Frankie Muniz is ready to rev up his engine and pursue his dream of a professional stock car racing championship and he will officially be able to do so starting in February at Daytona International Speedway.
Muniz, the former child actor who starred in «Malcolm in the Middle,» «Big Fat Liar» and «Agent Cody Banks,» announced in January that he would compete on the ARCA Menards Series full-time beginning this year, beginning with the Race. from Daytona on February 18. He will race the No. 30 Ford Mustang for Rette Jones Racing.
The 37-year-old Muniz may be a newcomer to the ARCA Series, but he’s no rookie when it comes to auto racing. He got his start in single-seater racing in the mid-2000s before joining the stock car scene.
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He raced in Formula BMW USA and Champ Car Atlantic Series. He said his ride was different from most runners.
«To be honest, I don’t have a typical story of people becoming racing drivers,» Muniz explained to Fox News Digital. «I was just a racing fan. I think it’s one of those things people say, like ‘Oh, I want to be a racing driver,’ but how do you really become a racing driver if your family is never involved? in that? and all that.
«So, I started when I was 19 years old. I did the celebrity/pro race in Long Beach, California, and I won it. And then a pro team asked me to come just for fun to test. I was scared out of my mind that popped that day, like getting into a proper race car. But I immediately had speed, so we knew the natural ability was there. And then once I got in the car, I was like, ‘Man, this is what I want to do.’ But it’s one of those things, even then, you still have to, you know, to get to the next level. It’s a lot harder than just getting in the car and going fast. There are so many aspects that need to come together and I just worked hard on it.»
Muniz said he never thought he’d be competing, but he believes it’s what he was meant to do.
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«It’s not something I thought I’d ever do, but it happened,» he said. “And now that I’m doing it, even as I got out of the car last weekend, I called my wife and said, ‘This is exactly what I was supposed to do.’ I feel more comfortable in the car, even though I have, on ovals and stuff, very little experience. It just feels where I’m supposed to be and that’s a great feeling.»
Muniz said he initially planned to join the ARCA Menards Series last year, but had trouble getting sponsorships.
«It’s been like a year and a half of preparation. I decided that I wanted to compete again and the plan was for me to participate in ARCA last year,» Muniz told Fox News Digital. So, I did some late model stuff in late 2021 and did a bunch of testing with the intention of going to ARCA Racing. Okay, the sponsorship fell through, trying to put all the pieces together with the team and everything. Well, it just didn’t happen.»
Muniz said he was happy, in a way, not to have raced in 2022 because he realized he still had a lot to learn about stock car racing.
«I know there will be tracks that I struggle on this year and there will be some tracks that I will excel at. I just have to take advantage of those and learn as quickly as possible on the others.» He explained.
For Muniz, competing in professional stock car racing is about more than just achieving his own dreams. He has bigger goals than that.
The New Jersey native, who earned two Golden Globe nominations and one Emmy Award nomination as a child, told Fox News Digital that being a father rejuvenated him. He said that he wanted to show his son that he too could make his own wild dreams come true.
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«You know, it’s funny because I’m actually a very stressed person. I like to be busy, but I almost get so busy that I can’t even get the things I want done,» Muniz said. «It’s just my personality. That being said, when I had my son, I was sitting in the hospital and looking at him and trying to think about what kind of father he was going to be or what he was going to grow up thinking about his father. And me, I’ve accomplished so much in my life, right? I was an actor. Emmy, Golden Globe nominee. Like, you wouldn’t believe it, but I was. I raced cars in the past, I was in the band, I toured the everyone. I owned a lot of businesses. So, I did a lot, in the past. But at that time, I thought, I’m nothing.
«I don’t want to be home alone. I wanted him to see me reaching a goal or working hard to achieve something and find success in it or not, right, because obviously there’s a lesson to be learned that not everything is going to happen the same way. way». as you expect, right?, but I wanted him to grow up in that environment where he saw me trying to succeed at something.
«And when I look back at all the things I’ve done, racing is the only thing I felt like I had unfinished business. Obviously, I’d love to continue acting and I’m still doing things here and there.» but it is not something that depends on me. You need producers, writers, everything has to come together to offer me a role or whatever. And I can work so hard as an actor, really get into character and give what I think and think is my best performance and you go, ‘It was weak.'»
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Muniz admitted that living in the Caribbean or moving to Costa Rica and just surfing all day sounds «really appealing,» but it wasn’t the personality of him and his wife to just sit around and do nothing. He said that when he commits to something he gives it «100%.»
Muniz understood that he really only has one season to prove himself as a driver.
«I want to do it for my family. I want to do it for myself,» Muniz said. «I want to do it because the joy that I have… I mean, racing has so many ups and downs. But those ups and downs, like there’s nothing to compare it to.»
He added that during one of his tests he finished as one of the 10 fastest on the track.
Muniz has had a brief racing career. He competed in the 2004 and 2005 Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in California. He participated in more than a dozen races in the 2006 Formula BMW USA season and in 2007 he participated in the Champ Car Atlantic Series.
In 2022, Muniz tested at Daytona in the ARCA Menards Series.
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Nick Sanchez is the defending ARCA Menards Series champion.