NASCAR Truck Series: Daytona Preview, Predictions, and How to Watch

DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 16: Dean Thompson, driver of the #5 Thompson Pipe Group Toyota, drives thought the garage area during practice for the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series NextEra Energy 250 at Daytona International Speedway on February 16, 2023 in Daytona Beach, Florida. (Photo by James Gilbert/Getty Images)

The Trucks return to the high banks of Daytona for the NextEra Energy 250 season opener. Who will start their season on a high note? How will Travis Pastrana finish?

When we left Daytona in February of last year, Zane Smith was victorious. Then when the season ended in November in Phoenix, Zane Smith was crowned a champion. Can he call up his successes from 2022 and win the season opener and the title once again?

2023 has some exciting storylines; Rajah Caruth running full time for GMS, Hailie Deegan and Ford move to Thorsport, Travis Pastrana returns to the Truck Series, and KBM is running Silverado’s. Can these drivers and teams hit the ground running at Daytona, can Caruth or Deegan score win number one? I can’t wait to see the trucks back on the track

The 2021 Next Era Energy 250 was won by Zane Smith, who started 20th and led three laps. The race had seven cautions and twenty-five percent of the race was run under caution.

The Track:

Daytona International Speedway, opened in 1959, was the brainchild of Bill France. The track has 33 degrees of banking in the turns and 18 at the start/finish line and is known for its high speed and big wrecks.

In 2000, the Truck Series began running at Daytona. The race is known for a fiery crash between Kurt Busch, Rob Morgan, and Geoff Bodine, one of the scariest wrecks in all of NASCAR. The finish came down to Mike Wallace making an exciting last lap on Andy Houston to win the race. The champions of this race throughout the years read like a hall of fame ballot; Carl Edwards, Mark Martin, Kyle Busch, and Tyler Reddick.


Keep your eyes on the four Thorsport trucks, they placed second and third in last year’s race. Back-to-back wins with Ford and Toyota in 2020 and 2021. Additionally, Ford has won two of the last three races at Daytona. Regardless of the emblem on the grill, Thorsport can bring fast trucks and contend for wins. Rhodes won in 2021, I predict he will be up at the front contending for the win. Hailie Deegan’s best finish of sixth came at a superspeedway, Talladega, combined with Thorsport’s resume of success, she could earn her first win in the Truck Series in this race. Zane Smith, defending race winner and series champion. The Front Row F-150 is fast where ever it runs. I can see him going back to back at Daytona as well.

How to Watch:

  • Practice: Thursday, February 16th, 5:05 pm ET on FS1
  • Qualifying: Friday, February 17th, 3 pm ET on FS1
  • Race: Friday, February 17th, 7:30 pm ET on FS1
Featured Image Credit: James Gilbert/Getty Images


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