At the rate he is going, Zane Smith will progress to the NASCAR Cup Series in the not-too-distant future based solely on his performance in the truck series.

However, the timeline that previously landed him there by 2026 was likely accelerated by developments completely out of his hands, the latest of which is the Tyler Reddick news.

Zane Smith seems destined for a successful career in NASCAR

Front Row Motorsports driver Zane Smith shares a laugh on the grid during qualifying for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Toyota 200 at WWT Raceway on June 3, 2022 in Madison, Illinois. | Jeff Curry/Getty Images

Zane Smith was already a rising star in NASCAR, and nothing we saw in 2022 deterred us. Smith is the out-of-control points leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series with one regular-season race to go, which adds to the series’ second-straight finishes.

The 23-year-old driver of the #38 Front Row Motorsports Ford has already made 61 truck starts, winning six times. Additionally, he ran half a season in the Xfinity Series in 2019, posting seven top-10 results in 10 appearances.

And, of course, there was the emergency appearance this season for RFK Racing when Chris Buescher tested positive for COVID-19. Smith drove the #17 Ford to a respectable 17e place on its Cup Series debut at World Wide Technology Raceway.

The Huntington Beach, Calif. native already has a resume worthy of the next level, but Front Row doesn’t have an Xfinity program. The elegant manner in which he fought eventual winner Parker Kligerman down the stretch in Mid-Ohio serves to confirm that he has the maturity to succeed and be a good representative of a team.

That door to the next phase of its career, as well as the one that follows it, may have already opened, regardless of how the rest of the truck series plays out.

Landon Cassill’s misfortune may present an opportunity

Finances and finish lines crossed last week when Voyager Digital filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy following a cash slump for the cryptocurrency lender. Voyager officials revealed they had issued a notice of default for non-payment of a loan totaling more than $650 million, Reuters reported.

The development is potentially bad for NASCAR veteran Landon Cassill, who is in his first season with Kaulig Racing. Voyager sponsored nine of the 17 No. 10 Chevy Xfinity Series starts, and crypto-related firms Carnomaly and StormX, each with a Voyager tie, were also race sponsors.

With Cassill, teetering on the playoff line, and Kaulig Racing likely covered for this season, the driver obviously looks at risk of losing crucial support in 2023. Given the expense of running two cars in the Cup Series plus one of Xfinity’s most successful operations, Kaulig should understandably consider his options if Cassill can’t lock in a sponsorship package for next season.

Given that the rest of his Xfinity squad consists of defending champion Daniel Hemric and current points leader AJ Allmendinger, Kaulig is a coveted landing spot. The opportunity would suit Zane Smith perfectly. In fact, Kaulig called on him last season at Dover when Justin Haley tested positive for COVID-19.

Although he’s now in a Ford, Smith has driven mostly Chevrolets in NASCAR, so the automaker would almost certainly favor a Kaulig-Smith marriage.

Zane Smith’s path to the NASCAR Cup Series has become clearer

Tuesday’s Tyler Reddick news will ripple through the NASCAR Cup Series for weeks, if not months. His decision to switch to 23XI Racing in 2014 opens up the #8 Chevy to Richard Childress Racing.

Siege speculation will result in many names thrown into the conversation. Zane Smith would be fine, especially if he comes off a strong Xfinity Series season. And the bond would be even stronger if this season Xfinity were part of Kaulig Racing, which has enjoyed a productive technical alliance with Richard Childress Racing almost since the day Matt Kaulig created his team.

Obviously, there are so many moving parts that it’s all just spitting. And given that Reddick has carved his way far into the future, that means Smith hasn’t already made different plans for 2023 and beyond.

Still, it’s a viable scenario that could benefit all parties involved.

All statistics courtesy of Race reference.

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