For the next 20 days, we’ll take a look at 20 drivers who we expect to break out in the 2020 racing season. Check out all of our 20 in ’20 posts right here!
WHO: NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series driver #21, GMS Racing
2019 RESULTS: 25th, NASCAR Xfinity Series, 322 points; 10 starts, 2 top-5s, 7 top-10s
62nd, NASCAR K&N Pro Series West; 1 start, best finish 21st
WHY HE’S ON THE LIST: Joining a list of talented young drivers with off-road connections (such as Sheldon Creed and Riley Herbst) in NASCAR, Smith went from a four-win season and second in points in the ARCA Menards Series in 2018 to a 10-race seat with JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. Despite the pressure of being one of the first drivers to help Dale Earnhardt Jr. bring back his famous #8, and kicking off his program with a late-race crash in Las Vegas, Smith righted the ship the next time out with an 11th place run in Bristol, scored his first top-10 at Richmond, and ended the season on a high note with a fifth place run in Phoenix.
After rumors of joining GMS Racing for a full Truck schedule last year didn’t pan out, Smith was able to join the team for 2020 and will take over the #21 as he runs for Rookie of the Year. Smith’s consistent runs in good equipment at the Xfinity level, and challenge for the ARCA title, have proven that he’s capable of running for a title with a full season program. With GMS a perennial championship threat in the series, this has all the makings of a winning combination for next year.