Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Apparently Everyone Is Staying Home for Atlanta

The 2024 Craftsman Truck Series season is officially underway, and fans were treated to a choppy, caution filled race at Daytona International Speedway to open the season.

The race saw 12 cautions (a series-high at Daytona) for 52 laps. As the race was 101 total laps, the race ran more laps at pace car speed than race car speed, which contributed to the lowest average speed in Truck Series history at Daytona.

A lot of those 12 cautions were due to crashes, and lap 6 served as an omen to the night when the Big One struck early, taking out several contenders. By the end of the race, only 21 trucks were running at the finish –- there would’ve been even less if the last lap crash that decimated what was left of the field happened earlier in the race.

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Tracking the Trucks: Red Flags Already Flying on Truck Series Season

But Daytona is finally behind us, and now it’s on to Atlanta Motor Speedway: another superspeedway-esque race.

Wonderful.

Surely, team owners can’t be too happy about the idea that we’re starting the season with two races that could, for some teams, potentially destroy their entire fleet of trucks at the shop.

Well, there’s a good chance they are frustrated. A look at the entry list for the truck race at Atlanta only corroborates that notion.

According to the official entry list for the Fr8 Auctions 208 (see below), it shows just 33 trucks entered for the race. An official Truck Series race allows 36 to qualify, so it will be a smaller field for the series.

Forty trucks entered Daytona, which means seven teams will not return for Atlanta. But actually, that number is eight, because one of the entries for Atlanta is the No. 66 of Conner Jones, a fifth ThorSport Racing entry that did not go to Daytona.

So, who pulled out after Daytona, and why?

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Entry List: 2024 Fr8 208

Let’s start with the four drivers who failed to qualify at Daytona: Jennifer Jo Cobb, Clay Greenfield, Ryan Huff, and Mason Maggio. Of those four drivers, only one was not driving for their own team, and that was Maggio, driving for the brand new Floridian Motorsports.

While Floridian’s schedule is unknown, it did announce that it would be a late entry at Atlanta with Maggio – the original entry list had 33 drivers, and Maggio and Floridian entered late to make it 34 before a withdrawal put it back to 33.

Meanwhile, Greenfield and Cobb said that they were only attempting certain races unless sponsorship could allow them to do more. Huff, meanwhile, is likely more focused on his ARCA Menards Series program; it’s unclear if he will enter any other races this season at all.

That’s three drivers off the list already, which means five teams who ran the race at Daytona will not be at Atlanta. Two teams, Reaume Brothers Racing and CR7 Motorsports, entered extra trucks at Atlanta to accommodate more drivers.

RBR entered the No. 22 for Jason White as a teammate to Keith McGee in the No. 27 and Lawless Alan in the No. 33. For Atlanta, White will not compete, McGee will move from the No. 27 to the No. 22, and the No. 27 will not run – the one withdrawal I mentioned earlier on the entry list.

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Meanwhile, CR7 entered team owner Codie Rohrbaugh in a second truck, the No. 97, as a teammate to full-time driver Grant Enfinger. CR7 typically fields a second truck only at Daytona and Talladega Superspeedway anyway, so the fact that the No. 97 won’t be at Atlanta isn’t too much of a surprise.

Alright, we’re at five. Three more teams left. What about teams on a limited schedule? The No. 04 Roper Racing entry is only scheduled to run eight races this year – two with team owner Cory Roper and six with Marco Andretti. Atlanta is not on either driver’s schedule, and the team has not hired any additional drivers, therefore Roper Racing will not be at Atlanta.

Likewise, Henderson Motorsports usually contests a part-time schedule, and this year, Stefan Parsons will be with the team. The team hasn’t announced its schedule beyond Daytona, but it will not be present in Atlanta the following week.

Elsewhere, FDNY Racing typically attempts the two actual superspeedways and has not opened up to racing at Atlanta, at least not yet. Therefore, the No. 28 of Bryan Dauzat will not make the journey to the Peach State.

So, there it is. All eight teams that will not enter Atlanta had their eyes solely on Daytona or are only running part-time and not entering Atlanta. Which raises the concern that there aren’t enough full-time teams or close to full-time teams to pad out the field. This means that there is likely a majority of races this season that will not feature 36 trucks starting the race.

But then another question arises: with three spots essentially still available in the field, why don’t more teams do what Maggio and Floridian are doing and enter late to compete in an extra race?

Well, with the exception of Dauzat and Parsons, all other trucks who are not attempting Atlanta failed to officially finish the race due to crashes. Even still, Parsons took major damage in a late crash despite his sixth-place finish. Dauzat finished the race with no damage whatsoever.

With Daytona spelling calamity for a bunch of teams, a trip to Atlanta for smaller teams is impossible if they’re carrying destroyed race trucks with them. Smaller teams have limited manpower and resources, so any time that it would take them to fix the truck means that even if some wanted to run Atlanta, it’d be difficult.

The only ones who really could are Greenfield, Cobb, and Huff, as their DNQs meant they didn’t tear up their trucks. But then the trouble is finding sponsorship.

Not to mention, the reality is that three teams closed their doors either partially or for good: GMS Racing, Kyle Busch Motorsports, and Hattori Racing Enterprises (who hopes to run part-time).

Other teams have also scaled back their operations. G2G Racing has scaled back its operations significantly, if not altogether. Young’s Motorsports went from fielding three full-time trucks in 2023 to just one in 2024 with Mason Massey. And it appears that On Point Motorsports has also shut its doors for good.

See also
Bret Holmes Leads Truck Underdogs Run to the Front at Daytona

There are probably seven to eight full- or close to full-time teams that have scaled back or ceased operations for 2024. While some of their assets have been acquired by the likes of Spire Motorsports and McAnally-Hilgemann Racing, the full-time or almost full-time lineup for 2024 is going to be significantly smaller, meaning that the last half dozen or so spots on the grid can and will be filled out by part-time teams who maybe had no intention of running a lot of races. But with the field size so small, there’s a chance to run some more.

As my colleague Tom Bowles pointed out, five teams make up roughly 60-65% of the entry list for Atlanta: Spire (with its satellite team Rev Racing), MHR, ThorSport, TRICON Garage, and Niece Motorsports. There are a lot less teams in general this year, which could make for some interesting entry lists, some interesting racing and an interesting playoff race when the time comes.

We’ll see if more or less teams decide to enter or withdraw the following week at Las Vegas Motor Speedway with the smaller field sizes.

Truckin’ Tidbits

  • Kyle Busch is back. As he said he would, Busch will make his regular five starts this year, now behind the wheel of a Spire truck (the team he sold his beloved KBM to). His first race will be at Atlanta in the No. 7, replacing Corey Lajoie from Daytona.
  • Colby Howard returns to the Truck Series at Atlanta following his departure from CR7 at the conclusion of 2023. This time, he upgrades to the No. 1 all-star truck for TRICON. Whether or not Howard will race anymore this season remains to be seen.
  • Kaden Honeycutt also will make his 2024 season debut in the No. 45 all-star truck for Niece. Johnny Sauter drove the truck at Daytona, and he won stage one and had a truck capable of winning the race until he was taken out in a late-race crash.

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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