- Frankie Muniz revealed that he is 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 considers himself a full-time driver who also acts on the side.
Plenty of professional athletes have turned to acting after they retire from sports. Frankie Muniz is going in the opposite direction.
The actor and former “Malcolm in the Middle” star is ramping up his racing career, setting his sights on joining NASCAR’s third division next year with hopes of reaching the top-level Cup series soon after that.
During an interview with Dave Moody of SiriusXM NASCAR RadioMuniz revealed that he is now in talks to join teams at various NASCAR levels.
“We’re talking to a bunch of teams, both in ARCA and 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 hopes to join ARCA or the Truck Series to start.
“I want to be realistic, too,” Muniz said. “Obviously, I haven’t done a ton of oval racing. So everywhere I am going to go next year is going to be new. So in that same sense I want to move up quickly, I [also] I don’t want to throw myself off the deep end… I want to make sure I am ready. It’s all about putting the best deal together with a truck ride or ARCA ride…. That is the goal, to be in a truck or do ARCA national or both.”
Muniz, 36, grew up a race fan and has been driving competitively since 2006.
“I like to say now that I am acting on the side,” Muniz said during an appearance in the FS1 booth 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 just do it halfway. If I want to make it to any level of NASCAR — ARCA, Trucks, whatever it is — I’m racing against people who have been doing it since they were six years old, and I’ve gotta do it quickly.”
Moving to oval racing is not as easy as some may believe
Muniz is now racing pro late models on short tracks to learn oval racing. He is also scheduled to do a one-off ARCA race this year, which he admits is an entirely different beast from the open-wheel and road racing he has been competing in. Some of the best drivers in the world have noted that the transition is more challenging than it sounds.
Formula One racer Daniel Ricciardo, who grew up a NASCAR fan in Australia, spoke to Insider earlier this season about how tough it would be to make the switch to oval racing.
“I’d like to drive an oval just to kind of see what it’s like, but I probably wouldn’t want to compete because I just, I don’t think I’ll be competitive and wouldn’t probably do it justice, Ricciardo told Insider. “A road course or something would be fun, but I’ll walk before I can run. It’s such a different discipline that I’ll want to do some testing and kind of see where I’m at. And let’s say if that’s all went well and I had good confidence in the car, then, you know, I might put my hand up, 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 likes to race NASCAR stock cars on his simulator, although he admitted it would take a long time to get good at the sport in real life.
“It is a completely different discipline,” Verstappen said. “For [F1 drivers] to get good at it, it will also take quite a bit of time. You know, it’s not easy,” later adding that a driver really needs “to grow up with it” to get good.
You can see Muniz talk about the move to NASCAR and oval racing here:
—SiriusXM NASCAR Radio (Ch. 90) (@SiriusXMNASCAR) July 13, 2022