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January 25, 2024

2024 season preview: Front Row Motorsports


Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland walk down the grid.
Tim Nwachukwu
Getty Images

Editor’s Note: Today’s Front Row Motorsports preview continues NASCAR.com’s countdown of team previews for the 2024 Cup Series season.

FRONT ROW MOTORSPORTS

Manufacturer: Ford
Engine: Roush-Yates Engines
Driver-crew chief pairings: Michael McDowell-Travis Peterson (No. 34), Todd Gilliland-Ryan Bergenty (No. 38)

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Team outlook: After making the playoffs for the second time in three seasons, 2024 should see McDowell continue his upward climb of success in the NASCAR Cup Series. But Gilliland may be in a make-or-break season, given he’s finished 28th in each of his first two seasons with Front Row Motorsports.

MICHAEL MCDOWELL, NO. 34 FORD

Experience: Enters his 17th Cup season in 2024; 465 career starts with two wins, nine top-five and 37 top-10 finishes
2023 stats: 1 win (Indianapolis Grand Prix), 2 top fives, 8 top 10s
2024 championship odds (DraftKings): 200-1

Outlook: McDowell has become somewhat of a late bloomer in his Cup career. His first-ever Cup win was in the sport’s biggest race of the year, the Daytona 500, in 2021 at the age of 36. He added a second win on the Indianapolis road course in 2023.

McDowell has become quite the prolific road course driver as well as doing well on longer superspeedways such as Daytona and Talladega. Even though he’ll be 40 in December, it will not be out of the question if the Phoenix native wins two or even more races in 2024.

BOLD PREDICTION: This has the potential to be McDowell’s best season ever in the Cup Series. Not only does he make the playoffs once again, but we can also see him reaching the Round of 8 – and maybe the Championship 4 if all the chips fall his way.

RELATED: Michael Mcdowell eager to build on Front Row’s strides

TODD GILLILAND, NO. 38 FORD

Experience: Two full-time seasons; 1 top five, 6 top 10s
2023 stats: 4 top 10s
2024 championship odds (DraftKings): 700-1

Outlook: Gilliland will be facing a bit of judgment year on if he can take a step forward in development. Gilliland will have to make a significant improvement in his performance and show results somewhat similar to his FRM counterpart if he wants to continue forward with the No. 38 team after the 2024 campaign.

What is odd about Gilliland is he dominated the ARCA Series (22 wins) and was a standout in the Truck Series (3 wins, 27 top-five and 53 top-10 finishes in 94 career starts). However, making the quick jump from Trucks to the Cup Series in the first year of the Next Gen car is a good indicator of why Gilliland has struggled to date to produce solid results.

RELATED: Gilliland’s career stats | Top 10 NASCAR Cup Series breakout candidates for 2024

BOLD PREDICTION: Unless Gilliland makes significant progress to turn around his performance, he may not even finish the season. Instead, team owner Bob Jenkins may decide to bring in a number of free agents or young drivers looking for a break to see if he can find a more viable candidate than Gilliland in the No. 38. But if Gilliland can indeed turn things around and starts rattling off more top-fives and top-10s, it should assure him of some job security potentially.

NASCAR.com 2024 team previews schedule

Jan. 15: Legacy Motor Club
Jan. 16: Spire Motorsports
Jan. 17: Kaulig Racing
Jan. 18: Wood Brothers Racing
Jan. 22: Rick Ware Racing
Jan. 23: Richard Childress Racing
Jan. 24: Stewart-Haas Racing
Jan. 25: Front Row Motorsports
Jan. 26: JTG Daugherty Racing
Jan. 29: Trackhouse Racing
Jan. 30: RFK Racing
Feb. 6: 23XI Racing
Feb. 7: Joe Gibbs Racing
Feb. 8: Hendrick Motorsports
Feb. 9: Team Penske

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