NASCAR: Driver lineup change for Phoenix Cup race

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

A full-time driver is in a different car and with a different team for Sunday afternoon’s NASCAR Cup Series race at Phoenix Raceway.

The fourth race of the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season is scheduled to take place this Sunday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway, and there is a significant driver change to make note of before that race gets underway.

Everybody knows by now that Chase Elliott is still out with a fractured tibia and Josh Berry is filling in for him behind the wheel of the No. 9 Chevrolet at Hendrick Motorsports. But there has been another change involving a full-time driver elsewhere in the garage.

Just before the 2023 season began, Todd Gilliland was informed that he would no longer be driving the No. 38 Ford full-time for Front Row Motorsports this year and that Zane Smith, the reigning Truck Series champion who continues to compete full-time for the team in that series, would be filling in for him.

Smith, who competed in a third Front Row Motorsports entry in the Daytona 500, is set to drive the No. 38 Ford in six races, starting with this Sunday’s 312-lap race around the four-turn, 1.058-mile (1.703-kilometer) Avondale, Arizona oval.

Smith is also set to replace Gilliland in 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.

But Todd Gilliland is still set to compete in this Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series race.

The 22-year-old Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native landed a deal with Rick Ware Racing to drive the No. 15 Ford in five of the six races listed above, including Sunday afternoon’s United Rentals Work United 500.

While his new deal with Rick Ware Racing doesn’t cover all six races, he is still set to maintain his status as a full-time driver, as Front Row Motorsports have re-added him to their lineup for the race at Talladega Superspeedway by confirming a third entry.

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Tune in to Fox at 3:30 p.m. ET this Sunday, March 12 for the live broadcast of the United Rentals Work United 500 from Phoenix Raceway. If you haven’t yet started a free trial of FuboTV, do so today!