A trio of NASCAR teams spent their Wednesday announcing part-time drivers. For Rick Ware Racing, they revealed Garrett Smithley will return to the team’s Cup Series stable on a limited basis. In the Xfinity Series, Andy Lally and Ty Dillon have respectively been added to Our Motorsports and Joe Gibbs Racing‘s rosters beginning at Daytona, with Lally running the road course and Dillon on a four-race calendar.
After débuting in the Cup Series in 2018, Smithley began racing for RWR the following year. His 2020 schedule saw him run twenty-six Cup races for RWR, Spire Motorsports, B.J. McLeod Motorsports, and Tommy Baldwin Racing with a best finish of twenty-fourth at Indianapolis.
The Pennsylvania native raced full-time in the Xfinity Series from 2016 to 2019 for JD Motorsports, racking up four top tens and a best run of fifth at Daytona in 2018. In 2020, he ran five Xfinity races for SS-Green Light Racing in alliance with RWR, scoring an eighth at Talladega in the fall. Although his Cup slate greatly outnumbered his Xfinity schedule, he switched to receiving the latter’s points midseason.
“I’m incredibly excited to be back with RWR. We really had a great year last year, and honestly raced a lot more than I was planning to, which is always a good sign,” Smithley stated. “Rick has given me some amazing opportunities throughout the year, and I’m excited to capitalize on this one in 2021.”
Smithley’s 2021 calendar, including his number, was not immediately released. RWR is fielding the #51 and #52 for Cody Ware and Josh Bilicki on full-time bases, respectively, while Derrike Cope and Joey Gase will be in the #15 and #53 for the Daytona 500 but are on part-time schedules.
“We are really excited to have Garrett back in our cars after a memorable 2020 season,” team owner Rick Ware added. “We plan on building on the chemistry Garrett and the team gained after some great runs last year.”
At the Xfinity level, Lally will drive the #03 Chevrolet Camaro for Our in the series’ second race on the Daytona road course; the #03, new for 2021, will be driven by 2018 champion Tyler Reddick in the opener on Daytona’s oval. Lally, a sports car veteran and 2011 Cup Series Rookie of the Year who has become an Xfinity road course ringer, ran the Road America and Daytona RC races for Our in 2020. He finished both in fifth, tied for the team’s best finish in their inaugural season.
“After back-to-back top-5 finishes last year, I can’t tell you how excited I am to have another opportunity with Chris Our and the Our Motorsports crew,” Lally said. “Daytona will be one of the first times I’ve ever gone back to the same track with the same team where we can build on the prior race’s experience and set up. We had a very good car there last year and we will work to make it a great car this year.”
Lally is no stranger to the Daytona RC as a five-time class winner in the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona. He is also one of fourteen drivers in the 2021 Rolex 24 grid with some type of NASCAR experience.
“We want to come out of the gate strong to start the season,” Our commented. “With Moffitt in the #02 and Reddick and Lally kicking off the season in the #03, we’re in a good position to make a statement in Daytona.”
Meanwhile in the Toyota camp, Dillon prepares for his first time racing in a manufacturer that is not Chevrolet. The grandson of Richard Childress, Dillon spent his entire NASCAR career with Chevy and Richard Childress Racing and their satellite teams, but lost his full-time seat at Germain Racing when the team folded after the 2020 Cup season.
Dillon eventually found his footing at Toyota, and announced last week that he will run the Daytona 500 for Gaunt Brothers Racing. His Xfinity schedule with JGR in the #54 Toyota Supra will begin with the Daytona oval, followed by Homestead, Las Vegas, and Talladega.
“I am so thankful and excited for the opportunity to drive for Joe Gibbs Racing and Toyota,” said Dillon. “They have been on top of the sport for a long time and this is a great opportunity for me to go prove that I am a winner and show what I know I can do in a race car.”
Before migrating to the Cup Series in 2017, Dillon spent three full seasons in the Xfinity Series, scoring a win at Indianapolis in 2014 and a best points finish of third in 2015. He also has three career wins in the Truck Series.
“Ty Dillon is going to be a great addition to our Xfinity lineup,” JGR Executive Vice President of Xfinity Series and Development Steve de Souza stated. “Ty has a lot of experience across the board and that will definitely be an asset to our whole group as we get going this season.”
Dillon will share the #54 with a fellow Ty in Ty Gibbs, who was announced as a driver on Tuesday, and JGR’s Cup drivers Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, and Martin Truex Jr. Busch, the winningest driver in Xfinity history, will race at Atlanta, Circuit of the Americas, Texas, Nashville, and Road America. Hamlin, fresh off a Championship Round appearance, will once again do a one-off start at Darlington in the fall. Truex, a two-time Xfinity champion, will race at Atlanta 2 in his first NXS race since 2010.