Kevin Harvick Inc., Turner Motorsports, Germain Racing – and now Kyle Busch Motorsports and GMS Racing.
With the drop of the checkered flag Friday at Phoenix Raceway, all of those organizations will have closed their NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series operations after earning double-digit wins and at least one driver’s championship.
Since opening in 2010, Kyle Busch Motorsports has earned two championships and a series-high 100 wins. GMS Racing has won 45 times and two championships since opening in 2013.
Altogether, in the last 13 seasons, they’ve combined to win 45% of the races (145 of 321) and four championships. That includes winning nearly half of the races run since 2018 (67 of 136).
Either team could add to those staggering win totals. Only GMS could get a third driver’s title as Grant Enfinger is in the Championship Four.
The closure of two behemoths may seem like a shock – but it’s nothing new. In fact, only 6 of the 28 NCTS driver’s championships have been won by an organization that will still be active in the series full-time in 2024:
- 2022 (Front Row Motorsports – Zane Smith)
- 2021 (ThorSport Racing – Ben Rhodes)
- 2019 (ThorSport Racing – Matt Crafton)
- 2018 (Hattori Racing Enterprises – Brett Moffitt)
- 2013-14 (ThorSport – Crafton)
Not to mention, a staggering 229 of the last 321 Truck Series races have been won by organizations that are no longer around.
GMS and KBM carried the torch after KHI, Turner, Brad Keselowski, Germain, Tom DeLoach and Bill Davis picked it up from Steve Coulter, Jim Smith and David Dollar. That latter trio carried it into the 21st century after Hendrick, Roush, Childress and Earnhardt fielded the first championship-winning trucks.
Someone new will pick up the torch for GMS and KBM – but who?
At just 26 years old, Ben Rhodes already has a championship (2021) and two subsequent Championship Four appearances with the organization.
Ty Majeski, his 29-year-old teammate, also made the Championship Four last year and is making the most of finally getting a championship-contending opportunity in NASCAR.
Since 2010, the organization has also earned four driver’s titles (as many as KBM and GMS combined) and 42 wins (third only to KBM and GMS).
TRICON has TRD backing and their prospects, including Championship Four driver Corey Heim and ARCA East Champion William Sawalich, who will boost the organization in the future.
Heim is returning in 2024, as well as Dean Thompson who has shown flashes of success. Sawalich, still under 18, until Oct. 3, 2024, also has three top-10 finishes in six NCTS starts.
It’s hard not to talk about this organization when you talk about what organization could take over for GMS and KBM. Spire bought KBM in a whole series of moves that included the following just this year:
- Buying a NASCAR Cup Series charter for $40 million
- Signing top prospect Carson Hocevar to a NASCAR Cup Series ride
- Partnering with Trackhouse to get top prospect Zane Smith in a Cup ride
- Landing a major partnership/sponsorship deal with Gainbridge
While Spire hasn’t announced their 2024 NCTS lineup, those moves show what they’re set out to do in the not-so-distant future.
Niece Motorsports also boasts up-and-comers Bayley Currey and Matt Mills for 2024. Currey, especially, showed potential in 2023 and could break out.
McAnally-Hilgemann Racing and REV Racing will have their playoff drivers back in 2024.
After flashes of greatness with Niece Motorsports, Bayley Currey is going full-time with them. Teammate Matt Mills will also get his big chance in 2024.
Championship organization Front Row Motorsports will also be back with a driver yet TBA, as will Rackley W.A.R.
As GMS and KBM go away, it’s time for another team or teams to take their turn at the top.
FOOTNOTE: Among the NCTS organizations who have won since 2017, and will still be around in 2024, ThorSport Racing is the only one who won before 2017.