Frankie Muniz, best known as ‘Malcolm,’ starts NASCAR career
There might be a reboot on the horizon for actor Frankie Muniz, one aptly titled “Malcolm in the Middle of a Pileup.”
Muniz, who starred in “Malcolm in the Middle” and “Agent Cody Banks,” announced this week that he’s competing as a full-time race car driver in the ARCA Menards Series. It’s a low-level feeder series for NASCAR — one that typically features less-experienced drivers — and will serve as a starting point for Muniz’s stock-car career.
The 37-year-old Muniz got behind the wheel of the No. 30 Ford for Rette Jones Racing during a test session Friday at Daytona International Speedway and said, “I wanted this my entire life.”
His first of 20 scheduled races in 2023 will come at Daytona on Feb. 18.
“I want to prove to people that like I’m here to take it seriously,” Muniz said during a half-hour Zoom with reporters. “I’m not just here for a fluke. I’m not just here for publicity. I wanted this my entire life, you know what I mean?
“I’m mad I waited 12 years after my last racing experience to get here. I want people to look at me and see me on track and go, ‘Wow, he belongs,’ and I’m ready to prove to everyone that I do. Hopefully I do.”
A longtime racing enthusiast, Muniz drove the pace car for the 2001 Daytona 500 — a race in which seven-time Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt was killed on the final lap. Coincidentally, the chassis of the car Muniz is scheduled to drive at Daytona in the ARCA season opener was driven by Sterling Marlin that fateful day more than two decades ago.
Muniz said Earnhardt signed his jacket before the race and even told him how much he loved “Malcolm in the Middle.”
“He said, ‘Your show has brought me and my daughter so much closer together. I love your show,'” Muniz recalled. “And it was like insane to me that Dale Earnhardt is telling me that.”
Muniz has long been a racing enthusiast and first started thinking about becoming a professional driver in 2004 after competing in the Toyota Pro/Celebrity Race in Long Beach, California. He’s also raced in Formula BMW events as well as the Champ Car Atlantic Series.
His last full-time season came in 2009. He said he broke his back, broke an ankle and had a pin inserted into his hand following a crash. He has raced sporadically since.
Instead of getting back in a race car immediately, he became drummer of the indie rock band Kingsfoil. More recently, he married Paige Price and they had a son in 2021.