NASCAR: When does Front Row Motorsports’ lineup change?

Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

Zane Smith made his Daytona 500 debut with Front Row Motorsports on Sunday, and it won’t be long until he returns to the NASCAR Cup Series.

Last summer, when it was announced that Zane Smith had signed a contract extension with Front Row Motorsports to continue competing full-time for the team in the NASCAR Truck Series, it was also announced that he would compete in the 2023 Cup Series season-opening Daytona 500.

Smith, who made his Cup Series debut last June with RFK Racing at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway, wasn’t locked into the Daytona 500, as his No. 36 Ford is not a chartered entry. But he raced his way in, started 17th, and had a solid and relatively uneventful run to 13th.

Before the race, Front Row Motorsports had announced an expanded role for the 23-year-old Huntington Beach, California native for the 2023 season, confirming that he would compete in several additional Cup Series races.

However, they confirmed that Zane Smith would not be behind the wheel of the No. 36 Front Row Motorsports Ford for these NASCAR Cup Series events.

Todd Gilliland was set to return to the Bob Jenkins-owned team for a second full season behind the wheel of the No. 38 Ford in 2023, but it was confirmed that Smith would be replacing him in these select races.

Smith won’t be back for this Sunday afternoon’s race at Auto Club Speedway or even next Sunday afternoon’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, but he is set to make his third career Cup Series start, his second start of the year, and his first behind the wheel of the No. 38 Ford at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, March 12.

His six-race schedule behind the wheel of the chartered car also includes the races at 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.

Smith still competes full-time in the Truck Series as reigning champion. He won the season opener at Daytona International Speedway on Friday night, doing so for the second straight year behind the wheel of the team’s No. 38 truck.

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Gilliland himself could still end up competing full-time, as he is set to compete for Rick Ware Racing behind the wheel of the No. 15 Ford in five of the six races in which Smith is set to drive the No. 38 Ford. He still needs to find a ride for the race at Talladega Superspeedway to solidify his playoff eligibility.