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Chandler Smith expected to sign with Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity program

Update: 8:20 ET: Sportsnaut is now being told that the buyout contract is close to being done but not official but once the buyout is approved, Smith is expected to sign with the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series team. The headline has also been changed to reflect this update.  


Chandler Smith will leave Kaulig Racing at the end of the year to join the Joe Gibbs Racing Xfinity Series program for the 2024 season sources tell Sportsnaut.

Smith, who currently drives the No. 16 for the Matt Kaulig-owned team, is currently one of the remaining eight contenders in the Xfinity Series playoffs and is 15 points below the elimination cutoff with races at Homestead-Miami Speedway and Martinsville Speedway remaining.

Smith has won once this season, at Richmond Raceway in April, and has 12 top-10s and eight top-5s in 30 starts.

Sportsnaut first reported the interest in Smith from Joe Gibbs Racing but also detailed that such a move would require a buyout as the two parties had two additional years remaining on a contract signed last autumn.

Smith indeed was required to pay the buyout and did so in order to facilitate the move to Gibbs for next season. Smith is expected to visit Joe Gibbs Racing on Monday for the official announcement, seat fitting, and media opportunities.

Sportsnaut does not currently know the buyout terms between Smith and Kaulig.

The Smith camp wasn’t keen on the idea of a buyout purely from the standpoint that they felt Kaulig was only able to sign the driver with Toyota’s blessing after a five-year stint in which they raced Late Models, ARCA, and Trucks together.

Kaulig Racing president Chris Rice told Sportsnaut on the Sunday before the Cup race at the Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL that the two sides had a contractual agreement and the team was hoping to continue to build on a successful first season.

At Gibbs, Smith would be the designated first backup driver should Cup contenders Denny Hamlin, Martin Truex Jr, Christopher Bell, or Ty Gibbs miss any time for whatever reason. While also not official, the expectation is that Smith will be paired with Sheldon Creed at the Gibbs Xfinity Series team next season, with numbers and sponsorships to be announced at a later date.

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Matt Weaver is a Motorsports Insider for Sportsnaut. Follow him on Twitter.

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