After running a combined twenty-one NASCAR national series races in 2021, James Davison is back behind a stock car cockpit for the first time in over a year. He will drive the #18 Toyota GR Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing in the Xfinity Series at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on Saturday, marking his maiden start of 2022.
Despite being a regular face in the Cup Series in 2020 and 2021, making a combined thirty-five starts for Spire Motorsports, Rick Ware Racing, and MBM Motorsports including twenty in the latter, Davison did not return to RWR as the team downscaled to two cars and opted for other names in the multi-driver #15 while Spire committed to their own roster for the #77 and MBM has only has their Xfinity drivers make the occasional Cup start. In the meantime, he finished third in the GTD class at the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona, driving a Mercedes-AMG GT3 alongside Scott Andrews, Stevan McAleer, and Mike Skeen for Gilbert Korthoff Motorsports; it marked Davison’s first IMSA start since 2017.
In April, he returned to his native Australia to compete in the S5000 Australian Drivers’ Championship at Melbourne. After retiring from the first two races, he finished eleventh in the third and final event. While Davison’s résumé is loaded with sports car and stock car racing, he has a background in open-wheel competition which included a runner-up championship finish in Indy Lights in 2009 and racing the Indianapolis 500 from 2014 to 2020.
“PUT ME BACK IN COACH! Excited to reunite with Joe Gibbs Racing and pick up where we left off,” posted Davison on social media.
Davison ran three Xfinity races for JGR in 2017 and 2018 as a road course ringer, scoring a fourth at Mid-Ohio in the first year and eighth at Road America the latter. Although he crashed out of the 2017 Road America event, he led a race-high eleven laps.
He made his Xfinity début in 2016 for what is now DGM Racing, finishing nineteenth at Road America. Five years later, his most recent start in the series took place at Indianapolis with B.J. McLeod Motorsports as he placed eighteenth. While Saturday will see his first try at the Roval in the Xfinity Series, he finished twenty-ninth in the 2020 Cup race with RWR. His road course prowess also generated wins at COTA and the Chicago Street Course, the latter being the final eNASCAR iRacing Pro Invitational Series race last year.
The JGR #18 is ninth in owner points with eight other drivers also making at least one start: Trevor Bayne, Christopher Bell, Drew Dollar, Connor Mosack, John Hunter Nemechek, Sammy Smith, Ryan Truex, and Bubba Wallace. After twenty-eight races, the car has twelve top tens and seven top fives, including four of the latter by Bayne.