Race Weekend Central

Truckin’ Thursdays: Who Is the Top Team in the Truck Series?

The NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series took a big blow when it lost two powerhouse teams in GMS Racing and Kyle Busch Motorsports at the end of the 2023 season.

The closure of both teams in one offseason led to the interesting query of who would take over as the top team in the series. Which team could take over as one of the most dominant Truck teams?

Spire Motorsports certainly makes a great case, as the addition of three full-time trucks to the grid has paid off. Given that it also purchased the KBM shop, it’s certainly plausible that it could be one of the top dogs.

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The issue with Spire is that it’s still young. It doesn’t have the longevity in the Truck Series to be seen as anything other than a flash in the pan right now. However, in a few years, we could revisit this conversation and absolutely say that Spire has solidified itself as a top dog.

A case could also be made for ThorSport Racing. After all, it’s the oldest full-time team in the Truck Series garage, and has four full-time trucks competing for wins and championships. Unfortunately, ThorSport hasn’t really had the dominance that it once had to be considered a top dog of today.

So what would it take to be considered the top team in the Truck Series?

Well, one would think age is a factor. As mentioned with Spire, this is really its first full-time season in the series. Consistent dominance is also key too. Again, with ThorSport, there really isn’t a lot of dominance in recent years, despite winning two titles with Ben Rhodes.

So how about Niece Motorsports?

Having been in operation since 2016, the team certainly has some age to it. It’s made appearances in the Championship 4 and won quite a few races. But with Carson Hocevar‘s departure, none of its full-time drivers have quite found the extra step to reach victory lane. Its rotational truck, the No. 45, has been the best, winning a race with Ross Chastain and coming close with Kaden Honeycutt.

At this point, the answer might be obvious based on its drivers. The top team in the Truck garage is a tie between McAnally-Hilgemann Racing and TRICON Garage.

Both teams began full-time competition in the Truck Series in 2018, meaning both are in their seventh season competing against each other. Both teams have a flagship driver: TRICON has Corey Heim and MHR has Christian Eckes.

Both teams have stepped up to effectively replace both KBM and GMS as the top teams in the Truck Series. It’s going to be really hard to beat either team for the championship, as both Eckes and Heim have established themselves as the biggest championship contenders of the 2024 season. As it stands, those two are the only drivers within 60 points of each other for the regular season championship – they are far and away the best teams in the Truck Series.

It also helps that both teams are multi-truck teams. Both organizations have at least four full-time trucks in their stables. In the case of TRICON, it has a fifth rotational truck that runs full-time as well. Actually, you could count the No. 9 team of Grant Enfinger as a fifth MHR truck as well, as MHR and CR7 Motorsports have a technical alliance and have shared the same shop at one point.

So theoretically, both teams take up 10 of the 36 slots on the grid, over 25 percent of the field. Theoretically, if TRICON’s rotational No. 1 and MHR’s rotational No. 91 had just one driver apiece, the two teams could take up the entire Truck Series playoff grid if they all won or pointed their way in.

These two teams are clearly the powerhouses of the future for the Truck Series. But even still, which team is the better of the two?

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That’s a hard pick and really comes down to who you’re a bigger fan of. However, it’s hard to go against TRICON Garage. Having five trucks under its own roof is hard to top, and it’s also the lone Toyota-backed team in the series. Heim has been a championship contender two years in a row and is one of the highest-touted Cup Series prospects for 2025.

Not to mention the cast of characters surrounding Heim. Taylor Gray is having a career season and is the clear number two on the team. His brother Tanner has also shown measured improvement, as has Dean Thompson. The No. 1 truck has seen a bunch of drivers behind the wheel and almost all have put together great runs and finishes.

But it’s clear that we have our two replacements for two teams gone before them. While the loss of KBM and GMS at the same time still sting, we can take comfort in the fact that the future of the series is in good hands with TRICON and MHR.

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. 

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

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