McDowell, Gilliland returning to Front Row Motorsports for 2024 NASCAR Cup Series: Sources


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Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland will return to drive for Front Row Motorsports in the NASCAR Cup Series in 2024, the team is expected to announce Wednesday, according to sources briefed on the matter. What that means for Zane Smith’s future with the organization remains unclear as the reigning Truck Series champion continues to explore other opportunities, with a return to Front Row still a possibility.

How Front Row would unweave a complicated situation where it has three talented drivers in the fold but only two Cup teams was one of the big dominoes during this year’s Silly Season — the annual period where drivers and teams set their plans for the following season. McDowell, Gilliland and Smith have each been mentioned as candidates at other organizations, with McDowell viewed as a strong replacement for Aric Almirola at Stewart-Haas Racing should Almirola decide to retire. Almirola has yet to announce his plans.

Throughout the process, Front Row has explored various configurations of its 2024 driver lineup — including adding a third full-time team — before ultimately deciding that it was best to retain McDowell and Gilliland by exercising the options in both drivers’ contracts.

Front Row bringing back McDowell and Gilliland comes as each has turned in solid results in 2023. McDowell is in contention for a wild-card playoff berth, sitting three points behind Ty Gibbs for the last spot with three regular-season races remaining; Gilliland sits 27th in points, has three top-10 finishes and has taken big steps on the performance side in this his second year at the Cup level.

Smith currently competes for Front Row in the Truck Series, where he won the 2022 championship and finished runner-up in 2020 and 2021. The 24-year-old has expressed interest in wanting to be in a Cup car full-time next season.

“People have pulled the experience card, but it would be my fifth year in Trucks, and I don’t want to get further behind for when I do get in a Cup car,” Smith told The Athletic last month.

Smith returning to Front Row run in the Truck Series for the team is an option, as Front Row is expected to continue fielding an entry in that series. But whether he pursues that opportunity is undetermined.

(Photo: Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

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Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams
Alexandra Williams is a writer and editor. Angeles. She writes about politics, art, and culture for LinkDaddy News.

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