Monday, Nov 28

2022 FRM Homestead Race Report: Smith Advances to Championship Four, McDowell and Gilliland survive Ill Handling Cars in Homestead

2022 FRM Homestead Race Report: Smith Advances to Championship Four, McDowell and Gilliland survive Ill Handling Cars in Homestead NK Photography Photo

Front Row Motorsports (FRM) traveled south to Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway with only three races to go in the 2022 NASCAR Season.

 

Zane Smith and the No. 38 Speeco Ford Performance F-150 advanced to the Championship Four with a second-place finish in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race.

 

Todd Gilliland fought for grip in his EO South Florida No. 38 Ford Mustang en route to a 31st-place finish.

 

Michael McDowell and his Love’s Travel Stops/Speedco team fought a tight race car for the majority of Sunday evening's race to finish in the 16th position. 

 

Zane Smith and the No. 38 Speedco team entered Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series playoff race with an 18-point advantage on the cutline, hoping to punch their ticket to the Championship race in Phoenix. 

 

After qualifying was rained out on Friday afternoon, the lineup was set by the NASCAR rulebook, which put the No. 38 in the 6th position to start the 134-lap race. 

 

Smith made quick work in the first stage, racing up into second for much-needed stage points. The No.38 team followed that performance up with a fast pit stop, gaining the lead to start stage two which allowed Smith to pick up the stage victory.

 

In the final stage, the No. 38 Speedco team tried to short pit the final stage to give them the best possible chance at the win, but ultimately Smith came out in second and would finish the 200-mile race in that position.

“We did exactly what we needed to do and we're racing for a championship in Phoenix," said Smith. "I am proud of my guys, and everyone at Front Row Motorsports for all of the work they've put in to get us to this point. Hopefully, the third time is the charm, I am excited for Phoenix."

 

Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 EO South Florida Ford had to start from the rear for Sunday's 400-mile race after a steering rack issue was found during practice and qualifying on Saturday.

 

Early in the race, Gilliland fought an ill-handling race car, lacking rear grip. The team fought hard throughout the entire day but after falling a few laps down during pit stops

 

In the final stage, Gilliland was knocking off his fastest times of the race, running lap times equivalent to the top 15 but unfortunately, track position was hard to come by and Gilliland would finish in 31st.

"It was a long and hard-fought day," said Gilliland. "The No. 38 EO South Flordia team worked really hard to get the car handling where we needed it to be, unfortunately, it was just too late for us to make up any real track position. Thank you to everyone at EO South Florida for coming out to the track this weekend, I'm excited to get to Martinsville."

 

Michael McDowell and his Love’s Travel Stops/Speedco team started the weekend fighting a tight race car through practice and qualifying, starting the race from the 18th position. However, set up well for the race, the team made sure to have the right changes and preparations in place to advance the car through the race.

 

 

The first two stages were a bit of a struggle, as the car started the beginning of each run tighter than it was the day prior, but building very free as the race progressed. With handling woes becoming more of an issue as the track gained rubber, the Love’s Travel Stops/Speedco team would lose a lap early into stage two, making the race that more challenging.

 

Falling back to the high 20’s, the team would take every opportunity to make the car tighter for Michael, as the race trended to that of a long green flag race. With each stop, the team gained a great amount of speed, and clawed their way back into the top twenty. Within 30 laps left in the race, got the free pass to get back on the lead lap, and took their last chance to work on the car.

 

Fighting back from the rear of the field after getting the wave around, McDowell would run his best laps of the race, on par with times ran in the top-10. With a good handling car, he would fight his way up into 16th, less than a tenth of a second away from a top-15 finish.

 

 

“It was a very tough race. We struggled with the balance really early, and the car was very dodgy as rubber was being laid down but gained speed as we got into stage three. We worked hard and didn’t give up all race, and just finishing outside of the top-15 is a good result given the adversity we faced today. ”

 

While Zane Smith has the weekend off, both Todd Gilliland and teammate Michael McDowell will race this weekend in Virginia, as the Cup Series visits the Martinsville speedway with practice/qualifying Saturday, and the race on Sunday.

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