NASCAR Cup Series driver avoids losing full-time ride

Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Todd Gilliland, Front Row Motorsports, Daytona 500, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Todd Gilliland lost his ride at Front Row Motorsports for a number of races on the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series schedule, but he was able to land a deal with another team.

Shortly before the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season began, Todd Gilliland was hit with the surprising news that he would not be competing full-time for Front Row Motorsports behind the wheel of the No. 38 Ford for the second consecutive season.

The team confirmed that Zane Smith, who has competed full-time for the organization in the Truck Series since last season and won the 2022 championship, would be making six starts behind the wheel of the chartered entry, in addition to his season-opening Daytona 500 effort behind the wheel of the non-chartered No. 36 Ford.

The first of those six races is this Sunday’s race at Phoenix Raceway. But Gilliland wasted no time in doing whatever he could do not to miss this race and the other races for which he is no longer set to compete for Bob Jenkins’s team.

The 22-year-old Sherrills Ford, North Carolina native landed a five-race deal with Rick Ware Racing for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

While Smith is set to drive the No. 38 Ford this weekend, Gilliland is also set to compete after all. He is set to drive the No. 15 Ford for Rick Ware Racing.

He is also set to drive the car in the races at 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.

Of the six races in which Smith is set to replace Gilliland, the only race for which Gilliland was left without a ride was the race at Talladega Superspeedway on Sunday, April 23.

The only reason why Rick Ware Racing didn’t add Gilliland, whose career-high oval finish of seventh place came at Talladega Superspeedway last October, to their lineup for this race is because they had already confirmed Riley Herbst to a multi-race superspeedway deal, which also included the Daytona 500.

But that has changed, as Front Row Motorsports have since announced that they will be adding a non-chartered entry so that Gilliland can retain his status as a full-time driver for 2023.

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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 Raeway. Begin a free trial of FuboTV now and don’t miss it!