With the NASCAR Cup and Xfinity Series seasons right around the corner, MBM Motorsports added a pair of pals ahead of the Daytona 500 weekend. Garrett Smithley will drive the #13 Ford Mustang in the 500, while his close friend Robby Lyons has joined the team’s Xfinity programme in the #61 for the previous day’s Beef 300.
Smithley raced on a part-time basis across NASCAR’s three national series in 2020. The bulk of his starts came in the Cup Series as he ran twenty-six of thirty-six races for Rick Ware Racing, Spire Motorsports, B.J. McLeod Motorsports, and Tommy Baldwin Racing with a best finish of twenty-fourth at Indianapolis for RWR. For 2021, he will return to RWR for an expanded Cup slate. He also competed in five Xfinity races, the series that he ran full-time from 2016 to 2019, for SS-Green Light Racing in alliance with RWR and scored an eighth-place finish at Talladega in the fall.
While the 2021 Daytona 500 will be Smithley’s first time driving for MBM at the Cup level, he drove for them in the 2017 Xfinity race at Chicagoland and finished thirty-seventh. His lone Cup run at Daytona was a thirty-sixth on the road course in August for BJMM, while he has two top tens and a fifth (2018 opener) in the Xfinity Series’ races on the oval.
Timmy Hill will serve as his team-mate for the 500 in the #66. Neither car has a charter and will have to race their ways into the main event.
“Racing for a dream next week,” Smithley tweeted. “First attempt at the @DAYTONA 500. Incredible opportunity. These things don’t happen.”
Chad Finchum was initially scheduled to drive the #13 but was shuffled out of the ride due to funding. While he will not run the 500, he will still drive an MBM #13 car in the Xfinity race.
“MBM has done all we possibly can to make our team one of the best values in NASCAR. I even offer buy 1 get 1 xfinity/ cup deals for Daytona.. but some of the key companies behind Chad just were not able to spend the $ needed.. so, I had to make the decision to put someone else in cup car,” team owner Carl Long explained in a Facebook post on Tuesday. “I have several offers for the seat in xfinity as well, but turned them all down in order for Chad to develop the double Daytona race weekend. So with VERY limited sponsor $ , MBM will enter Chad in the Xfinity race..
“I realize you die hard fans of Chad think I am the devil, but if I did not bring in other sponsored drivers , Neither Chad or MBM would be at Daytona in the 13. This sport cost ALOT of $. So be thankful he gets to run 13 in xfinity with a great crew chief, Mark (Hillman), and an opportunity to race up front.”
The #13 was originally the #49 car, but was renumbered earlier in the week when Long’s request for it was approved by NASCAR. The number, which is one of the team’s staples and is prominent in the logo as it doubles as the letter “B”, became available after Germain Racing‘s shutdown.
For the Saturday race, Lyons will run his sixth career Xfinity race and first for MBM in the #61. He contested four races in 2020 for JD Motorsports (Smithley’s former NXS team) with a best finish of seventeenth in the Daytona opener; both of his two top-twenty finishes in the series were at superspeedways as he finished nineteenth at Talladega in the summer.
Lyons also has seventeen career Camping World Truck Series starts since 2017. While his best Truck finish is twelfth at Phoenix in his series debut, he scored a thirteenth-place run in the first race of 2018 at Daytona. In 2020, he ran five Truck races for Diversified Motorsports Enterprises with a highest placement of twentieth at Pocono.
“Roommates to teammates,” Lyons shared on Twitter. “If it wasn’t for @GarrettSmithley giving me a place to stay back in ‘14 when I raced Summer Shootout, getting me a job at the Petty Experience, and introducing me to Jay Robinson at Premium, it’s safe to say I would still be on a job site in FL.”
The #61 is typically fielded in alliance with Truck team Hattori Racing Enterprises, whose driver Austin Hill has also made sporadic Xfinity starts in the car. Hill, who won the Truck regular season championship in 2020, holds the car’s best finish of fifth at Kansas that year.