Frankie Muniz to Compete in NASCAR Xfinity Series Race at Daytona


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - Frankie Muniz, the screen actor best known for his starring role in the sitcom 'Malcom in the Middle' will make his debut in the NASCAR Xfinity Series this weekend at Daytona International Speedway. It'll be Muniz's second visit to Daytona Beach as a professional stock car driver.

Muniz will drive the #35 Ford for Joey Gase Motorsports at Daytona, as well as in a part-time schedule in the Xfinity Series circuit in 2024. He raced a full-time schedule last year in the ARCA Menards Series, the fourth-highest tier of competition in NASCAR. He finished in the top ten in half of those 20 races, with a best finish of fifth at Michigan International Speedway. He ranked fourth in the series standings. He finished 11th at Daytona last February, running during the top ten for parts of the race.

The promotion from ARCA to Xfinity, NASCAR's second-highest series, will be an important test of Muniz's chops as a racer. He began to dabble in racing back in 2004, when he ran the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, California. In 2021 he began to pivot away from acting and toward racing full-time, when he began testing ARCA cars with hopes of earning a ride. He's now serious about having a long-term career in NASCAR, and not being seen as an actor who races as an affluent indulgence.

At 38 years old, Muniz is especially old for a budding NASCAR competitor; most of his competition for top rookie honors are in their early 20's or even their teens. Though he brings better name recognition than even the top drivers in the NASCAR Cup Series, Muniz still spent most of the offseason working to finalize a deal to keep him racing in 2024. Joey Gase Racing, his new home, earned one top-ten in the Xfinity Series last year in a full-year effort with eleven drivers splitting time. Muniz will have to face teams such as Joe Gibbs Racing, Stewart-Haas Racing, and JR Motorsports, all of whom have more financial and developmental resources than his own squad. That being said, Daytona International Speedway's draft-heavy racing style tends to increase parity and give smaller teams their best shot of the year.