2022 FRM Bristol II Race Report: Smith Nabs Twelfth Top-Five, McDowell Runs Strong and Gilliland Impresses at Bristol

Smith Nabs Twelfth Top-Five;

McDowell Runs Strong and Gilliland Impresses at Bristol


Front Row Motorsports (FRM) traveled to the Bristol Motor Speedway for more playoff racing as Zane Smith, Michael McDowell, and Todd Gilliland all saw action this weekend in Thunder Valley.


Zane Smith and the Speedco Ford F-150 team headed into Bristol looking to lock themselves into the final four in Phoenix, however left with a second place finish after leading a handful of laps late in the race after starting in the rear.


Todd Gilliland and the Long John Silver’s No. 38 Ford Mustang started in the rear of the field, in the 30th position, but battled all night long to finish in the top-20, in the eighteenth position.


Michael McDowell and the No. 34 Love’s Travel Stops, Luber Finer Ford Mustang team had the same result, starting in the top-twenty, running inside the top-ten all night long, but only barely missing out on a top-ten finish. 


Zane Smith came into Bristol Motor Speedway with a 24-point lead to the cutline to start the ‘Round of Eight’ for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Playoffs. 


The No. 38 Speedco crew had their work cut out for them to start the Thursday night event. With a seal breaking in the rear end during practice, Smith was unable to post a qualifying time and would start from the rear. 


Smith would work his way through traffic and play pit strategy to gain the lead with the laps winding down. Unfortunately, on a late-race restart, Smith would lose the lead and finish in second place.

“Track position was really hard to come by in Bristol,” said Smith. “I’m proud of my guys for playing the pit strategy right when it mattered most. We just got beat on a restart there and couldn’t get back to the lead. I’m always thankful for the support of Speedco and look forward to Talladega in a few weeks.”


Todd Gilliland and the No. 38 Long John Silver’s team started Saturday night’s 500-lap race in the 30th position but quickly started gaining track position throughout the early stages of the race.


Gilliland and the No. 38 crew worked hard all day, making the right adjustments to get the car better. Fighting inside the top 20, and top 10 a certain points through the night, Gilliland would get caught up in a wreck with nowhere to go, cutting a good day short. Gilliland stayed in the race though and fought back to 18th for the finish in Bristol.

“We had a fast Long John Silver’s Ford for a lot of the night,” said Gilliland. “it was fun getting to race inside the top 10, but also disappointing that we didn’t get the result to show our speed. That’s a product of racing on short tracks like Bristol, I am proud of my team for not giving up after we had that incident. Hopefully, we can carry this into Texas next weekend.”


Coming off of a solid run in Kansas, Michael McDowell and the Love’s Luber Finer Ford headed into Bristol for the second time of the season. After running well earlier in the year at the track, the team were looking to hit it big in Saturday’s night race.


Starting the race loose but building tighter as the race progressed, McDowell and his Love’s Luber Finer team played both strategy and handling changes to his advantage. Running between seventh and twelfth during the first two stages, the team started the final stage of the race in position to finish in the top-ten, with the car handling exactly to McDowell’s liking. With steering box issues beginning to arise in the closing laps, McDowell worked hard to preserve the car, but fight for every position. In the end, the team would finish just outside the top-ten in the eleventh position.


“Tonight was definitely a race of attrition. A lot of the other cars were running into issues, but we were lucky enough to be able to run hard but conserve our equipment. We had a good car though with good speed. While we fought steering issues in the last half of the race, I’m proud of how we we have run with our Love’s Luber Finer Ford.”


FRM will head to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend for NASCAR Cup action starting on Saturday.


Speedway Digest Staff
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