The No. 26 Sam Hunt Racing Toyota Supra will have a new driver for the trip to Richmond Raceway. Derek Griffith, a Super Late Model competitor, will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut on April 2.
SHR announced the news on March 16. The team said that the 25-year-old New Hampshire native will take over the No. 26 for multiple races, starting at Richmond. Griffith will also suit up for events at Martinsville Speedway and New Hampshire Motor Speedway. There will be more events announced at a later date.
“Richmond is and will always be an extremely special place for me,” team owner Sam Hunt said in a press release. “Not only is it home, but our third-place finish there in 2021 marks the highest finish for SHR to date. Heading there with a rookie — Derek Griffith making his first career start — is different, but still equally as special for me. I have no doubt in my mind that he will quickly learn these cars and be a competitive force by the end of the race. Anytime we get to compete in front of our friends, family, and fanbase is really special.”
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Griffith Made His National Series Debut in 2021
While Griffith has never competed in the Xfinity Series, he has one race in a different national series. He previously joined Kyle Busch Motorsports for the trip to World Wide Technology Raceway and took over the No. 51 Toyota Tundra. Griffith ultimately finished 26th overall.
Along with his start in the Truck Series, Griffith also made a combined 10 starts in the ARCA Menards Series in 2020 and 2021. He posted eight top-10 finishes and three top-fives, including a career-best third-place run at Kansas Speedway.
While Griffith competed in multiple NASCAR series, he also continued to focus on Super Late Model races. His 2022 schedule, in particular, has featured numerous starts in the World Series of Asphalt with five top-five finishes in February. He also won the event at New Smyrna Speedway.
A Different Driver Will Return for Atlanta Motor Speedway
While Griffith will take over the No. 26 for the trip to Richmond Raceway, there will be a different driver in charge during the race weekend at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Jeffrey Earnhardt will return to the stock car after two previous starts.
SHR announced the news on March 15 and confirmed that Earnhardt will make his third of seven scheduled starts while competing on the reconfigured track. He will strive to surpass his season-best finish of 15h that he set during the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway.
While Earnhardt will make his seventh Xfinity Series start at Atlanta Motor Speedway, he will also help SHR reach a significant milestone. The company will compete in its 50th Xfinity Series event after making its debut in 2019.
“I’m excited to get back to Atlanta with ForeverLawn,” Earnhardt said in a press release from SHR. “It’s a big weekend for them, and I’m excited to have the ForeverLawn family there with us at the track. It’s going to be interesting to see what this reconfiguration is like, but no matter what, I know my No. 26 guys have built a fast car. I’m honored to be the driver of the SHR car for their 50th start – that’s such an exciting milestone for this team.”