Front Row Motorsports (FRM) will continue to be led by a mix of senior leadership and youthful star power in 2023 in the NASCAR Cup Series. After a career-best season, Michael McDowell will once again pilot the No. 34 Ford Mustang. Returning for his sophomore season is third-generation driver, Todd Gilliland, who will race the No. 38 Ford Mustang led by new crew chief Ryan Bergenty.
Bergenty, 39, came to FRM at the beginning of the 2021 season as the car chief of the No. 34 team with McDowell. Prior to FRM, the Plainville, Connecticut native won numerous races with Furniture Row Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing. Bergenty started his career as a mechanic and crew chief in the modified divisions in New England.
Gilliland will head into the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season after a year of Cup experience under his belt. Completing a rookie campaign where he grabbed his first top-five and two top-10 finishes, Gilliland will come to the track with new crew chief, Bergenty, ready to build a better program.
“Although the number will be the same on our No. 38 Ford Mustang, we have major changes heading into 2023,” said Gilliland. “I know that Ryan will help elevate our program and give us a fresh start. Having a full season in the Cup Series under my belt, I feel that I’m better prepared, too. I’m ready to go.”
In 2022, McDowell backed up his Daytona 500 winning season with his best statistical season with 12 top-10 and two top-five finishes. He is looking forward to getting back behind the wheel in 2023 with new crew chief Travis Peterson and continuing his success at FRM.
“I’ve been really fortunate to find a home at Front Row Motorsports and to race for Bob Jenkins,” said McDowell. “We’ve accomplished so much together, and I feel strongly that we’re just going to continue to improve. We have work ahead of us, but Travis and this team are more than capable of having another great season. I’m grateful for all the partners who support this team and we’re going to fight hard to get back into the Playoffs in 2023.”
FRM recently announced a series of organizational changes, including Seth Barbour being named Technical Director. The moves are aimed to improve the on-track performance for McDowell and Gilliland.
“Michael and Todd are an intricate part of continuing our NASCAR Cup Series success in 2023,” said Jerry Freeze, General Manager. “Michael and the No. 34 team are coming off a record year, and we believe with Travis Peterson, they will only build on that success and have an even better season.”
“Todd showed us growth in his rookie campaign,” continued Freeze. “The addition of Ryan as the crew chief, and the promotion of Seth, we believe we’re making changes to give Todd what he needs to improve.”
As previously announced, Zane Smith will return to the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series with select NASCAR Cup Series starts. Chris Lawson will continue to lead the championship team.
Partners for all programs and drivers will be announced early in 2023.
This is also the first time since 2018 that both drivers returned to the organization. The 38 car has had four different drivers in it (David Ragan, John Hunter Nemechek, Anthony Alfredo, Gilliland) in the last four years but 2023 will be the first since Ragan in 2017 and 2018 that the same driver appeared in both races in it.