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NASCAR Xfinity: Zane Smith goes part-time with JR Motorsports

By AMANDA VINCENT

NASCAR Next program driver Zane Smith will drive the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet in eight NASCAR Xfinity Series races in 2019, the race team announced Tuesday.

“Zane is going to be an important part of the lineup for the No. 9 team next year,” JR Motorsports co-owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. “It’s a great opportunity for him. The team is going to take on a different feel with a handful of drivers taking turns throughout the year, but the goal remains the same – to help these drivers gain experience and continue to advance their careers. We started the Xfinity program with that mindset and it’s something we’re proud to continue.”

Tyler Reddick drove the No. 9 car full-time in 2018, claiming the series championship, a second-consecutive Xfinity Series drivers’ championship for JR Motorsports’ No. 9 car. William Byron drove the No. 9 car to the title in 2017 before moving to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. Reddick is moving to Richard Childress Racing for 2019.

“JR Motorsports has a strong history of helping groom young talent and we’re looking forward to giving Zane that platform for success,” JR Motorsports General Manager Kelley Earnhardt Miller said. “We feel Zane has much to offer both on and off the track. We’re going to have him in the car for these eight races, but also have him gain additional experience by traveling with the team for the season.”

Smith’s first race in the No. 9 will be the March 2 race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He’ll also drive the car April 6 at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, two races at Richmond (Va.) Raceway on April 12 and Sept. 20, Dover (Del.) International Speedway on May 4 and Oct. 5, and Iowa Speedway in Newman on June 16 and July 27.

“I’m super pumped to be a part of JR Motorsports with the No. 9 team for eight races,” Smith said. “I’m counting down the days until Las Vegas, which will be my debut in the Xfinity series. I can’t thank The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas enough for making this happen, along with all of my other partners who have gotten me this far. Having Dale and Kelley as bosses and to lean on is going to be awesome. They are huge icons of the sport. It is unreal to be a part of their team, so I’m just going to try and take it all in.”

Smith made his NASCAR national-series debut in the Camping World Truck Series at Gateway in 2018 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. He finished fifth in a DGR-Crosley entry. He also ran the full ARCAR Racing Series schedule in 2018, posting 12 top-fives and 13 top-10s in 20 races. He finished second in the 2018 ARCA standings.

Other drivers for the No. 9 Xfinity Series entry in 2019 will be announced later.

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Posted by on December 18, 2018. Filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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