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Where Can Zane Smith Go in 2024?

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Zane Smith is one of NASCAR’s most intriguing prospects. He had a Cup Series ride set up for 2021 with Chip Ganassi Racing, but, when Justin Marks bought out Ganassi, Smith was left without a ride. Now Smith is a Craftsman Truck Series Champion with an eye towards racing in the Cup Series next year according to Candice Spencer, but, where can he go next year?

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Front Row Motorsports

This is the most likely option for Smith as he is already under contract with Front Row. It is not known what the exact verbiage is regarding Truck or Cup, but he has already run Cup Series races for the team this season. The results have been not great overall in Cup, but he flashed his potential with a 10th place run at Charlotte in May.

Given his current contract situation, and the uncertainty of the contracts of both Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland, this is Smith’s most likely option as of right now. Front Row also is a team on the rise, and they could be just one star driver away from making the jump to being a true contender week-in and week-out. Smith could be that guy.

Stewart-Haas Racing

NASCAR silly-season is seemingly on-hold right now because of one particular Stewart-Haas Racing driver, Aric Almirola. Will he retire, or will he come back? If he does not come back, then Zane Smith becomes a very intriguing prospect.

With Josh Berry already confirmed to take over the number-4 car next season, Stewart-Haas Racing likely needs another young driver in the fold to partner with Chase Briscoe and Ryan Preece. Well, well, well, a Ford driver named Smith is sitting in the Craftsman Truck Series as a Champion. That could be the one to build the future of the company around.

Spire Motorsports

Spire is in a similar situation in Front Row Motorsports. Corey LaJoie has shown significant improvement from a season ago, and Spire looks like they may be able to make that next jump upwards. Carson Hocevar’s impressive run at Gateway showed the potential this team could have if a good young driver was added to the fold.

If Hocevar goes the JR Motorsports route that most seem to think is likely, then Smith would be a nice consolation. It would be tough to get him out of his contract with Front Row, plus getting him released from Ford would be tough. However, a good young driver to build the team around could be huge for Spire.

Joe Gibbs Racing

Another situation that is similar to Stewart-Haas Racing, albeit much more unlikely. Martin Truex Jr. retirement rumors just will not fully go away, but, with how good he is running, it looks much less likely that he will retire. If he does, though, then where could JGR go?

John Hunter Nemechek is the most likely option, but, if you want a guy with a clean Cup Series slate, then why not Zane Smith. Again, they would have to poach Smith from both Front Row and Ford, but, that could be something that would make Toyota smile. If Smith wants to win now, then JGR is the best place to do it if it works out.

JR Motorsports

Smith wants to go Cup Racing for sure. However, if every good Cup ride is taken up, then he could make the jump up to the Xfinity Series with a team he is familiar with. People forget that Smith spent 2019 racing part-time for JR Motorsports.

He ran in 10 races with seven top-10s and two top-5s. His best finish was fifth, which came at Both Iowa and Phoenix, very similar race tracks. Maybe Smith can spend some time in the Xfinity Series before making the move up to the Cup Series.

Zane Smith is one of NASCAR’s most intriguing prospects, and he has the potential to be a good driver higher up the ladder. He just needs an opportunity, and maybe that will come next year.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

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