Zane Smith will compete in eight NASCAR Xfinity Series races for JR Motorsports in 2019. Smith will drive the No. 9 car at Las Vegas Motor Speedway but will also share the car with other drivers for 2019.
Smith, 19, will be part of a group of drivers tasked with matching the results of Tyler Reddick and William Byron who won the last two Xfinity Series driver championships.
“Zane is going to be an important part of the lineup for the No. 9 team next season,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr., owner of JRM. “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.”
JR Motorsports sees a bit of a driver shakeup for 2019. Despite the championship, Reddick moves onto Richard Childress Racing to drive the No. 2 car while Elliott Sadler’s retirement opens the door for Noah Gragson to compete in the No. 1 car. Justin Allgaier, No. 7, and Michael Annett, No. 5, both return to JR Motorsports.
“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 (Earnhardt Miller) 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.”
In addition to the race at Las Vegas, Smith also will drive the car at Bristol Motor Speedway (April 6), Richmond Raceway (April 12 and Sept. 20), Dover International Speedway (May 4 and Oct. 5) and Iowa Speedway (June 16 and July 27).
“JR Motorsports has a strong history of helping groom young talent and we’re looking forward to giving Zane that platform for success,” said Kelley Earnhardt Miller, general manager of JRM. “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.”