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Dean Thompson will return to TRICON Garage full time in the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series in 2024, the team announced Oct. 23.
Thompson will drive the No. 5 Toyota with sponsorship from Thompson Pipe Group.
His crew chief for the 2024 campaign is yet to be determined.
“I’m pumped,” Thompson told Frontstretch. “Yeah, I mean we got some unfinished business. Obviously, the elephant in the room would be the year we’ve had. So I think by coming back next season I can work on my craft and be better for next year. It’s going to be awesome. It’s a great opportunity so I’m pumped.”
The 2023 season was his first with TRICON. Thompson has two top fives – a pair of third-place finishes – and four top 10s in the 2023 season. With one race left, he is 20th in points.
His goal for next year is improvement.
“I think we set realistic expectations and we start changing those along the way,” he added. “We start off by running well to get some top 10s, that gets us to some top fives, then we start winning races and then we start consistently winning. And then we go for a championship.
“So for me to say I want to win the championship next year would be true, but it’s baby steps. We got to walk before we run, so I think just hitting realistic close goals and expectations is going to be our strategy.”
Thompson has contested two full-time seasons in the Truck Series, and he has notched his first career top fives and top 10s as well as bettered his average starting and finishing positions.
“When you race mid-field and back, it’s dogfights, it’s war,” he said. “You give an inch to take a mile. It’s a very different kind of race when you race from first to mid-field, so learn how to run up front and then learn how to race these new tracks. We raced a couple new tracks this year so going to, and learning those was a lot of fun, and I think we will be better next year with getting to know my guys and being comfortable with them.”
Thompson is the second full-time driver announced to pilot a TRICON Toyota in 2024, joining Corey Heim. Heim made the Championship 4 on the strength of his regular-season championship and three victories.
“Corey’s been the man obviously this year, won a handful of races so being able to lean on him, get some advice from him, it’s been awesome,” he said. “It is kind of funny with him being younger, but leaning on him has been a big help. He’s obviously very invested in the team, making the whole program better so he’s been a big help.”
In 2023, TRICON has fielded four full-time teams, with Heim and Thompson joined by the Nos. 15 and 17, piloted by Tanner and Taylor Gray. The Grays have not yet announced their plans for 2024. A fifth truck, the No. 1, ran the majority of the 2023 schedule.
About the author
Mark Kristl joined Frontstretch at the beginning of the 2019 NASCAR season. He is the site's ARCA Menards Series editor. Kristl is also an Eagle Scout and a proud University of Dayton alum.
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