NASCAR Cup Series

Todd Gilliland, Michael McDowell rejoin Front Row for 2023 NASCAR Cup Series

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Credit: Front Row Motorsports

With Michael McDowell on the best two-year stretch of his career by a wide margin and Todd Gilliland entering his sophomore run, it comes with little surprise that Front Row Motorsports will keep the duo in the #34 and #38 Ford Mustangs for the 2023 NASCAR Cup Series season.

While the drivers remain the same, they will have new names calling the shots for them. Travis Peterson will work as McDowell’s crew chief, coming over from Ford ally RFK Racing where he was the engineer for Chris Buescher’s #17. Ryan Bergenty becomes Gilliland’s crew chief after working as McDowell’s car chief. McDowell’s 2021 crew chief Blake Harris was hired by Hendrick Motorsports to work with Alex Bowman while Seth Barbour is promoted from the #38’s pit box to team technical director.

“Michael and Todd are an intricate part of continuing our NASCAR Cup Series success in 2023,” commented team manager Jerry Freeze. “Michael and the #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. 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.”

After racing in inferior equipment for much of his Cup career, McDowell’s fortunes took a turn for the significantly better when he won the Daytona 500 in 2021 and made the playoffs. He backed up the year with an even better 2022 statistical campaign as he more than doubled his top tens (twelve in 2022 versus five the previous year). Had it not been for a 100-point penalty that relegated him to twenty-third in the standings, he would have finished in the top twenty.

McDowell has raced for FRM since 2018 and been an integral part of the organisation’s growth in the past five years.

“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.”

Gilliland was elevated to FRM’s Cup programme in 2022 after spending two seasons in their Truck stable, ending his rookie year with a pair of top tens and twenty-eighth-place points finish. He also returned to the Trucks at Knoxville with his father David’s team and notched his third career series win.

“Although the number will be the same on our #38 Ford Mustang, we have major changes heading into 2023,” Gilliland stated. “I know that Ryan will help elevate our programme 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.”

Reigning Truck Series champion Zane Smith will also race for FRM in a part-time third car beginning with the Daytona 500.

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Justin is not an off-road racer, but he writes about it for The Checkered Flag.
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