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Frankie Muniz Has Tough Introduction to Xfinity Series with Daytona Accident

Frankie Muniz had a tough introduction to Xfinity Series competition at Daytona, after getting involved in a multi-car accident on the 37th lap of his series debut. Photo Credit: Craig White, TobyChristie.com

One of the most intriguing storylines to unfold during Speedweeks at Daytona International Speedway was the NASCAR Xfinity Series debut of Frankie Muniz, a Hollywood superstar most notably known for his leading role in the 2000s sitcom ‘Malcolm in The Middle’.

At 38 years old, Muniz is looking to break onto the scene of NASCAR’s National Series, competing part-time in the NASCAR Xfinity Series in 2024, after competing full-time in the ARCA Menards Series for Rette Jones Racing, last season.

In doing so, Muniz, with support from Ford Performance, got the nod to compete in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, joining forces with Joey Gase Motorsports to pilot the No. 35 Ford Mustang Dark Horse, the first event in a multi-race deal with the organization.

Having acquired owner points from Sam Hunt Racing during the off-season, Muniz and Joey Gase Motorsports were able to fall back on his points position and earn a provisional into the 38-car field, leaving him to start at the rear of the field. His teammate, and boss, Joey Gase, wasn’t as lucky, missing the show in his No. 53 Chevrolet.

Unfortunately, the introduction to the NASCAR Xfinity Series only lasted 37 laps for the Scottsdale, Arizona native, who got caught up in a multi-car pileup in the opening laps of the race’s second stage, making significant contact with the rear-end of Anthony Alfredo’s No. 5 Chevrolet, causing extensive damage to the entry.

For Muniz, who has been a beacon of light since first getting behind the wheel of an ARCA Menards Series entry last season, the early-race incident at Daytona is a tough pill to swallow for multiple reasons, but moreso because, at the time of the crash, he was in the process of trying to take it easy and make it to the end of the race.

“After that last cycle of pit stops, after the stage break, we decided to go back to the back. We wanted to just keep riding around a little bit to get some experience. Our whole thing was just to be there at the end, so we were trying to be as safe as possible,” said Muniz. “There were a bunch of pretty fast cars behind us, so I was just staying on the inside letting them go by and before I knew it I just saw a bunch of smoke and tons of cars just going all over the place. I thought I picked the right side to go through, but I just happened to go in the grass and the grass is still so wet from all the rain, so I just lost the rear and ran into someone.”

Although a vastly different animal from the NASCAR Xfinity Series, Muniz was able to avoid the carnage in his two superspeedway starts in the ARCA Menards Series last season, finishing 11th at Daytona, and ninth later in the season at Talladega Superspeedway.

“It’s bad luck really, because that’s what getting through something like that is — you get lucky if you make it. Unfortunate, because we were literally trying to be cautious,” Muniz reiterated. “Even the whole first run we were chilling where we were and just kind of getting comfortable. I just did my first real pit stop ever. I had hoped to do more than that to get more experience, so it’s unfortunate.”

Despite being one of the most senior drivers on the Xfinity Series grid at 38 years old, Muniz has just as much, if not more, energy and passion for racing as the teenagers and 20-somethings he’s competing against in the second-tier series.

The next step for Muniz, as far as progressing in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career, is experience, something the driver hopes to gain a lot of throughout the 2024 season, as he still aspires to compete in the NASCAR Cup Series before he calls it a career.

“Joey Gase Motorsports worked really hard. Obviously, they’re trying to teach me really quickly,” Muniz continued. “I’ve got so much to learn, but unfortunately we’re done early, and by the looks of it, it’s gonna be another crash-filled race, and if we could have just finished we probably would have had a really good finish, but it is what it is. I hate the term ‘that’s racing’. It’s my least favorite term in the history of life, but it is especially here.  We didn’t do anything wrong, we just got caught up in whatever happened.”

Following his accident on Monday, Muniz confirmed to Anthony Damcott of Frontstretch that he would be returning to the NASCAR Xfinity Series for the fourth event of the season at Phoenix Raceway. No further details have been released regarding his racing schedule in 2024.

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