Lakes Post,” noted the change on Monday, Sept. 13, and tweeted that Nemechek will drive the No. 54 Toyota Supra at Talladega Superspeedway, Texas Motor Speedway, and Phoenix Raceway. NASCAR then partially confirmed that change with the release of the entry list for Bristol Motor Speedway, which listed Gibbs in the No. 54.
The original schedule featured Nemechek competing at Bristol Motor Speedway on Sept. 17, Texas Motor Speedway on Oct. 16, and Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 6. Now, however, he will switch up the dates by heading to Talladega Superspeedway instead of the Tennessee short track. Nemechek confirmed this schedule by tweeting that he would suit up at Talladega.
Joe Gibbs Racing Announced Nemechek’s Schedule in Mid-June
Joe Gibbs Racing originally announced Nemechek’s schedule on June 11. The organization issued a press release and revealed that the Truck Series driver would move over to the Xfinity Series for three races and drive the No. 54 Toyota Supra.
Nemechek expressed excitement about the opportunity to add even more wins to the team’s record. The No. 54 has visited Victory Lane nine times during the 2021 season — five times with Kyle Busch, three times with Gibbs, and once with Christopher Bell. Nemechek noted this success while explaining why he joined the team for the three-race schedule.
“I am very excited about this opportunity,” Nemechek said in a press release, per Jayski. “Just like I’ve said all year on the trucks side, I’m here to win races. I have a lot of confidence going into these races that we’re going to have a shot to win every time out. Chris (Gayle, crew chief) and everyone at Joe Gibbs Racing have shown that they are capable of winning any given week and I expect to do the same.”
Nemechek has made two starts in the Xfinity Series in 2021, both with Sam Hunt Racing. He joined the team at Dover on May 15 and finished 32nd out of the 40-car field. He then returned to the No. 26 Toyota Supra on Sept. 11 for Sam Hunt’s hometown race, locking up a third-place finish.
Gibbs Expanded His Schedule After a Strong Start
Campbell added that the 18-year-old Gibbs will round out his 2021 schedule with races at Las Vegas, Charlotte Roval, Kansas, and Martinsville after suiting up at Bristol. He will start 18 total for JGR while preparing for his inevitable move to the series with his grandfather’s team.
Motorsports reporter Dustin Albino noted that three of these dates were late additions to the schedule after Gibbs turned in strong performances. He did not originally have Bristol, Las Vegas, or Martinsville on the schedule that JGR released in February. The team added these races after Gibbs proved that he can contend with the best drivers in the Xfinity Series. This schedule change was the second of 2021. The first took place after Gibbs won the Daytona Road Course race, his first-ever start in the No. 54.
“Winning this past weekend in Daytona was really a dream come true for me,” Gibbs said in a statement, per NBC Sports. “I can’t wait to get back behind the wheel again. I know I still have a lot to learn, but I have great teams behind me in both ARCA and Xfinity and I’m so fortunate to have the opportunity to work with all of them. I’m just really excited for the rest of the year.”