- Frankie Muniz has revealed he’s in talks with teams in NASCAR’s second and third divisions.
- Muniz has been racing cars for over 15 years and wants to reach the NASCAR Cup Series.
- The TV star now sees himself as a full-time driver who also acts on the side.
Many professional athletes have turned to acting after retiring from the sport. Frankie Muniz is going the opposite direction.
The actor and former ‘Malcolm in the Middle’ star is accelerating his racing career and is aiming to join NASCAR’s Third Division next year in hopes of reaching the top-tier cup series soon after.
During an interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio’s Dave MoodyMuniz revealed that he is now in talks to join teams at various NASCAR levels.
“We’re talking to a group of teams, both in ARCA and in trucks, Xfinity,” Muniz told Moody.
The Xfinity and Truck Series are the second and third tiers of NASCAR. The ARCA Menard Series is also considered a “minor league” of stock car racing, often used to develop drivers for the NASCAR series.
Muniz later clarified that he hoped to join ARCA or the Truck series to begin with.
“I want to be realistic too,” Muniz said. “Obviously I haven’t done a ton of races on ovals. So wherever I go next year it will be new. So along the same lines I want to progress quickly, I [also] I don’t want to jump into the deep end…I want to make sure I’m ready. It’s about finding the best deal with a truck or ARCA trip… That’s the goal, being in a truck or doing the national ARCA or both.”
Muniz, 36, grew up as a racing fan and has been driving competitively since 2006.
“I like to say now that I’m acting on the side,” Muniz said during an appearance on the FS1 stand during the NASCAR All-Star Open race earlier this year. “I want racing to be my focus. It’s one of those things you have to do 100%. You can’t do it halfway. If I want to get to any level of NASCAR – ARCA, Trucks, whatever – I race against people who’ve been doing it since I was six, and I have to do it fast.”
Switching to oval racing isn’t as easy as some might think
Muniz now rides late pro models on short tracks to learn oval racing. There are also plans to do a one-off ARCA race this year, which he admits is an entirely different beast from the open-wheel and road races he’s entered. Some of the best riders in the world have noted that the transition is harder than it looks.
Formula 1 racer Daniel Ricciardo, who grew up as a NASCAR fan in Australia, told Insider earlier this season how difficult it would be to make the switch to oval racing.
“I would like to drive an oval just to see what it’s like, but I probably wouldn’t want to compete because I don’t think I’d be competitive and probably wouldn’t do it justice,” Ricciardo told Insider. “A road course or something would be fun, but I’ll be walking before I can run. It’s such a different discipline that I’ll want to do some testing and see where I’m at. And let’s say if it all went down Went well and I had good confidence in the car, so, you know, I could raise my hand, but I wouldn’t jump to conclusions. It’s a very different beast.”
In a recent interview with Dan Katz of ‘Pardon My Take’, F1 champion Max Verstappen revealed that he enjoys racing NASCAR stock cars on his simulator, although he admitted it would take a long time to become good at this sport in real life.
“It’s a completely different discipline,” Verstappen said. “For [F1 drivers] to become good, it will also take quite a bit of time. You know, it’s not easy”, adding later that a pilot really needs to “grow with it” to become good.
You can catch Muniz talking about the move to NASCAR and oval racing here:
—SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) July 13, 2022