Monday, Nov 28

FRM Kansas Weekend Recap: Smith Advances to 'Round of Eight', McDowell and Gilliland fight handling at Kansas

FRM Kansas Weekend Recap: Smith Advances to 'Round of Eight', McDowell and Gilliland fight handling at Kansas NK Photography Photo

Front Row Motorsports (FRM) traveled to Kansas Speedway for playoff racing as Zane Smith, Michael McDowell, and Todd Gilliland all saw action this weekend.

 

Zane Smith fired off in the No.38 Hamsters USA Ford F-150 on Friday night en route to a fourth-place finish and his 11th top-5 of 2022.

 

Todd Gilliland, in the No. 38 CITGARD Ford Mustang, finished inside the Top-25 with a 23rd place finish.

 

Michael McDowell and the No. 34 WISE-EV team finished 16th after racing up front and in the top-10 throughout the day.

 

Smith and the Hamsters USA team came into Friday night's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race 46-points above the cut line to advance to the next round in the playoffs. Needing a good finish and a strong points day, the No. 38 team accomplished just that.

 

Smith rolled off ninth in his No. 38 Ford F-150 for the 134-lap event. In the first stage, Smith worked his way up a few positions and crossed the line fifth in Stage One. He gained more track position as the truck started to come to life and finished second in Stage Two.

 

By the end of the race, the No. 38 team tried to make adjustments to get Smith what he needed for the lead, but as the final stage progressed, Smith was too tight to challenge for the lead and finished in the fourth position. 

“We just didn't have the speed to contend with the No. 4 up front," said Smith. "The No. 38 crew tried to make a few adjustments to make it better, we just got too tight there at the end. Now we're just looking ahead at these next three races and hopefully advance our way to Phoenix. I'm looking forward to Bristol."

 

Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 CITGARD team started Sunday's race from the 32nd position, working on the car early to try to get it better to move forward.

 

The crew made good adjustments as the No. 38 Ford Mustang slowly started to work its way up through the field. As the 400-mile event went on, Gilliland would start to fight the handling of the car, losing rear grip. In the final stage, the team made an adjustment that brought the No. 38 to life as Gilliland was running lap times close to those in the top-10. With no cautions to stack the field back up, Gilliland finished in 23rd.

"We struggled to find grip most of the day as the run went on," said Gilliland. "It's difficult to stay on top of the strategy or the track. We had a good plan and really tried to execute everything right. We really just needed another caution to bunch us up, I thought our No. 38 CITGARD Ford was fast at the end. I'm excited to get to Bristol this weekend and see what we can do."

 

Coming off of an eleventh top-ten finish last weekend in Darlington, Michael McDowell and the WISE-EV Charging Ford Mustang team started the race from the 23rd position

 

Starting the race tight but building loose, the team took the major part of stage one working on the handling, and gaining track position. With gains both on the track through multiple restarts as well as execution on pit lane, the team would claw up, and start stage two from the lead after a strategy call. Maintaining good track position through stage two into stage three, the handling began to fall off, as the car struggled for overall lack of grip. With a long green run to the end, the WISE-EV Charging team would finish the race in the 16th position.

 

"Everyone was fighting the track conditions today, and I felt like we had a good amount of speed with our WISE-EV Charging Ford Mustang, but were just a bit behind with track position and chasing the handling throughout the race. We started off stage two up front with the strategy call, and it worked to our advantage. When more rubber was laid down, we just struggled for grip through stage three to the end."

 

FRM will head to Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway this weekend for NASCAR Cup and Truck Series action starting on Thursday night.

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