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Debate

Is SVG's takeover a blessing or a curse for Trackhouse's rookie? Share your thoughts!

Sometimes the greatest victories come after the toughest battles, and so was the case for Zane Smith. Zane Smith’s battle as a rookie this year in the NASCAR Cup Series has been a challenging journey, marked by ups and downs. However, the Nashville race saw him make it to P2, becoming a defining moment of his career. 

Surprisingly, he was neck to neck with two-time cup champion Joey Logano and one of NASCAR’s best drivers, Reddick. But is one standout race result enough to keep him in the competition, or rather, is he doing enough to be worthy of his seat?

Zane Smith’s best finish can’t overcome a tough season

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Zane Smith’s Nashville race undoubtedly was stellar. He ended up getting his career-best Cup series finish! However, the races before cannot be overlooked, and the season has been incredibly unkind to him. Apart from Nashville, his only best finish was at Daytona 500 when he finished 13th. And since then he has had only three top-20 finishes and sits last on the point standings. 

Poll of the day

Do you think Trackhouse Racing is making the right move by potentially demoting their rookie?

Yes, SVG is more experienced

No, the rookie deserves more time

It's too soon to tell

Trackhouse Racing is making a mistake

Nashville came as a happy surprise, even to him. But that too is not because of his raw speed but factors like rain, multiple cautions, and race strategy that helped him reach there. But at this point, the team would take anything they can! In Chicago, things did look better, and he finished 17th. But is that good enough? Given that McDowell is taking over the 71-car next season, Smith is actually without a ride for the coming year, and his hopes lie with Trackhouse Racing buying a charter.

But even if they did, Zane Smith isn’t the only one competing for that seat. Shane van Gisbergen also wants that coveted seat and by the way his season is unfolding, the tides are definitely on his side. He, after all, has three Xfinity wins this season! And even though SVG has not been particularly racing the ovals well, his racing prowess can be seen on the road courses. And for any team, just one win can be enough to make the playoffs. 

In fact, even Bob Pockrass said that if and when Trackhouse buys the charter, SVG seems to be a more plausible choice. He said, “It still must decide whether it feels Shane van Gisbergen would be better off with another season in Xfinity. That would leave Zane Smith in that car, but the more likely scenario is van Gisbergen in a Cup car and Smith either looking for a ride while under contract or loaned to another team like he is this year with Spire.” 

via Getty

Well, it remains to be seen what exactly will happen and as for fans; they do feel a demotion is on the way for Zane Smith!

Zane Smith’s demotion? Fans forecast a tough time ahead with SVG gaining ground

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In Reddit, an entire slew of conversations ensued about where exactly could Smith go for the next season and about how SVG is a tough competition for him. Most fans believe that Shane van Gisbergen will make it to the seat at Trackhouse Racing. One fan said,SVG is definitely getting that 3rd Trackhouse seat over him. Kaulig is gonna have a few open seats in Xfinity and I think Zane will have to accept the demotion for now, he could win on Saturdays and that’s better than what he’s doing on Sunday right now.”

SVG, while not great at ovals, cannot be underestimated. Three wins in Xfinity is no simple achievement and even cup drivers like Larson are saying they have learned something from him during the road course races. One fan said, “I think a lot of people here underestimate him. He’s green on ovals, but I feel like when he gets the hang of them he’ll be a force.” Another user highlighted the same sentiment, saying, He’s a good driver, and he’s an aggressive driver. Once he gets the hang of these cars and ovals, I think he’ll be pretty dominant.” And given his run, it does look possible. 

It is true that Zane Smith is far from being a poor driver—after all, he clinched the 2022 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship with Front Row Motorsports. So some fans believe he still has several potential avenues ahead. One fan had the perfect advice for him. He said, There’s still a few options: Trackhouse could do a similar loan that they have with Spire this year with Kaulig next year, he could go to the Kaulig Xfinity series car that SVG is currently in again similar to the SVG deal between Trackhouse and kaulig, Trackhouse could release him from his deal and he could go to one of the open FRM cars or another open ride or back down to Xfinity or trucks with another team…..”

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And many believe it’s just a lack of being on track. And maybe Zane Smith just needs to be more active in both Xfinity and on Cup series. One fan highlighted,Zane just needs to race. Throw him in Trucks, Xfinity, and Cup and have him do every triple/double weekend. Give him 60+ starts for 2025. Kaulig for Xfinity/Cup and Spire for Trucks.”

Many believe that SVG is the frontrunner for the new charter, which could mean that Smith might be demoted or left without a seat. What are your thoughts on how this will play out?