JD Motorsports finalizing Xfinity Series lineup with return of Ross Chastain

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JD Motorsports will have Ross Chastain back in the fold in 2017 and are working on finalizing a deal with Garrett Smithley.

The organization announced Thursday afternoon that Chastain will embark on his third Xfinity Series season driving one of their Chevrolets while “99 percent sure” Smithley also will return. Team owner Johnny Davis said in a statement that the organization is working on funding and sponsorship for Smithley, who competed for Rookie of the Year and finished 18th in points.

Chastain finished 16th in the standings and will have Florida Watermelon Association return as a sponsor.

“Ross is a smart kid and an intelligent driver,” Davis said in a release. “We’re lucky to have him back with us next year. He brings a lot to the team, and he works with our guys really well. We’re looking to step up our program with him.”

The team’s third car is vacant as Ryan Preece has decided to move on to other opportunities. Preece also competed for Rookie of the Year honors and finished 17th in points.

Preece earned the organization’s only top-10 finish of the season with a 10th place at Darlington Raceway.

“We’re working hard every day on getting things ready for next year,” Davis said. “It’s a complicated process to get everything in line to compete at the highest levels of stock car racing. Hopefully, we’ll be set long before it’s time to head to Daytona Beach in February for the season opener.

“Our goal is to always have our teams and our drivers in a position to show the best marketability for everybody. We take a lot of pride in our cars and our sponsors and how we showcase the drivers and the companies that work with us.”