NASCAR: One race missing from Todd Gilliland’s schedule

Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)
Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images) /

Todd Gilliland is now set to compete for two teams throughout the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season, but only in 35 of 36 races.

Todd Gilliland was surprised to learn that he will not be competing full-time for Front Row Motorsports for a second consecutive NASCAR Cup Series season this year, with the team confirming a six-race Cup Series schedule for full-time Truck Series driver and reigning Truck Series champion Zane Smith behind the wheel of the No. 38 Ford.

So Gilliland, who is still set to drive the No. 38 Ford in all races except for those at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 12; Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 23; Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, May 28; Sonoma Raceway on Sunday, June 11; Texas Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 24; and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval on Sunday, October 8, began searching for new rides to retain his role as a full-time driver.

It didn’t take long for the 22-year-old Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native to land a deal to compete for Rick Ware Racing behind the wheel of the No. 15 Ford, though that new deal is only for five of those six races, keeping him one race shy of that full-time status.

He is once again set to compete at Phoenix Raceway, Charlotte Motor Speedway, Sonoma Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway, and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

But Talladega Superspeedway is still missing from Todd Gilliland’s 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

The primary reason behind Rick Ware Racing not adding him for this race as well is the fact that they have already announced Riley Herbst as the driver of the No. 15 Ford for the superspeedway races.

Considering the fact that NASCAR generally doesn’t grant playoff waivers for anything other than health reasons or emergencies, Gilliland likely needs to compete in this race to retain playoff eligibility.

But considering the fact that the race is more than two months away and it is the site of Gilliland’s best ever Cup Series oval race finish (seventh place, October 2022), it is hard to imagine that he won’t end up landing the opportunity to compete in it with another organization.

Aside from the No. 38 Ford and the No. 15 Ford, there is still a shared another chartered entry, that being the No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Chevrolet.

Live Fast Motorsports is owned by B.J. McLeod and former Front Row Motorsports driver Matt Tifft, and they haven’t yet confirmed a driver for this race. Could Gilliland end up driving all three shared chartered entries this year?

Additionally, superspeedway races tend to attract more non-chartered entries than regular oval races, so even if Gilliland doesn’t end up in the No. 78 Chevrolet, he could still land elsewhere.

When you think about it, Front Row Motorsports might even be somewhat of a logical option to field a third car. They are, after all, are fielding a third entry for Smith for the Daytona 500, though it may seem somewhat counterproductive to add an entry for a driver they just replaced.

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Nevertheless, they could still field the No. 36 Ford for Gilliland at Talladega Superspeedway, especially since it could technically end up being the difference between him qualifying for the playoffs or missing out.