No. 18 Pilot Flying J Toyota GR Supra News and Notes:
- SMITH AT SONOMA: Sammy Smith will run his second race at Sonoma Raceway this weekend in the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS). Smith’s first race experience on the track will be in Friday’s ARCA Menards Series West race.
- PORTLAND RECAP: Smith started his first race at Portland International Raceway in 16th position. He battled transmission issues throughout the day that brought him down pit road for several unscheduled pit stops. Smith finished in 30th.
- ROOKIE OF THE YEAR: Smith is eligible to compete for the 2023 NXS Sunoco Rookie of the Year (ROTY). The other drivers competing for the title are Chandler Smith, Parker Retzlaff, and Blaine Perkins.
- ARCA EAST CHAMPION x2: Smith defended his 2021 ARCA Menards Series East (AMSE) Championship in 2022 on the strength of five wins and a top-five finish in all of the AMSE races. He also won four ARCA Menards Series races and one ARCA Menards Series West race in 2022.
- ON THE PITBOX: Crew Chief Jeff Meendering will head up the No. 18 team during the 2023 season. He has visited Victory Lane seven times as a NXS crew chief, most recently with Smith at Phoenix in March 2023. His teams have collected 56 top-five finishes, 114 top-10 finishes, and 11 pole positions under his leadership.
- JGR ON ROAD COURSES: While Saturday’s race will be the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series team’s first experience at Sonoma Raceway, the organization has proven to be successful on other road courses in the past. JGR owns nine Xfinity Series wins on road courses, including victories at Autodromo Hermanos Rodriquez (Mexico City), Circuit of the Americas, the Daytona Road Course, Road America, and Watkins Glen International. In 181 combined starts on road courses, JGR owns 53 top-five finishes, 88 top-10s, seven pole awards, and 725 laps led. Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Ty Gibbs, and Denny Hamlin have all driven JGR entries to victory lane on road courses.
- FOLLOW ALONG: Follow along for updates and a behind-the-scenes look at Smith’s 2023 NXS Seasons.
- RACE INFO: The NXS DoorDash 250 at Sonoma is scheduled for 8:00 PM EST on Saturday, June 10. The race will be broadcasted on FS1, MRN, Sirius XM and available to stream on the FOX Sports app.
From the Driver’s Seat:
Sammy Smith: “I am excited to race Sonoma this weekend. It’s a hard course, but I enjoy the challenge of road courses. We need to put together a complete weekend this week to recover from Portland. I’ll get some laps in during the ARCA race on Friday that will be valuable for the Xfinity race. I know the guys built a great car for the weekend so we can put the No. 18 up front and hopefully in Victory Lane.”