Add Colby Howard to the growing list of full-time NASCAR Xfinity Series drivers in 2021. On Monday, JD Motorsports announced Howard will race for the team for the full season after running much of the 2020 schedule. He will drive the #15 Chevrolet Camaro.
“I cannot thank Johnny Davis and Gary Keller enough for the opportunity to run a full season in the NASCAR Xfinity Series next year,” said Howard. “What we were able to accomplish this season with limited track time was really impressive, and it just goes to show what this team is made of. I know that my crew has been working very hard since the season finale in Phoenix, and am confident that we will have a fun year. (New crew chief) Wayne Carroll has put together some fast cars, and I will rely heavily on him as I make this jump in my career. There is a lot to look forward to heading into 2021, and I am excited to continue to learn and develop my abilities on the race track.”
Following sporadic competition in the ARCA Menards and NASCAR Truck Series in 2018 and 2019, Howard joined JDM’s #15 for a limited Xfinity slate in 2020. After finishing thirty-fourth in his series début at Phoenix, the last race before the season was paused due to the pandemic, and two more finishes outside the top twenty, he rattled off four consecutive top twenties. Sharing the #15 with Robby Lyons, Ryan Vargas, Jeffrey Earnhardt, and Jesse Little, Howard would run the bulk of the schedule with twenty-two of the thirty-three races. Howard’s best finish was twelfth at Daytona, one of six top twenties. The #15, one of three JDM cars, finished thirty-first in the 2020 owners’ points.
In two career Truck starts in 2019, Howard’s best finish is twenty-first in his début at Phoenix. He scored top tens in all four of his ARCA starts in 2018 and 2019, where his highest placement also came in his maiden start (eighth at Salem).
Howard’s team-mates for 2021 have not been revealed. Little, who ran the full 2020 campaign priamrily in the #4, moved to B.J. McLeod Motorsports for 2021. Earnhardt, the team’s full-timer mainly in the #0, has not announced his plans. B.J. McLeod contested much of the season in the #6, but he is going Cup racing with his new Live Fast Motorsports team.
The nineteen-year-old Howard is the fifth driver to date to confirm a full-time Xfinity schedule in 2021 after not running every race the previous year. Fellow Chevrolet drivers A.J. Allmendinger, Jeb Burton, and Brett Moffitt are doing the same, as is Daniel Hemric in the Toyota camp.