NASCAR Craftsman Truck field shapes up for 2023
December has kicked off with three announcements in the first week that have shaped what the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series field will look like in 2023.
On Tuesday, Petty-GMS Racing named Rajah Caruth as the full-time driver of their No. 24 Chevrolet for the 2023 season.
Caruth will be sponsored by the Wendell Scott Foundation. He will replace Jack Wood, who will drive part-time as the primary driver of the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet.
In 2022, Caruth made four Truck starts for Spire, seven Xfinity starts for Alpha Prime and finished third in the ARCA Menards Series points. His best finish in each series was 11th, 12th and 2nd, respectively.
Shortly after the GMS Racing announcement, fellow Chevrolet team McAnally-Hilgemann Racing named Christian Eckes to their No. 19 truck and Jake Garcia to their No. 35 truck.
Christian Eckes will replace Derek Kraus, who drove the No. 19 in 2021 and ’22. Eckes’ deal came together a week before the announcement when he learned he wouldn’t be returning to ThorSport Racing.
Meanwhile, Garcia is being elevated from a part-time Truck tenure with MHR to full-time in the second truck, replacing Colby Howard.
Eckes’ old No. 98 ride is now open at ThorSport Racing, as a return to Ford has been heavily rumored for the Thorson family-owned team. The team still hasn’t confirmed those plans.
TRICON Garage, who announced their switch from Ford to Toyota in October, announced Monday they will bring on Dean Thompson as the full-time driver of their No. 5 Toyota in 2023.
Thompson’s move leaves the No. 40 Niece Motorsports truck open but Niece also hasn’t confirmed how many trucks they will run in 2023.
In 2022, Thompson, Carson Hocevar, Lawless Alan and Kris Wright were all signed to run full-time for Niece, while the team also ran a fifth truck part-time.
Hocevar made the playoffs and was the only full-time driver to net a top-10 finish. Thompson and Alan did finish out the season but Wright was let go with six races to go.
Below is an overview of all of the team changes detailed in this article.
|Driver||Team in 2022||Team in 2023|
|Carson Hocevar||No. 42 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet||Niece Motorsports (likely)|
|Christian Eckes||No. 98 ThorSport Racing Toyota||No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet|
|Colby Howard||No. 91 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet||???|
|Dean Thompson||No. 40 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet||No. 5 TRICON Garage Toyota|
|Derek Kraus||No. 19 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet||???|
|Hailie Deegan||No. 1 David Gilliland Racing (now TRICON Garage) Ford||???|
|Jack Wood||No. 24 Petty-GMS Racing Chevrolet||No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Chevrolet (part-time, primary driver)|
|Jake Garcia||No. 35 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet (five Truck races)||No. 35 McAnally-Hilgemann Racing Chevrolet (full-time)|
|Kris Wright||No. 44 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet, then No. 68 Brandonbilt Motorsports Xfinity Chevrolet||???|
|Lawless Alan||No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet||???|
|Rajah Caruth||Spire Motorsports No. 7 Chevrolet (seven Truck races)|
Alpha Prime Racing Nos. 44/45 (four Xfinity races)
REV Racing No. 6 (full-time, ARCA)
|No. 24 Petty-GMS Racing Chevrolet|
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