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Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press

The student news site of Freehold Township High School

Patriot Press


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2024 NASCAR Silly Season Review – Part 2: NASCAR Xfinity Series


The biggest headlines of the NASCAR silly season came from the NASCAR Cup Series, with the ending of Kevin Harvick’s storied career (as well as the departure of Aric Almirola), the expansion of Spire Motorsports, and the return of Noah Gragson. However, the final step before the Cup Series, the Xfinity Series, also had some significant moves around the grid. New faces in new places, new faces in general, the return of fellow NASCAR veterans, and much more make up a new-look 2024 NASCAR Xfinity Series grid. Let’s take a look at all of the driver changes and what you need to know for this season. It’s going to be a long list!


2023 ARCA Menards Series champion Jesse Love joining Richard Childress Racing’s Xfinity Series program, replacing Sheldon Creed

Jesse Love’s dominant 2023 ARCA Menards Series season could be best described in two words: no contest. The driver out of Menlo Park, California won the series championship with ten victories and had two stretches of three consecutive and four consecutive wins throughout the season, while driving the #20 Toyota Camry for Venturini Motorsports. His worst finish all year was 27th in the second race of the year at Phoenix after being caught up in an accident. Nevertheless, a super dominant season for a driver with the middle name “Hammer”. However, 2024 is going to be significant for Jesse Love, arguably the most important one he will ever experience. He will bypass the Truck Series in favor of a fresh new Xfinity Series ride, a division he has barely any experience in. He is also switching from Toyota to the bowties at Chevrolet. Love will take over the vehicle Sheldon Creed was unable to score a victory in over two seasons, despite finishing second plenty of times and being in contention to win races. Can Jesse Hammer Love, Jr. right the wrongs of Creed and finally bring the red and white #2 Whelen Chevrolet to victory lane?


Dawson Cram attempting a full season with JD Motorsports, driving the #4 Chevrolet Camaro

One of the least talked about silly season moves in Xfinity, veteran NASCAR driver Dawson Cram will attempt the full season with Johnny Davis’s team, driving the #4 car. Cram, the Mooresville, North Carolina native, has made only twelve series starts over the course of four years. He is still only twenty-two years old, so there is still time for him to develop. Cram’s best series finish is a 19th, achieved at least year’s season finale at Phoenix. The JD Motorsports #4 machine was piloted by numerous drivers in 2023 following the release of Bayley Currey, with Kyle Weatherman and Garrett Smithley making up the majority of races. Despite the lack of Xfinity Series experience, Cram also brings in plenty of funding, and has a Truck Series resume to his credit. He also formerly owned a team in that series, Cram Racing Enterprises, that primarily raced in the 2020 season. How much will Cram be able to achieve with the equipment he has been given?


Anthony Alfredo leaving BJ McLeod Motorsports to reunite with OUR Motorsports; will pilot the #5 car

Ridgefield, Connecticut’s pride and joy Anthony Alfredo has been all around the NASCAR map ever since his debut. He raced in what is now known as the ARCA Menards East Series in 2018, scoring a win at South Boston that year while driving for MDM Motorsports. He was also a part of DGR-Crosley’s (now TRICON Garage) squad in 2019, driving part-time in the Truck Series for the team, and scored a best finish of 8th at Charlotte that season. In 2020, he ran part-time for Richard Childress Racing and finished as high as 3rd in the fall Texas race, but what people know him for most that season was his spectacular crash at the fall Kansas race that year which resulted in his car sliding down the banking upside-down. He shocked the NASCAR world by joining the Cup Series with Front Row Motorsports in 2021, replacing John Hunter Nemechek. However, he finished 30th in points with only one top ten at the rain-shortened fall Talladega race. He then came back to the Xfinity Series in 2022 with OUR Motorsports and finished 15th in points with a best finish of 5th at the Auto Club race. He moved to BJ McLeod Motorsports for last season and finished 20th in points, with a best finish of 8th occurring twice. However, Anthony will be getting a second shot in OUR Motorsports’ equipment, driving the brand new #5 Chevrolet Camaro with former Jordan Anderson Racing crew chief Josh Graham atop the pit box. Will this be the year Fast Pasta finally finds himself in the winners’ circle?


Patrick Emerling running 24 races for SS-Greenlight Racing in 2024

Fellow NASCAR Xfinity Series owner/driver Patrick Emerling will embark on another tour, but with a twist. The majority of those races will not be with his team, Emerling-Gase Motorsports. Instead, the Orchard Park, New York native will be taking his talents to former driver Bobby Dotter’s team, SS-Greenlight Racing. The #07 on the sides will be familiar to Emerling, as that is the number he primarily uses for when he goes racing in the Whelen Modified Tour. In fact, he is scheduled to run full-time in that series this season as well. While we have seen Denny Hamlin own a team that he does not drive for and pull things off successfully, can Patrick Emerling use that as a model to replicate this routine?


Ex-Joe Gibbs Racing driver Sammy Smith finds a new home with JR Motorsports in 2024

When Josh Berry announced that he was leaving JR Motorsports to replace Kevin Harvick in the Cup Series, some new questions arose around the NASCAR world. Who would become the fourth JR Motorsports driver next year to pair up with Justin Allgaier, Sam Mayer, and Brandon Jones? Candidates were flying around at the speed of light, but the debate was finally settled when former Joe Gibbs Racing driver Sammy Smith announced that he would become the new driver of the #8 Chevrolet Camaro for 2024. Smith, a talented short track racer, scored a win at Phoenix Raceway early last season and ended up finishing 6th in the points. He possibly would have gotten more wins if the bond between him and crew chief Jeff Meendring was stronger. However, 2024 is expected to see an improvement from the drive route of Johnston, Iowa. He will be bringing over sponsors such as TMC and Pilot/Flying J that have stuck with him since his part-time Xfinity role in 2022. In addition, Smith will be paired with former Hendrick Motorsports engineer Adam Wall as crew chief. It will definitely take patience, but Sammy Smith will do his best in making a run at the 2024 championship.


Josh Williams replaces Cup Series-bound Daniel Hemric at Kaulig Racing; will drive car #11

Casual fans might remember Josh Williams as the guy who was suspended for one race last season for parking his car at the start/finish line at Atlanta Motor Speedway and left unattended, as well as showing up to his very next race in a criminal-themed firesuit. These shenanigans were so popular that it ended up all over social media and even made it onto ESPN. However, you cannot go wrong with Williams’ consistency while in the car. While driving for DGM Racing over the years, he has notched a few top tens here and there. With Daniel Hemric leaving the Xfinity Series once again to replace Justin Haley in the Cup Series, Williams will be placed in some of the best equipment he has received since his ARCA Menards Series days. Like Sammy Smith, Williams will be paired with a first-year crew chief in Kevin Walter. Walter was a former engineer at, ironically, JR Motorsports. Williams will need to right Hemric’s wrongs in the #11, as the latter was unable to score a win with the team despite two seasons in that car. Can Williams rebound from the Atlanta incident and cross the finish line first this time?


Hailie Deegan to replace Brett Moffitt at AM Racing in 2024, driving the all-new #15 Ford Mustang

In 2023, Truck Series team AM Racing added an Xfinity Series team to their organization as well as a switch from Chevrolet to the blue ovals of Ford. While their Truck Series team fell off massively compared to recent years, all eyes were on their new Xfinity organization and Brett Moffitt behind the wheel. Despite a 15th place points finish and a best finish of 4th at the rain-shortened Chicago Street Race, as well as a win at Talladega in the Truck Series with Front Row Motorsports, he was unable to secure a second season with the team. Instead, AM Racing has called up female prospect Hailie Deegan from ThorSport Racing’s Truck Series team. Deegan, mostly known for her social media presence and the racing family she comes from, had a disastrous three seasons in the series despite being one of the most hyped female prospects of her time. She won two ARCA Menards Series West (Then known as K&N Pro Series West) races at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and Colorado National Speedway back in 2019 and went on to finish 3rd in points. She moved to the main ARCA Menards Series in 2020, where she finished 3rd in points again, despite not scoring a victory and finishing as runner-up on two occasions. Deegan moved to the Truck Series in 2021, but finished 17th, 21st, and 19th in each of her three seasons with a best race finish of 6th on two occasions as well. She also made one prior Xfinity Series start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2022 for SS-Greenlight Racing, where she finished an impressive 13th. Will the move from trucks to cars be a rightful one, or will it just result in another Danica Patrick situation from one of NASCAR’s most promising female prospects?

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