Frankie Muniz is set to return to NASCAR in 2024, but not with Rette Jones Racing. He hasn’t confirmed the series or the team, but he has said that fans will be shocked to find out.
Frankie Muniz fulfilled a lifelong dream in 2023, competing full-time in the ARCA Menards Series for Rette Jones Racing behind the wheel of the No. 30 Ford.
Despite Muniz being primarily known to many as an actor, he stated at the beginning of the year that he wanted to be known as a race car driver. And this wasn’t his first venture into the sport, even if it marked his first appearance in NASCAR.
The 37-year-old Wood-Ridge, New Jersey native competed full-time in the Atlantic Championship (modern-day Indy NXT) full-time from 2007 to 2009. After nearly a decade and a half, he found himself back behind the wheel.
Muniz, speaking to Beyond the Flag about his partnership with Claritin, spoke about his season and how it all came together to the point where he could get back into racing after being away from the sport for so long.
“When I stopped racing in 2009, it was always something that I knew I wanted to go back to,” Muniz said. “I never thought it would be 13 years later, but I realized I felt like I had unfinished business in the racing world, and I wasn’t getting any younger.”
As motorsport fans know, open-wheel racing and stock car racing are two entirely different styles of racing. Even with an open-wheel background, Muniz always knew that he wanted to get involved in the NASCAR world, and that is what he got to do in 2023.
“I always had a desire to race NASCAR, even though it is so different from the style of racing I had done in my past, so I figured I’d throw myself off the deep end and see how it goes,” he said. “Also, when my son was born, I realized that I wanted him to grow up seeing me reaching for my dreams and working hard at something that I’m truly passionate about.
“At the time of his birth, I felt like I had done an amazing number of things and had accomplished a lot, but I wanted him to see me actually doing it, and not just telling him about what daddy used to do, if you know what I mean.”
Rette Jones Racing was one of a number of teams with which Muniz met before solidifying his 2023 plans.
“I knew I wanted to race in ARCA and had met with a large number of teams,” he said. “When I met Mark Rette, I immediately had a connection with him, and I went with my gut. It’s been an amazing learning year for me this season and I can’t wait to use what I learn next season to fight for some wins.”
Muniz won’t be back with Rette Jones Racing next year, but he has confirmed that he is set to be competing on some level in the 2024 NASCAR season.
However, he could not give away anything more, other than the fact that it will likely come as a shock to NASCAR fans.
“I will be racing full-time next season,” he confirmed. “I wish I could share where I’ll be racing, but we’ll be making the announcement soon! I think everyone will be pretty shocked.”
What he did say is that he is going to be moving up to a bigger series, presumably a NASCAR national series — either the Truck Series or the Xfinity Series.
“My goals are to continue to learn and get better,” he continued. “I’ll be moving up to a bigger series with tougher competition, and I know I still have a lot to learn, but in that same sense, I’m ready to move up and prove that I can be a contender. As a racer, you are never satisfied unless you are winning, but I’ll take the small victories of the goals we set throughout the season.”
While it is unlikely that Muniz will be competing in the Cup Series next year, that remains his goal.
“Cup is definitely my goal,” Muniz stated. “I think that’s everyone’s dream, but I also know I’m pretty old to be getting into the sport. At 37, I don’t have 15 years to perfect my craft to get to Cup. I have to show I belong right away and the only way to do that is to have results now.”
Muniz finished the 2023 season with 11 top 10 finishes in 20 races, placing him fourth in the point standings. He spent time atop the standings toward the beginning of the year.
“There were a lot of amazing highlights throughout the season,” Muniz said. “I’d say my favorite was the top five at Michigan after cutting a tire and hitting the wall. In the moment we made contact with the wall, my emotions were so low, only to have an amazing finish an hour later, and I was at the highest of highs.
“We’ve also gone through a lot of struggles this year. We’ve had a cloud of bad luck the second half of the season, and that has been an interesting thing for me to navigate because now I have expectations for myself in the racecar, and if I don’t meet those, I’m not happy. That said, I’m staying ultra-motivated and just trying to learn every time I’m in the race car.”