Story By: TRISHA WESTFALL / SAM HUNT RACING – MOORESVILLE, NC – New Hampshire standout Derek Griffith will make his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut this weekend, April 2, at Richmond Raceway in Virginia. Griffith will sit behind the wheel of the No. 26 Toyota GR Supra for Sam Hunt Racing in his first of multiple starts for the team in 2022.
In 2021, Griffith made his NASCAR Camping World Truck Series debut at Gateway Motorsports Park. Additionally, he has 10 ARCA Menards Series starts, where he collected three top-five and eight top-10 finishes. Griffith also has experience with the .75-mile Virginia short track of Richmond, where he competed in the Pro All-Star Series Inaugural Commonwealth Classic — a 75-lap Super Late Model event that was held at the track in 2019. He finished 7th in the race.
Griffith, who began his racing career at the age of 12, became a quick study of some of his local short- tracks in New England, including Hudson Speedway, capturing checkered flags early in his career. He is a multi-time champion of New Smyrna Speedway’s World Series of Asphalt Stock Car Racing, is a Pro All Star Series National Division Champion, former member of the Kulwicki Driver Development Program and a former top-pick in the Speed51 — now known as Racing America — Short Track Draft.
The Toyota Care 250 at Richmond will mark Griffith’s second NASCAR National Touring Series start. Sam Hunt Racing recorded its highest career finish at Richmond Raceway in 2021 — the team’s home track, where John Hunter Nemechek drove to a third-place finish.
“I’m pumped. It fits into my wheelhouse perfectly. It’s the home-track for Sam Hunt Racing, and it’s a short-track, which makes it almost like a double-whammy for us,” Griffith said. “I’ve run at Richmond before in the Super Late Model and we had a good run. Working with everyone at Sam Hunt Racing has been awesome. We had the opportunity to visit with the team in Las Vegas and I feel like seeing how everything works and that experience as a whole is going to help us right away.”
“Richmond is and will always be an extremely special place for me,” Sam Hunt, team owner, said. “Not only is it home, but our third-place finish there in 2021 marks the highest finish for SHR to date. Heading there with a rookie — Derek Griffith making his first career start — is different, but still equally as special for me. I have no doubt in my mind that he will quickly learn these cars and be a competitive force by the end of the race. Anytime we get to compete in front of our friends, family, and fanbase is really special.”
NASCAR Xfinity Series race day begins with practice at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, directly followed by qualifying. The green flag for the Toyota Care 250 is set for 1:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon. The race is 250 laps and will air live on Fox Sports 1, Motor Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Channel 90.