Zane Smith will drive the the No. 38 Ford Mustang for Front Row Motorsports in five NASCAR Cup Series races this season.
Smith will also attempt the season-opening Daytona 500 in the No. 36 Ford, a third car for the organization alongside Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland, and will have to qualify for the race either through speed or his Bluegreen Vacations Duel event.
Centene Corporation’s Ambetter Health will support Smith’s effort at Daytona. The company will also be the primary partner on the car when Smith runs at Phoenix Raceway next month, Talladega Superspeedway, Sonoma Raceway, Texas Motor Speedway and the Charlotte Roval.
The move to put Smith in the No. 38 has him replacing Todd Gilliland in the car. Gilliland, who ran the full season for Front Row in 2022, will run all the other races for the team.
“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 title,” said Smith. “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.”
Gilliland posted on Twitter, “As you guys have heard, I won’t be full-time in the 38 this year. It was a shock when they told me and I’m disappointed. We’re working really hard to still be behind the wheel for the races I will be missing and plan on putting our best foot forward all season.”
Smith made his Cup Series debut last season at World Wide Technology Raceway as a substitute driver for RFK Racing in the No. 17. He finished 17th.
In addition to the Cup Series seat time, Smith will defend his Craftsman Truck Series championship with Front Row. Centene will be the primary sponsor on Smith’s truck at Homestead-Miami Speedway and an associate sponsor for the season.
“We want to welcome Centene Corporation to Front Row Motorsports,” said Bob Jenkins, owner of Front Row Motorsports. “This is an example of another well-respected and premier company to join our organization and the sport. Their support also allows us to move Zane up into the NASCAR Cup Series part-time and continue his growth while also helping us defend our NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series championship. We’re excited for the year ahead.”