NASCAR: ‘Big announcement’ coming before Bristol Cup race

Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images)
Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Zane Smith and Trackhouse Racing Team sponsor Aerial Recovery both have announcements scheduled for 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday before the NASCAR Cup Series playoff race at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The future of Zane Smith has become a major talking point in NASCAR silly season as of late, with the reigning Truck Series champion having not yet signed a contract to compete anywhere in 2024.

Ideally, Smith would have moved up from Front Row Motorsports’ Truck Series team to their Cup Series team, but Bob Jenkins’ organization made the decision to stick with Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland next year.

As a result, Smith was granted approval to seek rides elsewhere, despite having signed a contract extension with Front Row Motorsports last summer that tied him to the team through 2026.

One team he contacted about a potential move to the NASCAR Cup Series was Trackhouse Racing Team, as sticking with Ford was not a requirement.

Due to already having re-signed Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez, and having signed Shane van Gisbergen to a deal, it was said that the Chevrolet team were simply at capacity for 2024.

But now Smith has a “big announcement” scheduled on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. ET, the same time as Trackhouse Racing Team sponsor Aerial Recovery, which signed a deal with the team this past week.

It’s not often that drivers of Smith’s caliber come calling, free and clear to sign a deal. So just because Trackhouse Racing Team don’t have room at the moment doesn’t mean they aren’t interested in his signature.

The belief is that the 24-year-old Huntington Beach, California native will sign a deal with the Justin Marks and Pitbull-owned team and ultimately be loaned out to compete for another team, presumably Spire Motorsports, until there is enough room at Trackhouse Racing Team.

Spire Motorsports have already signed Corey LaJoie to a multi-year contract extension, and Carson Hocevar remains an option to replace Ty Dillon. But there are rumors that Live Fast Motorsports could be selling their charter, and another charter would make adding Smith an even better possibility.

As for Trackhouse Racing Team, van Gisbergen has signed a deal to compete full-time in NASCAR next year, but whether or not that means a full-time Cup Series ride (or whether his ride is a chartered entry) remains to be seen.

In non-Cup races, he will likely compete for a variety of teams with which Trackhouse Racing Team form partnerships, so a partnership with Spire Motorsports to run Smith certainly fits the team’s new approach.

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What will Smith’s “big announcement” at 5:00 p.m. ET on Saturday be? Has he indeed signed a multi-year deal with Trackhouse Racing Team?