Kyle Busch Motorsports to Chevrolet, Deegan and Nemechek to the Xfinity Series?, 2023’s NASCAR Truck Series Lineup will look very different than what we have grown accustomed to these last few years.
Across the three national series, we are seeing big changes in 2023. The Truck series will be no different, with KBM to Chevy, Toyota looking for new teams and drivers, and fan-favorite drivers moving from the series. Here’s a quick run through what we know so far for the NASCAR Truck Series lineup next season. Who is returning and who is moving on up the series ladder?
Zane Smith and Front Row Motorsports:
Starting with the 2023 Champions, Zane Smith and FRM. Zane is back in the #38 F150 for 2023. Front Row has also stated he will make a Daytona 500 attempt and Xfinity Series starts with a team to be announced. FRM is currently the only Ford team in the series.
Kyle Busch Motorsports:
“We’ve built winners before and there’s no reason we can’t do it again.” – Kyle. KBM is here to stay! Welcome to the team Chase and Jack, we are excited to have you! Also happy to announce we will have a technical alliance with Rev Racing. 2023 is going to be exciting! pic.twitter.com/qK3iPDflVk
— Samantha Busch (@SamanthaBusch) November 4, 2022
KBM has announced it will run Chevrolet Silverado’s in 2023 in the Truck Series. With the manufacturer swap, it has also brought drivers Jack Wood and Chase Purdy to the team. Purdy will be full-time in the #4 truck, with Wood and Kyle Busch sharing the famous #51 truck for part-time starts, a third driver is planned and is to be announced. KBM will also share its technical knowledge with Rev Racing, going full-time in the series with driver Nick Sanchez, this year’s ARCA Champion. Sanchez has sponsorship from Gainbridge, and will drive the #2 Silverado.
As for its 2022 drivers, many are heading to new teams or advancing series. Corey Heim will be heading to TRICON Garage in 2023. Chandler Smith will be replacing AJ Allmendinger in the #16 Xfinity Camaro at Kaulig Racing. John Hunter Nemechek, KBM’s veteran racer, has no announced plans. Joe Gibbs Racing has several empty Xfinity Series cars that need drivers, and Nemechek has won in JGR machinery previously in the Xfinity Series.
Ben Rhodes and Ty Majeski were Thorsport’s drivers with a shot at back-to-back championships this year. Rhodes came up short by one position and Majeski spun late attempting to pass for second place. Despite a disappointing race at Phoenix, Majeski had the best year of his career, with 2 wins in 3 races and a fourth-place finish in the points in just his first full-time season.
Shockingly, none of their four drivers have announced their returns. My theory: Toyota wants to put young talent into those seats to recoup losing Kyle Busch Motorsports. If true, this may be a big mistake and could only hurt Toyota more. Thorsport has veteran drivers in Rhodes and Matt Crafton, and blooming talent in Majeski and Christian Eckes. Thorsport had all four drivers inside the top ten in the driver’s championship and changing this lineup would be devastating.
GMS had a below average 2022, with only Grant Enfinger earning a win at Indianapolis. Enfinger finished 7th in the points, with Jack Wood finishing a disappointing 24th in points. Enfinger is returning to the #23 Truck in 2023, and Wood will be moving on to a part-time drive with KBM. His spot will be filled by rebranding the #24 Truck as the #43. This new truck will be driven by Daniel Dye, GMS’ ARCA driver moving up for his first full-time truck season.
Daniel will race the team’s new No. 43 Chevrolet entry and compete for @SunocoRacing ROTY honors.
— GMS Racing (@GMSRacingLLC) October 25, 2022
Niece Motorsports had a year of incredible growth. Partnering with Trackhouse Racing, we saw Justin Marks and Ross Chastain in the #41 Truck, with Chastain winning at Charlotte. Dean Thompson ran full-time for the team in the #40 Truck, finishing 23rd in points. Carson Hocevar, the staple driver at Niece, had a career-best season with seven top five finishes and 12 top ten finishes. He injured his ankle in a crash at Gateway, was using crutches to walk around at Sonoma, earned the pole there, and somehow finished 6th. He is knocking on the door of his first win in the series, with the talent heading to the Xfinity Series from Trucks, I think we will see him earn his first win in 2023.
No announcements have been made yet, but I believe we will see a continued partnership with Trackhouse and Worldwide Express. I believe Hocevar will be back in the #42 and we will see Ross make a start or two with the team.
DGR announced its rebrand to TRICON Garage in late October, a move that will strand popular driver Hailie Deegan, who is a contracted Ford driver. She will most likely be heading to Xfinity, after she had a great debut race at Las Vegas. Tanner and Taylor Gray will be staying with the team and will welcome 2022 Rookie of the Year Corey Heim along with them. Tanner will stay in the #15, Heim will pilot the #11, and Taylor will share the #17 with another driver yet to be announced.
Matt DiBenedetto will return to Rackley W.A.R. in 2023. He scored his first NASCAR victory at Talladega this year, beating Brett Holmes in a photo finish. Stewart Friesen is returning to the series with his team, Halmar-Friesen.
Currently, this is what the lineup for 2023 looks like for the Truck Series. Veterans returning, plenty of new faces, and a new team and manufacturer pairing. 2023 will be an exciting season to follow.
Current NASCAR Truck Series Lineup – 2023
- Front Row Motorsports: Zane Smith
- GMS Racing: Grant Enfinger and Daniel Dye
- Halmar-Friesen: Stewart Friesen
- Kyle Busch Motorsports: Kyle Busch, Chase Purdy, Jack Wood, & more drivers TBA
- Rackley-WAR: Matt DiBenedetto
- REV Racing: Nick Sanchez
- TRICON Garage: Tanner Gray, Taylor Gray, Corey Heim
Featured Image Credit: Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images