Zane Smith has become a real threat in the NASCAR Truck Series, making him an under the radar driver to watch during silly season.
Several NASCAR Cup Series teams have announced future plans for their drivers, officially beginning this year’s silly season.
After months of rumors and speculation, Joe Gibbs Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. officially announced his plans to return to the #19 Toyota next year. Earlier on the same day, JTG Daugherty Racing and driver Ricky Stenhouse Jr. announced a multi-year deal to keep Stenhouse in the #47 Chevrolet.
Silly season typically features some kind of domino effect, with the occasional unexpected move taking place. Brad Keselowski’s departure from Team Penske to take ownership in then-Roush Fenway Racing last year serves as a great example.
In the Truck Series, Front Row Motorsports’ Zane Smith has proven his worth, making him an under the radar candidate for teams to take a look at.
Smith made his Cup Series debut earlier this season, filling in for RFK Racing’s Chris Buescher at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. He finished in 17th place, which is no small feat for a driver with limited time to prepare after it was announced that Buescher would miss the race due to COVID-19 protocols.
With a proven record in the Truck Series and a promising start in the Cup Series, here are three possible landing spots for Smith in 2023.
Possible Zane Smith landing spots: No. 3 – Stewart-Haas Racing
Keeping Smith in the Ford program would be huge, as he switched manufacturers by jumping from GMS Racing to Front Row Motorsports this past offseason. If the 23-year-old Huntington Beach, California native is looking to move up in the ranks of NASCAR, Stewart-Haas Racing seems like a perfect fit.
The #10 Ford remains open in their Cup Series program, with Aric Almirola having already announced his plans to retire at the end of the 2022 season. In the Xfinity Series, the #98 Ford’s future remains a mystery. Riley Herbst currently drives the car, but his status for 2023 is unknown.
Additionally, Herbst has no NASCAR wins to his name, versus Smith’s six Truck Series wins. Smith could serve as a replacement to Herbst, and he would be a threat to compete for the Xfinity Series championship, regaining the past success which the team saw with Cole Custer and Chase Briscoe.