Some rumors were going around Reddit that Garrett Smithley will be in line to take over the 38-car for Front Row Motorsports after Anthony Alfredo’s unsuccessful tenure is over. It looks as if these rumors are not super kosher, however, it makes for an interesting bit of speculation if there’s a kernel of truth. It’s also an example of the type of drivers teams like FRM should be targeting.
If this is true then it marks an end of a short era that should’ve never started with Alfredo. Obviously whatever funding he was able to secure for this ride dried up after they realized they were backing a bad horse. Alfredo was never ready to make the jump to Cup, and it was irresponsible to his career to do so.
Smithley is not any better by any means, but he’s at least a driver that is as developed as he’s probably going to be at this point. Alfredo is not void of talent, but he needed to stay in Xfinity and gain more experience. At this point, Smithley is beyond hooking on to a tier-1 program that will develop a 30-year old. To be fair, going to Front Row Motorsports would be a major break for a guy in his position. This would be the first team he’s ever raced for that has even won a race in NASCAR.
Smithley is an average talent who might be able to scrounge some decent finishes as his career enters his prime. With Front Row Motorsports possibly entering a new age of competition, it gives Smithley a chance to show if he’s at least a Cup-level talent.
This season for Rick Ware Racing, he hasn’t done anything to stand out against fellow drivers under that banner, but for the most part that might not mean anything. It’s hard to show any viable talent in the type of equipment RWR sends out weekly, but at least he’s not doing any worse than anyone else.
Overall, I think this is a good fit. I think in an ideal world they put Kaz Grala, Brett Moffitt, or Justin Allgaier to get the ride. Drivers who are Cup-level talent and have proven they deserve a shot at the next level, but are without deals to help get them to the next level. A journeyman driver like Smithley is also a good fit because this is a deal that a young drivers career won’t be put at risk, instead, it’s a guy who has ground for years and while he hasn’t shown tremendous talent, I still like to see guys get their shot.