Chandler Smith to join Sam Hunt Racing for 3 Xfinity races

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Chandler Smith will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Talladega Superspeedway with Sam Hunt Racing, the team announced Thursday.

Smith, a full-time driver for Kyle Busch Motorsports in the Camping World Truck Series, will pilot the No. 26 Toyota in three Xfinity races, joining Sam Hunt Racing at Talladega, Dover Motor Speedway and Homestead-Miami Speedway. Smith won two Truck races in 2021, including the season finale at Phoenix, in addition to winning at Las Vegas on March 4.

“It’s definitely going to be exciting,” Smith said in a press release. “The experience just being able to come up and do a longer race and have more pit stops with a different car instead of a truck is going to be all in all a lot different than what I’m accustomed to. I’m really looking forward to the challenge.”

Smith will make his 44th start in the Truck Series on Saturday evening at Bristol dirt. His first start came in 2019, the same year Sam Hunt Racing made its inaugural start in the Xfinity season finale at Homestead.

“It’s big for me to join Sam’s team,” Smith said. “(Sam Hunt Racing) is still kind of a smaller team. They are still learning a lot and in their baby years, and I feel like I may have a little bit to bring to the table myself to help them excel and to bring a new aspect to the team. Hopefully I can be an asset and help a little bit with their development and growth. I can’t wait to be a small part of this team’s huge success as it continues to grow.”

Smith is the sixth driver announced to drive the No. 26 this season and will have backing from sponsor Charge Me, a company providing off-grid charging solutions powered by clean fuels like propane and natural gas to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from everyday commuting, according to the press release. Others wheeling the car this year include Smith’s KBM teammate John Hunter Nemechek, Ryan Truex, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Parker Chase and Derek Griffith.

“Our entire organization is excited to add Chandler to our roster,” team owner Sam Hunt said in the release. “His ability speaks for itself and it will be fun to begin his transition from the Truck series into the Xfinity series here at (Sam Hunt Racing). These races will serve as a great opportunity for him to learn these cars, how they drive, and how the races flow at this level. Seeing his success in the truck series, there’s no reason he can’t be competitive out of the gate with us. Our spotter, Chris Lambert, works with Chandler at KBM, making this transition even simpler.”