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Nick Sanchez to lead Daytona Truck field filled with changes

Nick Sanchez posted a lap averaging 181.899 MPH around Daytona International Speedway and claimed the pole for the season-opening NextEra Energy 250.

Sanchez will lead the field of 36 entries, filled with plenty of changes in the off-season.

Here’s a cheat sheet to help you keep up, as the race starts on FS1 (TV) and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio and MRN around 7:30 p.m. ET Friday.

(Re)Introducing TRICON Garage

David Gilliland Racing has practically become a new team in 2023, as their new partnership with Toyota Racing Development has them billed as TRICON Garage.

TRICON brought in Dean Thompson (No. 5), Corey Heim (No. 11), Taylor Gray (No. 17) and Tanner Gray (No. 15) as their full-time drivers.

Corey Heim sits by his No. 11 Safelite Toyota after making a qualifying run Friday at Daytona. Credit: Jonathan Fjeld/TRE

The team also has a fifth truck, the No. 1, with a rotation of drivers, beginning with Jason A. White at Daytona.

White will be teammates with Sammy Smith who fill in for Taylor Gray at Daytona. Gray is ineligible to race until the Circuit of the Americas race on his birthday, March 25.

KBM partners with REV Racing to reinvent itself

Chase Purdy, Kyle Busch and Jack Wood sit at the table in the Phoenix Raceway media center as car owner Busch names Purdy to the No. 4 full-time and Wood to the No. 51 part-time for 2023; Credit: Jonathan Fjeld/TRE

Kyle Busch Motorsports leaving Joe Gibbs Racing not only meant the end of a 15-year driver-owner partnership but the end of Busch’s relationship with Toyota of the same length.

Now, in 2023, KBM’s lineup is completely overhauled. John Hunter Nemechek and Chandler Smith are full-time in Xfinity with Joe Gibbs Racing and Kaulig Racing, respectively, while many of the part-timers left with Toyota.

Busch himself is the only returning driver as he will do five races in the No. 51 in 2023.

Jack Wood, the described “the anchor driver” for the No. 51, will kick off that truck’s rotation of drivers at Daytona.

Chase Purdy, No. 4 Bama Buggies Chevrolet, makes his way from the garage to the 2.5-mile track at Daytona International Speedway; Credit: Erick Messer/TRE

Wood will have full-time driver Chase Purdy as a teammate in the No. 4. Purdy was cut by Hattori amid the organization downsizing to one car, with Tyler Ankrum, in 2023.

Wood and Purdy will have full-time driver Nick Sanchez as a quasi-teammate in the No. 2.

Sanchez will be racing for REV Racing, who is partnering with KBM in 2023. He is fresh off of winning the 2022 ARCA Menards Series championship.

ARCA competitors last year, GMS teammates this year

Sanchez’s two main championship contenders in 2022 will also be moving up to Trucks in 2023.

Daniel Dye (No. 43) and Rajah Caruth (No. 24) finished second and third in the 2022 ARCA title and are now teammates at GMS Racing in 2023.

Rajah Caruth stands by his No. 24 GMS Racing Chevrolet after making a qualifying run at Daytona. Credit: Jonathan Fjeld/TRE

Caruth replaces Jack Wood, who left for KBM, and Dye is coming to GMS as they expand back to three full-time teams in 2023.

Grant Enfinger will return to the No. 23 GMS entry in 2023.

McAnally-Hilgemann Racing expands with fresh faces

Christian Eckes takes off on his maiden run in the No. 19 NAPA Chevrolet, previously driven by Derek Kraus. Eckes replaced Kraus at MHR in 2023. Credit: Erick Messer/TRE

Christian Eckes and Jake Garcia are in as the MHR’s two full-time drivers while Derek Kraus and Colby Howard are out for 2023.

Garcia raced the No. 35 five times for MHR in 2022 and was elevated to a full-time role the following year.

Garcia will have to wait until Las Vegas to start his tenure as he won’t be 18 until then. Chase Elliott will run the opener at Daytona, as a teammate to Eckes who will begin his tenure in the No. 19 right away.

Courtesy: Bill McAnally Racing

Eckes was with ThorSport in 2022 and made the playoffs but went winless. He’s taking over for Kraus in the No. 19 NAPA Chevrolet.

Kraus will begin the season in the No. 20 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet, as a teammate to Spencer Boyd (No. 12) and Kris Wright (No. 02). Howard will race the No. 9 CR7 Motorsports Chevrolet, as a teammate to Codie Rohrbaugh (No. 97).

ThorSport goes back to Ford, picks up Deegan

Hailie Deegan hops out of her No. 13 ThorSport Ford and is greeted by her team and crowd of onlookers and fans. Credit: Jonathan Fjeld/TRE

For the fourth time since ending their original, 16-season partnership with Chevrolet in 2011, ThorSport switched manufacturers in the off-season.

The move back to Ford ends a two-year partnership with Toyota, who ThorSport also worked with from 2012 to 2017. The organization also worked with Ford from 2018-20.

The new partnership with Ford brings new driver Hailie Deegan into the fold. Deegan raced with DGR, now TRICON, in 2022. She’ll now drive the No. 13 Ford for ThorSport in 2023.

Championship 4 qualifier Ty Majeski will be switching from the No. 66 to the No. 98 in 2023. Meanwhile, Matt Crafton will return to the No. 88 for his 23rd Truck season and Ben Rhodes will return to the No. 99 to vie for his second title.

Ben Rhodes looks toward the track in his No. 99 ThorSport Ford and toward his second Truck championship in 2023. Credit: Erick Messer/TRE

Other changes for 2023

Josh Reaume will start the season in the No. 22 AM Racing entry, replacing Austin Wayne Self who stepped away from full-time racing.

Bret Holmes joins Nick Sanchez, Rajah Caruth and Daniel Dye as the four Truck Rookie of the Year contenders in 2023. Holmes is expanding his team to be full-time after previously being part-time.

Niece Motorsports has cut back to three trucks, with Carson Hocevar and Lawless Alan returning full-time and Travis Pastrana begins the No. 41’s rotation of drivers at Daytona.

Kaden Honeycutt attempted to open the No. 04 Roper Racing’s season at Daytona. However, he failed to make the race. Honeycutt’s common old ride, the No. 30 On Point Motorsports Toyota, will be occupied by Chris Hacker at Daytona.

Honeycutt was one of six drivers who failed to qualify for the Truck opener at Daytona.

Lawless Alan, Bryan Duazat, Todd Peck, Spencer Boyd and Norm Benning were the other DNQs.

Full lineup:

  1. No. 2 Nick Sanchez
  2. No. 98 Ty Majeski
  3. No. 51 Jack Wood
  4. No. 19 Christian Eckes
  5. No. 7 Corey LaJoie
  6. No. 88 Matt Crafton
  7. No. 1 Jason A. White
  8. No. 25 Matt DiBenedetto
  9. No. 42 Carson Hocevar
  10. No. 4 Chase Purdy
  11. No. 20 Derek Kraus
  12. No. 13 Hailie Deegan
  13. No. 11 Corey Heim
  14. No. 35 Chase Elliott
  15. No. 38 Zane Smith
  16. No. 23 Grant Enfinger
  17. No. 24 Rajah Caruth
  18. No. 5 Dean Thompson
  19. No. 15 Tanner Gray
  20. No. 17 Taylor Gray
  21. No. 9 Colby Howard
  22. No. 32 Brett Holmes
  23. No. 52 Stewart Friesen
  24. No. 75 Parker Kligerman
  25. No. 41 Travis Pastrana
  26. No. 99 Ben Rhodes
  27. No. 16 Tyler Ankrum
  28. No. 97 Codie Rohrbaugh
  29. No. 43 Daniel Dye
  30. No. 02 Kris Wright
  31. No. 84 Clay Greenfield
  32. No. 56 Timmy Hill
  33. No. 30 Chris Hacker
  34. No. 22 Josh Reaume
  35. No. 33 Mason Massey
  36. No. 34 Jason White

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