Front Row Motorsports acquiring third NASCAR Cup charter, expanding team for 2025

Front Row Motorsports is acquiring a third charter and will expand to fielding three full-time NASCAR Cup Series teams beginning with the 2025 season.

Front Row revealed its expansion plans Wednesday, one day after Stewart-Haas Racing announced it would close down at the end of the 2024 season and sell its four charters. Charters are NASCAR’s version of franchise licenses that guarantee the holders certain monetary rewards. Much like franchises in other sports, charters are frequently bought and sold.

Although Front Row did not state so on Wednesday, one of SHR’s charters has been sold to Front Row, according to people briefed on the situation but not authorized to speak publicly. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

“We have a very positive outlook on the future of NASCAR and as the sport plans for success, so do we,” Front Row Motorsports owner Bob Jenkins said in a news release. “Today that means having a plan for expanding back to three cars in the NASCAR Cup Series. I always have the vision to continue to grow and improve our team and that commitment and desire never changes. I am committed to the sport and its passionate fans and partners.”

Front Row general manager Jerry Freeze recently told The Athletic the team was looking at expanding and hoped to add a third charter.

“I think we’re always looking to expand, to be honest with you, and I think this year there’s a lot of chatter about that,” Freeze said. “Bob has this desire to be three cars. We were at one time, and I think he had a lot of regret that we sold the one charter we had.”

Freeze said in a statement Wednesday he believes the organization will produce three competitive programs “out of the box” for the 2025 season.

“We haven’t lost sight of what our goals for 2024 are, to get our teams into the playoffs for both series,” he said. “If we can keep up the speed on track and have a little bit of luck to come our way, we can achieve our objectives.”

With the addition of a third car, Front Row now has two drivers to sign to fill out its lineup. That lineup currently consists of Michael McDowell and Todd Gilliland, but with McDowell having already announced that he’s leaving Front Row for Spire Motorsports in 2025, the team must replace him.

Gilliland is in the last year of his contract with Front Row, but both he and Freeze told The Athletic they were optimistic an extension would be reached.

“We’re definitely trying to work towards that,” Gilliland said. “I’d say that’s probably the extent I can say, but, yeah, that’s definitely what we’re working towards.”

Said Freeze: “I feel good about where we’re at with Todd and the future with Todd. We’re really, really, really happy with the progression he’s made this year. His speed on the racetrack is much improved and we’re really happy with the job he’s doing.”

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(Photo: Jared C. Tilton / Getty Images)

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