Next Sunday, Garrett Smithley will reportedly make his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Michigan International Speedway, where he will drive the #99 for StarCom Racing. No announcement from either party has been made, but news of the plan surfaced on Friday in reports from Jerry Jordan of KickinTheTires and Jim Utter of Motorsport.com.
Smithley currently competes in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, driving the #0 Chevrolet for JD Motorsports. After the first 11 races, he sits seventeenth in the points standings with two top tens (both at restrictor plate tracks) and a best finish of fifth at Daytona International Speedway. It is Smithley’s third full-time season in NASCAR’s second-tier series; in 76 career Xfinity races, he has four top tens and a highest championship finish of eighteenth in 2016.
In its second season of Cup racing and first as a full-time operation, StarCom Racing currently fields the #00 Chevrolet for Landon Cassill. After Jeffrey Earnhardt drove the car in the first five races, he and StarCom parted ways as Cassill took over at Martinsville Speedway. The former Front Row Motorsports driver eventually scored the team’s first top-twenty finish at Bristol Motor Speedway. Joey Gase raced the #00 at Talladega Superspeedway, where he finished twenty-seventh, before Cassill returned to the ride a week later. After 13 races, the #00 is thirty-fourth in the owner’s championship. In the driver’s standings, Cassill is also thirty-fourth after running seven races for StarCom.
At Dover International Speedway, team manager and 1990 Daytona 500 winner Derrike Cope debuted a second car for StarCom, the #99. Team owner StarCom Fiber had previously sponsored Cope during his part-time Cup schedule with Premium Motorsports in 2017 before starting the team late in the year with Cope as their first driver. Cope finished thirty-seventh in the race following a crash on lap 154. The #99 will return to the track for Sunday’s Pocono 400 at Pocono Raceway; Cope qualified thirty-eighth.
In two career Xfinity races at Michigan, Smithley finished seventeenth and twenty-ninth. In 2015, he finished fourteenth at the two-mile oval in the Camping World Truck Series.
The FireKeepers Casino 400 will take place on Sunday, 10 June.