NASCAR Next driver Zane Smith will run eight Xfinity Series races in the No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevy in 2019, starting March 2 in Las Vegas.
Smith, 19, will make his series debut in the Chevy which Tyler Reddick drove to JRM’s second straight championship in 2018. With Reddick moving to Richard Childress Racing, JRM plans to run the full season with multiple drivers in the car. The driver lineup, along with the team’s crew chief, will be announced at a later date.
“Zane is going to be an important part of the lineup for the No. 9 team next year,” said Dale Earnhardt Jr. “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.”
The rest of Smith’s schedule will be Bristol (April 6), Richmond (April 12 and Sept. 20), Dover (May 4 and Oct. 5) and Iowa (June 16 and July 27).
Smith most recently competed in the ARCA Racing Series where he won four races in 20 starts. He finished second in the overall point standings on the strength of 13 top-10 finishes and 391 laps led. In June, Smith made his debut in the Truck Series driving for David Gilliland, finishing fifth at Gateway.
Support for his first race will be from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas.
“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.”
“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.”