FRM announced the news on August 25. The team confirmed that Smith will return to the No. 38 Ford F-150 during the 2023 season. He will also suit up for the season-opening Daytona 500, which will be his second career Cup Series start. The deal will also include some possible Xfinity Series starts.
“We have been thrilled with the performance by Zane this season,” said team owner Bob Jenkins in a statement. “We always felt that he was the next breakthrough star in the sport, and he has been proving that this season.
“We have a plan laid out for him and our next step will be to put Zane and that team in NASCAR Cup Series races where we know we can be successful. We also want to give Zane the opportunity to win more races and a championship with our truck series program, and we are excited to see what he will do next season.”
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Smith Joined FRM Ahead of the 2022 Season
Smith, who has finished second in the championship standings in two straight seasons, made a move ahead of the 2022 Truck Series season. He joined Front Row Motorsports and took over the No. 38 after Todd Gilliland moved up to the Cup Series.
Smith has achieved success since making this move. He has reached Victory Lane three times, including in the season-opening race at Daytona International Speedway. He also piled up 15 top-10 finishes and 10 top-fives while winning the regular-season championship.
Smith is currently second in the championship standings after the first two races of the playoffs. He remains in the hunt for a spot in the championship four, and he will continue to pursue this goal when the Truck Series returns to action at Kansas Speedway on September 9.
“Front Row Motorsports has a lot of great momentum now, not only with their Truck Series program, but also with their Cup Series program,” Smith said in the press release. “While I’m 100 percent focused now on the Truck Series playoffs and racing to win a championship for our partners, I’m excited for what the future holds next season as I get the opportunity to also compete at the next level and continue to grow as a race car driver.”
Smith Already Made His Cup Series Debut
The California native has focused on the Truck Series schedule and reaching the championship four for the third consecutive season. He also made his debut in the Cup Series for a unique reason.
RFK Racing announced prior to the race at World Wide Technology Raceway that Chris Buescher would not make the trip. The driver of the No. 17 tested positive for COVID-19, which meant that he would miss the first Cup Series race at the Illinois track.
Smith stepped in as the replacement on short notice. He took over the No. 17 Ford with no prior Cup Series experience, and he turned in a solid performance. Smith qualified 32nd, but he worked his way through the field and ultimately turned in a 17th-place finish while avoiding incidents and ending the day on the lead lap.
Smith will now have the opportunity to gain even more experience in the Cup Series. He will work with Front Row Motorsports and compete in the 2023 Daytona 500, as well as select other Cup Series races.