In 2022, Front Row Motorsports (FRM) will again have a mix of veteran leadership and young, winning drivers stepping into new roles.
Michael McDowell will once again pilot the No. 34 Ford Mustang in the NASCAR Cup Series. He will be teammates with a new driver in Todd Gilliland who takes over the No. 38 Ford Mustang. That in turn leaves the Truck Series ride open for which two-time NASCAR Camping World Series championship runner-up Zane Smith joins FRM to race the No. 38 Ford F-150 in the truck series.
Gilliland makes the jump to the NASCAR Cup Series to compete for the Sunoco Rookie of the Year title after three full-time seasons in the truck series, the past two with FRM. In 2021, Gilliland had one win, 16 top-10 and 10 top-five finishes, resulting in a career best year. He led FRM to fourth in the owner’s championship. Gilliland will work with crew chief Seth Barbour.
Gilliland follows his father, David, as a driver of the No. 38 Ford for FRM in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“I feel like I’ve found a home at FRM,” said Gilliland. “I’ve been around the team when I was growing up and watching my dad race. I joined the truck team here and it has been a good place for my career. I can’t wait to step up into the NASCAR Cup Series. I know the challenges ahead, but I’m planning to be here and help grow with this team for a long time.”
“Todd has been a part of the FRM family before he even started his own racing career,” added owner, Bob Jenkins. “We know that Todd is committed to helping our No. 38 program. He helped us launch our truck program into a winning team and that’s our goal for him and the 38 Cup team.”
McDowell returns to the No. 34 Ford Mustang with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer. It will be their fifth year together and their partnership continues to lead FRM. This past season they again set new records for the organization with five top-10 and two top-five finishes. Their season was highlighted by winning the Daytona 500.
“It was a storybook season for Michael, Drew and the 34 team,” continued Jenkins. “They helped elevate us to the next level and now we need to sustain and take the next step. The new car gives us a wonderful opportunity to do that.”
“I’m really looking forward to 2022 and the fresh start it brings across the sport,” said McDowell. “It’s an exciting time for the NASCAR Cup Series and for us at FRM. We have proven that we can win and now we want to find that consistency throughout the season to be even better.”
FRM welcomes Smith to its NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team, fresh off consecutive seasons as championship runner-up in the series Smith recorded three race wins and 27 top-10 finishes in his two full seasons in the series. The 22-year-old Huntington Beach, Calif. native will work with crew chief Chris Lawson with the goal of winning the championship in 2022.
“I’ve been watching Zane the past few seasons,” said Jenkins. “He’s a young driver who is a proven winner and he shows a lot of promise. We want to get him that championship in 2022, but also, we want to have Zane with us for a long time. We see a bright future for him.”
“I competed against Front Row for wins this past season and I know how competitive the team is,” said Smith, the 2021 Most Popular Driver in the NASCAR Camping World Series. “Bob Jenkins has given me a wonderful opportunity to race for the truck series championship again. More importantly, there is an opportunity to grow with them in the future.”
The 2021 season will mark its 13th with Ford Performance, the team’s manufacturing partner since expanding to a multi-car organization in 2010.
FRM will announce team partners leading into the 2022 Daytona 500 and throughout next season.