NASCAR has landed another full-time driver for 2023

Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports
Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR - Mandatory Credit: Mike Dinovo-USA TODAY Sports /

Todd Gilliland went from being a full-time driver to not being a full-time driver to back to being a full-time driver for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

The full-time driver count for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season has officially increased by one to 34, as a driver who was once set to compete full-time, before his team replaced him for select races, is again set to do so.

Todd Gilliland was set to return for his second season behind the wheel of the No. 38 Front Row Motorsports Ford this year, but shortly before the season began, it was announced that he would no longer be driving the car full-time.

Zane Smith, the reigning Truck Series champion who still competes full-time in the Truck Series for Bob Jenkins’ organization, is set to drive the No. 38 Ford in six races.

He is set to replace Gilliland in the races 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.

After getting the news, Gilliland immediately began searching for new rides, and he quickly got one, signing with Rick Ware Racing to drive the No. 15 Ford in five of those six races.

Still missing from his schedule was the race at Talladega Superspeedway, as Rick Ware Racing had already confirmed Riley Herbst as the driver of the No. 15 Ford for this race.

Now Todd Gilliland has a ride for that NASCAR Cup Series race as well.

As a result, he is once again playoff eligible since he is set to compete in all 36 races on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule.

Ironically, Gilliland is set to compete for Front Row Motorsports in this race. As they did for Smith in the Daytona 500, they are set to add a third car, a non-chartered entry, for Gilliland to compete in this race.

Because the No. 36 Ford is not a chartered entry, Gilliland would need to successfully qualify for the race to get a spot in the field if there end up being more than 40 cars on the entry list.

Of the sport’s 34 full-time drivers, only Gilliland is set to compete for multiple teams throughout the 2023 season. In addition to the No. 38 Ford and the No. 15 Ford, the only shared chartered entry is the No. 78 Live Fast Motorsports Chevrolet.

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Through two races this season, Gilliland sits in 21st place in the point standings with finishes of 27th and 17th.