Joe Gibbs Racing resets with William Sawalich for ARCA program in 2024, adds Tanner Gray

Joe Gibbs Racing is running it back with its ARCA platform champion in 2024.

The organization announced Wednesday that William Sawalich, the 17-year-old who won the 2023 ARCA Menards Series East championship driving JGR’s No. 18 Toyota Camry, will be its primary ARCA driver again in 2024.

Sawalich will race for JGR in all but six ARCA Menards Series (national) races in 2024, as he is not yet old enough to run the full schedule. The team has tabbed NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series driver Tanner Gray to compete in the six races Sawalich can’t run — Daytona International Speedway (Feb. 17), Talladega Superspeedway (April 20), Kansas Speedway (May 4 and Sept. 27), Charlotte Motor Speedway (May 24) and Michigan International Speedway (Aug. 16).

Sawalich also will run the full 2024 ARCA Menards Series East schedule in an attempt to defend his title.

RELATED: See the 2024 ARCA Menards Series schedule

William Sawalich
ARCA president Ron Drager presents William Sawalich his 2023 ARCA Menards Series East championship ring on stage during the 2023 NASCAR Awards at Nashville’s Music City Center on Nov. 28, 2023. (Photo: Chris Graythen/Getty Images)

JGR announced its ARCA program plans Wednesday in conjunction with its NASCAR Xfinity Series program lineup.

Sawalich, from Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is one of several rotating part-time drivers who will JGR’s Xfinity seats in 2024. Following his 18th birthday on Oct. 3, Sawalich will make his Xfinity Series debut at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 26 in addition to starts at Martinsville Speedway (Nov. 2) and Phoenix Raceway (Nov. 9) to complete the season.

The team’s Xfinity Series lineup will be headlined by Sheldon Creed driving the No. 18 GR Supra and Chandler Smith piloting the No. 81 GR Supra. Aric Almirola and John Hunter Nemechek will split driving duties of the team’s No. 20 entry, while the No. 19 GR Supra will be driven by Ryan Truex, Sawalich, Joe Graf Jr. and Taylor Gray.

William Sawalich
William Sawalich in action during the Desert Diamond Casino West Valley 100 for the ARCA Menards Series West at Phoenix Raceway on Nov. 3, 2023. (Photo: Zac BonDurant/ARCA Racing)

“Over the last couple of months, we’ve been working diligently to put together our 2024 Xfinity program, which will include the addition of a fourth team,” said Steve DeSouza, EVP NASCAR Xfinity Series/Development at JGR. “Our 2024 roster has a great balance of experience, youth, wisdom and talent. We believe the veteran drivers will continually benchmark our program, compliment and challenge each other, as well as assist our younger drivers to further develop their skill sets.

“We are also excited about our crew chiefs and the teams they have assembled. We take a lot of pride in not only our program’s on-track success, but also in the opportunity to develop and promote our team members.”

Sawalich last season won the East Series championship for JGR on the strength of four wins in eight races. He logged top-five finishes in all eight of those events and led a series-high 758 of 1,388 laps. He took the title by 53 points over second-place Luke Fenhaus.

Tanner Gray has 15 ARCA races under his belt from 2019-21, when he earned three top-five finishes, nine top 10s and one General Tire Pole Award. He will also compete full time in the Truck Series for TRICON Garage in 2024.