Zane Smith, the defending Truck Series champion, will take control of the No. 38 NASCAR Mustang in select Cup Series events throughout the 2023 racing season. For his first race, he will attempt to qualify for the 2023 Daytona 500 in a week and a half, and will also compete in five subsequent Cup Series races, commanding either the No. 36 Ford or No. 38 Ford depending on the event.
For Daytona, Smith will step behind the wheel of the No. 36 NASCAR Mustang fielded by Front Row Motorsports (FRM). He will attempt to qualify for the season-opening race during the qualifying session on February 15th, and if he succeeds, he will then race for his starting position in the Duels on February 16th. Then, he will take part in “The Great American Race” on February 19th, while also competing in the No. 38 Ford F-150 race truck for the Truck Series season opener on February 17th.
Smith will then race the No. 38 NASCAR Ford for the Cup Series races at Phoenix on March 12th, Talladega on April 23rd, Coca-Cola 600 on May 28th, Sonoma on June 11th, Texas on September 24th and the Charlotte Roval on October 8th.
Both of Smith’s NASCAR Mustang race cars will carry the colors of Ambetter Health and Wellcare. “I’m fortunate to have a great sponsor of Centene’s stature to step up and support me and Front Row Motorsports as I look to gain racing experience in the NASCAR Cup Series while at the same time defending the NASCAR Craftsman [Truck Series] title,” said Smith in a statement. “I’m excited to represent Ambetter Health and Wellcare as Centene continues to grow their involvement in NASCAR and their healthcare presence across the United States.”
Interestingly, FRM elected to sideline its regular driver of the No. 38 Mustang, Todd Gilliland, for the aforementioned five Cup series races, in order to accommodate Smith.