JGR adds 2 more drivers for the NXS No. 19 Toyota, details and why the loss of Brandon Jones is forcing this

Joe Gibbs Racing made it clear that they’ll have a cast of drivers in the No. 19 Toyota for them in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2023. That’s because of with Jones deparing and taking his sponsor, Menards, with him, it left JGR with a massive hole that they needed to fill.

Don’t discredit the fact that Mars Inc. left on the Cup side and that Monster Energy is moving up with Ty Gibbs to Cup too, that it leaves two huge sponsors voided on the NXS side. So while some fans may be wondering who these drivers below are, it’s because they bring funding to fill that gap.

We already knew that Ryan Truex would be in it for six races. Now, we know two more drivers and because of what I just said above, why they’re named.

On Wednesday, it was announced that Joe Graf Jr. would be in it for five races throughout the season.

Graf will make his JGR debut in the No. 19 Toyota GR Supra at Auto Club Speedway on February 25th. He’ll be back in the car the next week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway on March 4th and run the third race of his JGR schedule at Richmond Raceway on April 1st.  

The former ARCA Menards Series winner will return to JGR at the Magic Mile of New Hampshire Motor Speedway on July 15 and finish up his JGR schedule in the Midwest at Kansas Speedway on September 9.  

“Joe (Graf) is committed to success, which is something we are looking for in all of our drivers,” said Steve DeSouza ,Executive Vice President of NXS and Development. “We are anticipating a solid season from the No. 19 team and Joe’s addition to the driver lineup will help that team be competitive for the owner’s championship this season.”  

The 2023 season will be Graf’s fourth season in Xfinity Series competition. Graf also announced a 28-race schedule with RSS Racing that keeps him in a Xfinity ride for the totality of the 2023 season. Graf posted a career-best finish of eighth in 2022 at Talladega Superspeedway in April. The 24-year-old ran well in his years in the ARCA Menards Series (AMS) with one win and consistent top-10 finishes.  

“Running five races with JGR is a fantastic opportunity for myself and for my marketing partners,” added Graf Jr., “I think I can learn a lot from JGR and showcase my skills I’ve been growing in the series in the past three years. 2023 is shaping up to be a great year and I’m pumped to get started with the No. 19 group.” 

CoverSeal® and G-Coin will continue their partnerships with Graf in his new endeavor at JGR this season.  

That’s 11 races sold. 3 more will go with Connor Mosack. The 23-year-old Charlotte native will run 20 races for Sam Hunt Racing and the other 13 at JGR.

His races are July 1 at the Chicago Street Course, July 22 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway and July 29 at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin – while also competing for JGR in six ARCA Menards Series races. Mosack’s ARCA schedule begins Feb. 18 at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway and then continues May 6 at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, May 26 at Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway, July 21 at Pocono, Aug. 4 at Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn and Sept. 8 in the series’ second trip to Kansas.

Amid these added events is a return to Mosack’s roots. He will drive a Super Late Model in the World Series of Asphalt Feb. 10-18 at New Smyrna (Fla.) Speedway for team owner Jamie Yelton. Mosack will then revisit the Trans Am Series presented by Pirelli on Feb. 26 when he drives for TeamSLR in the TA2 division’s season opener at Sebring (Fla.) International Raceway.

Mosack ran the full CARS Tour in 2020 and promptly won its rookie-of-the-year title. He then augmented his Late Model schedule that year with four Trans Am races before committing to the full TA2 schedule in 2021 and 2022. In those two seasons with TeamSLR, Mosack never finished outside of the top-four in the championship standings, scoring two wins and earning five poles. When he wasn’t turning left and right in Trans Am, Mosack was getting more oval experience in ARCA. In 13 career ARCA starts, Mosack scored nine top-10s, eight of which were on ovals. His best finishes came on successive weekends last June – second on June 4 at Portland (Ore.) International Raceway (road course) and third on June 11 at Iowa Speedway in Newton (oval).

“I made my Xfinity Series debut with JGR last June at Portland and from the moment I made my first lap in their racecar, I realized why they’ve been so successful,” Mosack said. “Their equipment was second to none and the resources they had in terms of people and their knowledge was incredible.

“Jason Ratcliff was my crew chief at Portland and he’s got a ton of experience. I was able to learn from him before we even went to the track. Just in our time in the simulator, we made some great changes. So, to be back with him for three Xfinity races is going to be really valuable.

“And when it comes to JGR’s ARCA program, it’s the class of the field. After having to race against JGR cars, I’m really looking forward to racing with a JGR car. No matter what track they were on, they were always up front competing for wins. To have that chance in 2023 is pretty special, and I aim to make the most of it.”

When the 2023 racing season concludes, Mosack will have competed in more than 40 races, with 23 of them being in the Xfinity Series, the stepping-stone division to the elite NASCAR Cup Series.

“I’ve learned the more seat time you can get, the more you learn and the faster you learn,” Mosack said. “I’ve spent the last two years racing fulltime in Trans Am and running a decent amount of ARCA and Late Model races. It got me prepared to make my NASCAR Xfinity and Truck Series debuts last summer, and that’s led to these opportunities with Sam Hunt Racing and Joe Gibbs Racing. It’ll be the most racing I’ve ever done in a single season, and I’m genuinely stoked about it. This is what I want and NASCAR is where I want to be.”

You could say Mosack is making up for lost time. He didn’t start racing until he was 18, bucking the trend of drivers who begin their careers at age four or five in go-karts. Instead, Mosack enjoyed a well-rounded and worldly childhood. He played football and lacrosse in middle school and high school, and volunteered with Open Eyes on a mission trip to Rwanda and Uganda in 2017. It wasn’t until his senior year in high school that Mosack was introduced to Legends cars. As soon as he sat behind the wheel, Mosack knew it was where he belonged. After winning five Legends car championships, Mosack transitioned to Late Model stock cars in 2019. All the while, Mosack balanced racing with school, graduating from High Point (N.C.) University in 2021 with a degree in business entrepreneurship. This past November, Mosack was honored with the university’s Ten Under Ten Young Alumni Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement in a graduate’s chosen profession.

“Growing up, I’ve always been into cars, but I never really thought racing was something realistic for me. I didn’t know anybody in the sport, and nobody in my family had ever raced. I didn’t know that anybody could just show up at a local racetrack and rent somebody’s car, or buy their own racecar and go out there and run it. So when that was introduced to me, I thought it was really cool and I got a little taste of it, and that’s when I really fell in love with it. Once we knew that was an option, we decided to pursue it to see where it could go,” Mosack said.

“The first year I ever drove something was really just a blur, and I really didn’t know much. Year two, we started to kind of get the hang of things and understand where we could go and what it would take. We’ve been kind of building on that ever since.”

Mosack’s 20-race Xfinity Series schedule with Sam Hunt Racing begins March 11 at Phoenix Raceway.

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