Front Row Motorsports has made a surprising decision ahead of the 2023 season. The team has opted to replace Todd Gilliland in select NASCAR Cup Series events.
This news was made public as part of a press release revealing Zane Smith‘s sponsor for the Daytona 500. FRM said Smith will drive the No. 36 Centene Corporation Ford Mustang during the Daytona 500. He will also have the company as a primary partner as he takes over the No. 38 for up to six races.
Smith’s schedule in the No. 38 Centene Corporation Ford Mustang currently features five events. He will take over the entry for Gilliland at Phoenix Raceway in March, Talladega Superspeedway in April, Sonoma Raceway in June, Texas Motor Speedway in September, and the Charlotte Roval in October.
“We want to welcome Centene Corporation to Front Row Motorsports,” said Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports. “This is an example of another well-respected and premier company to join our organization and the sport.
“Their support also allows us to move Zane up into the NASCAR Cup Series part-time and continue his growth while also helping us defend our NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. We’re excited for the year ahead.”
Front Row Motorsports Announced Smith’s Sixth Race in the No. 38
There were some questions about Smith’s schedule in the No. 38 after FRM said that he would replace Gilliland for up to six races while only revealing five of the dates.
FRM provided the answer to these questions early in the afternoon of February 7. The team announced that Smith would replace Gilliland in the No. 38 during the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
Gilliland will have Boot Barn as his primary partner for the Crown Jewel event. The company will continue to show its support of FRM drivers, which has included sponsorship of both Gilliland and Smith in the Cup Series and the Craftsman Truck Series.
Gilliland Will Seek Other Opportunities
One of three rookie drivers during the 2022 season, Gilliland had his share of growing pains. He could not finish five of the 36 races, primarily due to crashes that collected the No. 38.
Gilliland ultimately walked away with two top-10 finishes and one top-five. He became the first driver to deliver a top-five in the No. 38 since David Gilliland’s fourth-place finish at Talladega Superspeedway in 2013.
Gilliland began his second Cup Series season by heading to Los Angeles and securing a spot in the Busch Light Clash. He ultimately finished 23rd after a caution-filled event, but he walked away knowing that he beat out some bigger names.
Now, however, Gilliland will move forward with an altered Cup Series schedule. He will try to fill out his schedule with one of the other teams in order to make all 36 starts.
“As you guys have heard I won’t be full-time in the 38 this year,” Gilliland tweeted on February 7. “It was a shock when they told me and I’m disappointed. We’re working really hard to still be behind the wheel for the races I will be missing and plan on putting our best foot forward all season