Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: New Players Emerge in 2024 Silly Season

On Monday (Sept. 25), Front Row Motorsports announced that it would field a second entry in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series race at Talladega Superspeedway on Saturday (Sept. 30).

Brett Moffitt will drive the No. 34, with a paint scheme throwing back to the very first time Fr8 Auctions, Moffitt’s sponsor for the race, sponsored a Cup Series car.

This is the first time the team will field a second truck in its history.

The announcement came just two days after AM Racing announced that it would be expanding to two full-time Xfinity Series cars in 2024.

Why do these two announcements correlate?

Well, Moffitt is AM Racing’s current full-time Xfinity Series driver, where he has amassed one top five and nine top 10s this season.

While Moffitt is making his season debut in the Truck Series, the curiousness of the partnership lies in the fact that AM Racing has its own Truck Series team. Why wouldn’t Moffitt compete in the race with the team he actually drives for full-time?

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It’s not like the team isn’t entering the Talladega race either. Jason M. White is scheduled to compete in the team’s No. 22. But why wouldn’t Moffitt be the one to drive the truck if he was to compete in the race?

The answer might be more complicated than anyone originally thought.

Taking a closer look at AM Racing’s press release about expanding to two cars will show that the release makes no mention of Moffitt returning to the team in 2024. There’s mention of all that Moffitt has accomplished with the team, but nothing about him continuing with the team.

Is AM Racing parting ways with Moffitt after this season?

Compounding this theory is the fact that Front Row Motorsports has never fielded a second truck in its history, nor has it ever publicly considered expansion, even for just a race, making this announcement all the odder.

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Sure, perhaps Fr8 Auctions wanted to sponsor this race with the throwback idea, and with the team’s flagship driver Zane Smith already sponsored by Love’s RV Stops this weekend, maybe a second truck was necessary. And yes, AM Racing and Front Row are both Ford backed teams, so it’s not a huge deal for Moffitt to jump ship.

But why Moffitt of all people?

Smith is leaving the team at season’s end to go Cup Series racing. If Front Row was going to open a second truck, why wouldn’t it focus on auditioning a driver for the 2024 season?

Maybe because Moffitt is the auditionee.

This one-off deal between Moffitt and Front Row could mean that Moffitt will take over Smith’s No. 38 next season instead of a younger driver in development.

The move would make sense too – Moffitt drove for Front Row in the Cup Series in 2015, when he was part of the whole replacement driver debacle that involved David Ragan replacing Kyle Busch for part of the season after Busch’s accident at Daytona International Speedway, then resulted in Ragan ride-swapping with Moffitt at Michael Waltrip Racing after Moffitt replaced Brian Vickers, who was suffering from blood clots.

With Front Row, Moffitt took home Rookie of the Year honors in 2015. Now, the 2018 Truck Series champion could return to the team, which also has a championship with Smith in 2022.

But then, more questions than answers arise. If Moffitt goes to Front Row, AM now needs two drivers to fill both of its Xfinity rides. Who could the team possibly find at this point in the season?

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Well, there is one Truck Series driver who Ford is very high on. And they could easily get the call because of the marketing aspect that they bring with them. There’s a potential for sponsorship attraction to go along with already existing personal and/or team sponsors.

Is 2024 the year Hailie Deegan gets the call to go Xfinity Series racing?

With Smith moving to Chevrolet in 2024 with his Cup Series promotion, Deegan is pretty much the only immediate driver in the Ford pipeline as a candidate for promotion. While she hasn’t performed well this season in the Truck Series, her lone Xfinity start at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in 2021 ended in a top-15 finish.

Maybe Deegan is a lot like Harrison Burton and just needs promoted out of the Truck Series to showcase her true talents. And she could easily slot into the flagship No. 25 for AM in 2024.

As for AM’s second car, it could be very plausible that its ARCA Menards Series driver Christian Rose gets promoted straight to the Xfinity Series. It’s worked before for drivers like Ty Gibbs, Sammy Smith, Daniel Suarez, Riley Herbst, and eventually it appears William Sawalich will take the same route.

Rose was originally scheduled to make several starts for AM across both the Xfinity and Truck Series. However, so far Rose has only made one start in either series, a truck start at Richmond Raceway that ended in a 32nd-place finish.

AM has had too many drivers run its No. 22 truck this season to warrant promoting one of them and giving Rose the truck full-time. Conversely, it would be hard to convince another driver to jump ship to the team (not to mention Ford’s limited pipeline – Herbst may be the only option if that were the case). So AM might just give Rose a mega-promotion up to the Xfinity Series.

Rose also brings his hometown sponsorship in West Virginia Tourism, so the move could make sense.

There also could be a scenario where ThorSport Racing loses a second driver to promotion in the Xfinity Series. Ty Majeski has proven his ability to win since essentially reviving his career at ThorSport, and the former RFK Racing development driver could return to the Xfinity Series in a full-time capacity, continuing as Deegan’s teammate.

So what would happen to the two ThorSport rides that Deegan and Majeski would theoretically leave behind? Again, Ford’s pipeline is pretty much dead following Smith’s departure, and if Deegan and/or Majeski gets promoted, there’s really nobody to take the ride unless Ford and ThorSport can sign a free-agent driver (such as Matt DiBenedetto, Noah Gragson, or Grant Enfinger) or sign someone away from their current team.

However, Ford does have one last ace up its sleeve for promotion – Frankie Muniz.

Muniz has taken the racing world by storm due to his background as a popular actor. While he hasn’t reached victory lane, he was second in points for the longest time, and was reeling off top 10s like no other driver. A recent string of bad luck has halted that momentum, though.

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Muniz is a wild-card for really any of these rides – Front Row, AM, or ThorSport. Muniz has factory support from Ford through his ARCA team, Rette Jones Racing, and the Malcolm in the Middle star has stated multiple times that he has had discussions with teams for 2024.

There are reports that Muniz will be racing in the Truck Series next year, with offers potentially already on the table. One of those offers could very well be from ThorSport (contingent on this scenario actually playing out, of course). While ThorSport hasn’t commented on its 2024 plans, it has to have an idea of its lineup for next season at this point in the year.

Besides, when was the last time ThorSport announced driver changes before December at earliest?

The last two times ThorSport made a change to its driver lineup, both times it was announced in the offseason. The news that Deegan was joining ThorSport was announced in mid-December, while the news that Majeski would join beginning in 2022 was made only about a month before the 2022 season started.

It’s very possible that a simple one-off for Moffitt could hint towards the beginning of a massive domino effect that could change the layout of the Truck Series come 2024.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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BB

Ford really needs to take a second look at 1) Majeski’s loyalty to the Ford brand and how high he speaks of them to this day (despite 60 car junk) and represents also at the SLM level, and 2) the less than fair shake of a seat shared with Cindric and Briscoe in Xfinity with the latter two being promoted and Majeski hung out to dry.

Colonial

Any thought to Matt DiBbenedetto getting one of these rides? No brand loyalty to Chevy since leaving the 25 truck. Has experience in Cup, Truck and Xfinity. He has proven to get decent results in good equipment.

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