Youth and experience will collide at Front Row Motorsports for the 2020 NASCAR Cup Series season.
The Ford Performance-powered organization revealed its driver lineup Thursday as Michael McDowell will return to the No. 34 Ford Mustang, while John Hunter Nemechek will join the Sunoco Rookie of the Year battle in the No. 38 Ford Mustang. FRM will pivot back to a two-car operation.
McDowell will return with crew chief Drew Blickensderfer, while Nemechek links back up with Seth Barbour after working with him for the final three races of the 2019 season while subbing for Matt Tifft in the No. 36.
“Front Row has been getting better and better every season,” McDowell told NASCAR.com. “A big part of that this year for us on the 34 car was Drew Blickensderfer. So just having a second year with him, going back to the same race tracks and with the same package. …I feel like we can build on some of the momentum we have from last year and we’ve been able to really improve our program in the offseason.”
McDowell earned a handful of team-best marks during the 2019 season, including earning the best qualifying position from FRM at 19 races in 2019. The 12-year Cup Series driver also earned two top-five finishes, including a fifth-place finish in the 2019 Daytona 500.
“Michael is a veteran leader who is determined to win in the Cup Series,” said Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins. “He gives our organization the experience we need to continue to get better. Most importantly, both Michael and John Hunter also fit our team values and are tremendous assets to our partners on-and-off the track.”
Nemechek moves up from the NASCAR Xfinity Series where he placed seventh in the 2019 driver standings with GMS Racing. The 22-year-old will join a stacked rookie battle alongside Christopher Bell, Cole Custer and Tyler Reddick.
The goal is simple for Nemechek in his maiden full-time voyage at NASCAR’s highest level.
“I want to run every lap,” Nemechek added. “You’re not learning anything if you’re on jack stands. It’s more of a learning year for me. If we can go out to Daytona or Talladega and have a shot to win or run up front with Michael or whatever it may be, that would be great.”
“At Front Row Motorsports it’s all about maximizing your opportunities and utilizing your resources to the max to have the best performance that you can,” he added.
Nemechek’s resume includes six NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series victories and one Xfinity Series triumph.
“We are looking to the future with a young talent like John Hunter Nemechek,” said FRM owner Bob Jenkins. “John Hunter impressed us at the end of last season, he comes from a racing family, and he’s a winning driver. We believe that we can grow with him in the years to come.”