NASCAR Cup Series

Todd Gilliland to drive #36 for FRM at Talladega

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Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

Todd Gilliland was less than pleased when Front Row Motorsports announced Zane Smith would drive the #38 Ford Mustang for five NASCAR Cup Series races in 2023, especially as he had anticipated to run the full calendar in the car for a second year. While those plans remain unchanged, Gilliland was still able to find some backing for the five non-#38 starts primarily for Rick Ware Racing, though Carl Ruedebusch has also stepped up to help him out at FRM.

On Thursday, Ruedebusch announced his companies N29 Capital Partners, LLC and Ruedebusch Development and Construction will sponsor Gilliland in the #36 for the Talladega Superspeedway race on 23 April. Smith had entered the Daytona 500 in the #36, where he finished thirteenth. His crew chief Chris Lawson, currently atop Smith’s pit box in the Craftsman Truck Series, worked with Gilliland when he raced in said division.

“I wanted to ensure that Todd raced the full season in the NASCAR Cup Series this year,” said Ruedebusch. “He has proven that he can compete with the best of the best and be successful. We are thankful to Front Row Motorsports for making this opportunity available for Todd to reunite with his old team-mates and friend Chris Lawson to race for a win at Talladega.”

As a Cup rookie in 2022, Gilliland finished twenty-eighth in points with a pair of top tens, one of which was a seventh in the Talladega fall race.

Besides Talladega, Smith will replace Gilliland in the #38 at Phoenix Raceway (12 March), Charlotte Motor Speedway (28 May), Sonoma Raceway (11 June), Texas Motor Speedway (24 September), and the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval (8 October). Gilliland will move to RWR’s #15, which serves as their multi-driver car and driven by Riley Herbst in the Daytona 500, for those four rounds.

“I really want to thank Carl Ruedebusch for everything he has done for me,” commented Gilliland. “It is not just this year, but last year, and being a good friend to our family. Also, it’s important to be clear that Bob Jenkins (FRM owner) has put more resources into my career than anyone outside my family. It was unfortunate that I can’t race all thirty-six races with FRM, but the team is working hard to build my program for the future.”

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