Three hundred nineteen.
That’s the number of NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series races that have been run since the start of 2010, the year that Kyle Busch Motorsports was born.
Of those 319 races over 14 years, a KBM truck went to victory lane in 100 of them.
Yes, that’s right. If you were to randomly pick a truck race between 2010 and 2023, you’d have just under a 1-in-3 chance of choosing a race where KBM went to victory lane.
It took just under seven seasons for KBM to establish itself as the winningest team, breaking RFK Racing’s mark of 50 in the middle of the 2016 season. The team won a record seven owners’ championships, and it won two drivers’ championships with Erik Jones in 2015 and Christopher Bell in 2017. Beyond KBM’s statistical success, countless prospects got their start at the team and moved on up to NASCAR’s highest ranks.
The story of the Truck Series cannot be told without KBM.
But in 2024, it will.
On Wednesday (Sept. 27), it was announced that KBM and all of its assets were sold to Spire Motorsports; with the sale and the 2023 season’s Nov. 3 finale at Phoenix Raceway comes the end of an era.
For the first time since 2009, there will be no trucks fielded by Kyle Busch or KBM next season.
For those who have only started watching NASCAR in the last 10-15 years, a Truck Series without KBM feels unimaginable. But time marches on, just as it always has.
New race teams enter, old ones exit and some remain until the end of time. The NASCAR Cup Series and Xfinity Series will often see turnover, but in the Truck Series, turnover has become an expectation.
Hendrick Motorsports, Joe Gibbs Racing, Richard Childress Racing, Team Penske, Wood Brothers Racing and RFK Racing are the six remaining teams from the 1995 NASCAR Cup Series season that are still competing today; not a single team that entered the Truck Series’ inaugural 1995 race at Phoenix is still in existence.
In the series’ 29-year history, 13 teams have scored at least 20 wins. Sixteen teams have scored a driver’s championship. Of the 13 20-win teams, how many of them are fielding trucks in the 2024 season?
|Team||Wins||Driver’s Championships||Years Active|
|Kyle Busch Motorsports||100||2 (2015, 2017)||2010-2023|
|RFK Racing||50||1 (2000)||1995-2009|
|ThorSport Racing||45||4 (2013, 2014, 2019, 2021)||1996-Present|
|GMS Racing||45||2 (2016, 2020)||2013-2023|
|Kevin Harvick, Inc.||43||2 (2007, 2009)||2001-2011|
|Ultra Motorsports||36||1 (2005)||1995-2005|
|Richard Childress Racing||31||2 (1995, 2011)||1995-1999, 2009-2014|
|Hendrick Motorsports||26||3 (1997, 1999, 2001)||1995-2002, 2013|
|Dale Earnhardt, Inc.||25||2 (1996, 1998)||1995-1999|
|Bill Davis Racing||24||1 (2008)||2004-2008|
|Germain Racing||22||2 (2006, 2010)||2004-2011|
|Bobby Hamilton Racing||20||1 (2004)||1997-2008|
|Billy Ballew Motorsports||20||–||1996-2012|
Ten of the series’ 13 winningest teams have been out of business for at least nine years. At the end of 2023, the series will lose its winningest and (tied for) third-winningest teams of all time. After nearly three decades, ThorSport Racing is the last one standing.
The losses of both KBM and GMS will be a huge blow to series’ identity next year. But Spire will likely expand in KBM’s place, and TRICON Garage has effectively become the new Toyota Racing Development team after KBM and Busch left the manufacturer at the end of 2022. And on the same day that the KBM news broke, it was also announced McAnally-Hilgemann Racing will be taking on one of GMS’ teams for 2024.
The two teams may be gone, but their successors and their former drivers will remain.
Busch himself was responsible for 48 of the team’s 100 wins, but he wasn’t the only driver to make KBM the powerhouse that it was. Eighteen different drivers took a checkered flag for the team which culminated with KBM’s 100th with Busch at Pocono Raceway in July.
|Christopher Bell, Erik Jones, William Byron, John Hunter Nemechek||7|
|Bubba Wallace, Chandler Smith||5|
|Denny Hamlin, Noah Gragson, Corey Heim||2|
|Brian Scott, Daniel Suarez, Todd Gilliland, Martin Truex Jr., Greg Biffle, Raphael Lessard, Brandon Jones, Kasey Kahne||1|
Bell, Jones and William Byron got their first starts in NASCAR’s top three divisions with KBM, and the trio has since combined to win 18 Cup races and dozens of Xfinity races since 2016.
Bubba Wallace and Daniel Suarez have gone on from KBM to be Cup Series winners, while John Hunter Nemechek will make his way back to Cup in 2024 after dipping down for a two-year tenure with KBM. Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson have also graduated to the Cup Series, while Chandler Smith has since established himself as a winner in the Xfinity Series. Corey Heim has won three truck races in 2023 after moving to TRICON Garage, and he looks to be on his way up the ladder as well.
All of those drivers are still here, and they will continue to make their mark in NASCAR for years to come. Kyle Busch is still here, and his NASCAR journey is far, far from over. Spire and TRICON Garage are here, and they will have the resources to pick up where KBM left off.
Kyle Busch Motorsports itself may be gone by November, but its legacy will live on.
About the author
Stephen Stumpf is the NASCAR Content Director for Frontstretch, and his weekly columns include “Stat Sheet” and “4 Burning Questions.” Stephen also writes commentary, contributes weekly to the “Bringing the Heat” podcast and is frequently at the track for on-site coverage. A native of Texas, Stephen began following NASCAR at age 9 after attending his first race at Texas Motor Speedway.
Follow on Twitter @stephen_stumpf.
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