NASCAR: Possible Zane Smith landing spot ruled out?

Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images)
Zane Smith, Front Row Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Logan Riely/Getty Images) /

Zane Smith reportedly contacted Trackhouse Racing Team about a 2024 NASCAR Cup Series seat, but there is simply no room at the team.

Zane Smith signed a contract with Front Row Motorsports last summer to remain tied to the team through the 2026 NASCAR season, but with Bob Jenkins’ team having confirmed that they will be continuing with Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland in their Cup Series lined next year, they granted him approval to search for rides elsewhere for 2024.

Smith has been with the team since the 2022 Truck Series season. They were the only team to return any of his 100+ phone calls to various teams after he lost his ride with GMS Racing, where he had recorded back-to-back runner-up finishes in the series standings in 2020 and 2021.

He rewarded their faith in him with a four-win season and a championship in 2022, and the 24-year-old Huntington Beach, California native has a pretty good chance of defending his title, having won multiple races in 2023. But he is also looking forward to a new opportunity for 2024.

While he has never competed full-time in the Xfinity Series, Zane Smith has already spent considerable time at NASCAR’s second level.

That, coupled with four consecutive seasons of Truck Series success and select Cup Series starts in 2022 and 2023, has Smith believing that he is ready to make the full move to the Cup Series.

Smith reportedly made contact with Trackhouse Racing Team about a Cup Series seat, but the Justin Marks and Pitbull-owned team are simply full.

Ross Chastain and Daniel Suarez both signed contract extensions before the 2023 season began, and Shane van Gisbergen has signed with the team to compete across all three national series starting in 2024.

While the specifics of van Gisbergen’s contract have not yet been disclosed to the public, one would have to assume that even if Trackhouse Racing Team do land a long-rumored third charter from Live Fast Motorsports, it would be used for van Gisbergen’s entry, whether he is a full-time or a part-time driver.

If van Gisbergen competes full-time in the Cup Series, then Trackhouse Racing Team’s PROJECT91 will likely remain a part-time effort in a fourth non-chartered entry. If he competes part-time, then PROJECT91 will probably return for select races in his third chartered entry.

In both scenarios, there would be no room for Smith, unless the team signed him and loaned him out to another team (Spire Motorsports?) or if he was willing to spend another Cup Series season competing in only select races.

It may be worth mentioning that Suarez will likely enter the 2024 season on the hot seat, given the fact that he failed to qualify for the playoffs in 2023 while Chastain did so again with a win, but Smith will ideally be looking to make plans for 2024 that don’t involve hoping for somebody else to struggle just to have a chance at a seat for 2025.

Next. All-time NASCAR Cup Series wins list. dark

All things considered, Smith to Trackhouse Racing Team for 2024 simply isn’t feasible, at least not in the conventional sense. But it will be interesting to see if the team do make any sort of move to sign him in some capacity, as drivers of Smith’s caliber don’t often come calling with pen and paper readily in hand.