Another driver is on the hunt for a seat ahead of the 2022 NASCAR Cup Series season. Front Row Motorsports has announced that Anthony Alfredo will not return to the No. 38 entry after a 30th-place finish in points in his rookie season.
The organization made the announcement with a press release on Tuesday, November 9. Front Row Motorsports confirmed that they will field two cars in the Cup Series during the 2022 season and that at least one of them will have a new driver. FRM did not explicitly state that Daytona 500 winner Michael McDowell will return for 2022, but FOX Sports reporter Bob Pockrass reported that the team “is expected to keep him.”
Alfredo started all 36 races in the No. 38 FRM Ford Mustang while posting an average finish of 27.5 and nine DNFs. His best run was a 10th-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway on October 4, 2021. Alfredo also placed 12th in the first trip to Talladega on April 25.
“We would like to thank Anthony for being an outstanding ambassador of our team as well as for our No. 38 partners,” said Jerry Freeze, General Manager of Front Row Motorsports, in a statement. “He showed a lot speed in what was very difficult circumstances. He is a true professional and we wish him nothing but success in his future racing endeavors.”
FRM Will Provide Further Driver & Partner Announcements When Available
With FRM announcing that Alfredo will not be back in the No. 38, there are immediate questions about which driver will replace him. There are multiple options, including a veteran with ties to McDowell.
One option that stands out is Matt DiBenedetto. The California native just capped off his second full-time season with Wood Brothers Racing, but he will now have to find a new stock car. Harrison Burton will replace him in the No. 21 in 2022 as he moves from Xfinity to Cup.
There is no guarantee that DiBenedetto will join FRM, but he does have ties to McDowell. The driver of the No. 34 FRM Ford Mustang baptized both DiBenedetto and his wife Taylor on August 1. McDowell also appeared on the “Not Another Racing Podcast” to discuss his career with DiBenedetto and Ryan Ellis.
Another potential option is the now-former driver of the No. 6 Roush Fenway Racing Ford Mustang. Ryan Newman made his final start for the two-car team at Phoenix Raceway on Sunday, November 7, and capped off a tenure that began in 2019.
Newman reiterated that he was not announcing any kind of retirement and expressed hope that he could return to Victory Lane in the future. With the Next Gen car potentially providing more parity in the Cup Series, there is a scenario where Newman could make starts with FRM and pursue his 19th win.
These two options are purely conjecture, but they provide a glimpse at the free-agent options. Regardless of which direction FRM goes, the No. 38 will have its fourth driver in four seasons. David Ragan was the starter in 2019, John Hunter Nemechek ran his rookie season in 2020, and Alfredo took over in 2021. Now another driver will control the stock car.
FRM Provided an Update About the Truck Series Team
The Cup Series team also took time on November 9 to provide an update about the Truck Series team and the No. 38 Ford F-150. FRM specifically said that it continues to analyze the Camping World Truck Series operation.
Todd Gilliland served as the driver of the No. 38 entry during both of FRM’s two full-time seasons in the Truck Series. He won his second career race at Circuit of the Americas on May 22 — his first with FRM — and reached the playoffs. He also finished seventh in the championship standings while the No. 38 finished fourth in the owner’s standings.
“We are very pleased with the progress that both our programs made on the track this season,” Freeze said in the press release. “We feel our organization took another step in being more competitive and giving more value to our partners. We still need more consistency, but we can’t take anything away from the success and hard work from the organization this year. We’re very proud of that effort.”
There is a possibility that FRM will return to the Truck Series during the 2022 season. Though this announcement will take place at a later date. For now, the organization will continue to analyze the program and options for the future.
READ NEXT: NASCAR Most Popular Driver Voting Has Opened