By Seth Eggert, Staff Writer
In addition to returning to the Front Row Motorsports Ford F-150, Smith will compete in select NASCAR Xfinity Series and NASCAR Cup Series races. He will attempt to make his Daytona 500 debut with the team in the 2023 running of ‘The Great American Race.’ Smith will be in a third Open car for Front Row Motorsports. In the Xfinity Series, the team will align with an existing team as it does not have its’ own Xfinity program.
In his first season with Front Row, Smith has earned three victories, 10 top-fives, and 15 top-10 finishes. The Huntington Beach, Calif. native won the Regular Season championship. Aside from a disqualification due to a post-race penalty, Smith only has two finishes outside the top-10 this year.
Zane Smith is second on the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoff Grid, two points behind leader Chandler Smith. Entering the final race of the Round of 10, Zane Smith has a 46-point cushion over the playoff cut line.
“We have been thrilled with the performance by Zane this season,” said Bob Jenkins, Owner, Front Row Motorsports. “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.”
Smith does have previous experience in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. In 2019 he made 10 starts with JR Motorsports, earning two top-five and seven top-10 finishes. Smith also filled in for Justin Haley at Dover Motor Speedway in 2021 for Kaulig Racing.
“Chris Lawson, his team, and Zane have really worked well together this season,” said Jerry Freeze, General Manager, Front Row Motorsports. “We do not want to change that chemistry, but also feel this team is up to the challenge with Zane to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series.
“We will be strategic as what races we select to enter. We want to allow Zane to highlight what many have seen him do this year at the elite level. We will announce those races later once the 2023 schedules are announced. Until that time, we are focused on winning the truck series championship.”
Smith turned heads earlier this year when he filled in for Chris Buescher at World Wide Technology Raceway at Gateway. In his NASCAR Cup Series debut with RFK Racing, he started 32nd and climbed into the top-15. Smith ultimately finished 17th, on the lead lap.
“Front Row Motorsports has a lot of great momentum now, not only with their Truck Series program, but also with their Cup Series program,” said Smith. “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.”
In both of Smith’s full-time Truck Series seasons he has finished runner-up. In the most recent race at Richmond Raceway, the 23-year-old made his 75th start across NASCAR’s three National Touring Series.
The next scheduled race for Smith is the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series’ Kansas Lottery 200 at Kansas Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on Friday, September 9. The race will be broadcasted on Fox Sports 1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90.
Featured Photo Credit: Photo by NKP / NKP Photo.