I am not quite sure what the collective racing world expected of actor-turned-race-car-driver Frankie Muniz in his rookie season in the ARCA Menards Series, but I think for him to be sitting second in the championship standings after the opening seven races of the 2023 season is definitely better than anyone’s wildest expectations.
Despite sitting second in the ARCA Menards Series points, Muniz revealed recently that he may not run the full schedule if sponsorship doesn’t materialize to fill out the slate for his Rette Jones Racing team. But even with the sponsorship issues withstanding, Muniz stated a couple of weeks ago that he will “100% be racing,” next year. It is just a question as to what and where he’ll drive.
While his ARCA season is a situation that is questionable at the moment, one thing that isn’t questionable is that Muniz is eyeing a run at the NASCAR National Series level as early as next season, and he wants to make it to the NASCAR Cup Series before he ultimately hangs up the helmet.
“I know it’s a very lofty goal for me to set, but I want to race in the Cup Series,” Muniz said in a recent interview with Forbes. “I’m pretty sure every driver probably says that, but I really do. I’m 37 years old, and I’m getting into the sport of stock car racing. I definitely plan on moving up, and the plan is to move up to Xfinity or the Truck Series next year.”
After the proclamation of his desire to move from ARCA to NASCAR, Muniz stated that advancement to the NASCAR National Series level will certainly be contingent on how the remainder of his ARCA Menards Series rookie season goes.
At the end of the day, Muniz doesn’t want to make the move too soon and risk stunting his own development behind the wheel. He wants to compete and compete well.
While the native of Ridgewood, New Jersey has five top-10 finishes in his first seven ARCA Menards Series starts, he has yet to finish higher than sixth in ARCA competition. That’s not to say he’s underperforming — he’s not. But if Muniz gets to the mid-way point in the season, and starts clicking off some top-five finishes, the decision to move to the next level will become much more clear.
Until then, Muniz will continue to hone his craft behind the wheel of a stock car in the real world and in the Ford Performance racing sim.