Reigning Champ Zane Smith Sets Number of Cup Starts for 2023

Zane Smith

Getty Zane Smith delivers his champion's speech in Nashville.

Reigning Truck Series champion Zane Smith will spend 2023 trying to defend his title for Front Row Motorsports. He will also run part-time in the Cup Series while making several starts.

Smith talked to media members on the red carpet at the NASCAR Awards on December 1. He spent some time talking about his championship celebration, but he also revealed the number of Cup Series races that he will start in 2023. He will be active in seven different events, starting with the Daytona 500.

“As far as I know, it’s another full year in now the Craftsman Truck Series,” Smith told media members. “So it’s gonna be really cool to close out, for now, the — I guess the final year for Camping World — that was was really cool. I saw a video they posted of all these crazy names and then my name to cap off that video is something really cool to see.

“But I’m excited for Craftsman to come into our sport again, and I’d love to be the first champion on the return back. And then also getting my feet wet in the Cup Series with… I think it’s seven races. [They] aren’t finalized yet which ones, but that’s what I’ve heard. It’s kind of a mix of everything so no matter where we go I’m excited for it.”

Smith First Soaked Up the Moment in Nashville

Zane Smith

GettyZane Smith (left) celebrated his championship win in Nashville.

The excitement about the future was evident as Smith walked the red carpet in Nashville. He has his spot secure in the Craftsman Truck Series, and he gets to face off with the top drivers in the Cup Series. Though it took a backseat as Smith took part in a walk that he enjoyed far more in 2022 than in 2021.

“Obviously, I walked this as the first loser last year,” Smith said. “And that’s no fun ever just because you can always think back and all these things remind you of when you lost it. And you think back of, ‘Man, only if I could have held them off for seven more laps or whatever it was.’ This could have been my second one, so that’s deep scar tissue.

“But what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. I mean, I feel like from those experiences I’ve learned a lot about myself and I feel like with this championship under my belt, I feel like I’m in a way better spot mentally and I could race way differently.”

Smith Has 1 Start in the Cup Series

There has been some information available about Smith’s future since late summer. Front Row Motorsports announced on August 25 that the California native would return to the organization and the No. 38 Ford F-150.

There were not many details provided by FRM at the time, but one of the biggest was that this was a long-term deal. The organization usually does one-year deals with its drivers, but it showed its dedication to Smith by snapping this trend.

The other important detail is that Smith would make his second career Cup Series start, but his first for FRM. He would suit up for the 2023 Daytona 500 after previously making his series debut with RFK Racing.

When FRM announced Smith’s return, a tweet said that he would make his Daytona 500 debut along with “select other” Cup Series starts. Additionally, the organization noted that Smith would make some select starts in the Xfinity Series. FRM just shied away from detailing when these starts would take place.

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