TRICON Garage announced on Friday that Sammy Smith will join its lineup and make his NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series debut in the No. 17 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro for the season opener at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway.
The 2023 Xfinity Series rookie contender is fresh off a six-win ARCA Menards Series campaign, claiming five victories in the East division en route to his second consecutive ARCA East title. Smith also added a Sioux Chief Showdown Championship, a win in the ARCA West Series finale at Phoenix Raceway and nine Xfinity Series starts with Joe Gibbs Racing to his impressive 2022 season.
Smith’s Tundra will carry sponsorship from Mobil 1. He will be the first of multiple drivers to fill in behind the wheel of the No. 17 as 17-year-old Taylor Gray will miss the first three races of 2023 due to NASCAR’s age restriction policy. Gray will begin his full-time rookie campaign at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas on March 25.
As far as who’s on the entry-list for the season opener, the list is growing in a positive way.
Kyle Busch Motorsports moves over from Toyota power to Chevrolet and as a result will be the Chevy flagship team. Showing up for their two Truck team in Daytona is Chase Purdy (No. 4) and Jack Wood (No. 51). They have an alliance with REV Racing who’ll have Nick Sanchez in the No. 2 Chevrolet.
McAnally Hilgeman Racing returns with a two Truck lineup. Christian Eckes is in the No. 19 while Jake Garcia will take over the No. 35 when he’s old enough to compete. Until he is, Chase Elliott will be in the No. 35 at Daytona.
GMS Racing rolls out a three Truck lineup of Grant Enfinger (No. 23) and rookies Rajah Caruth (No. 24) and Daniel Dye (No. 43).
Carson Hocevar (No. 42) is back with Niece while Lawless Alan will be in the No. 45.
Matt DiBenedetto returns in the No. 25 for Rackley War while Young’s Motorsports will have Spencer Boyd (No. 12) and Derek Kraus (No. 20) at Daytona.
I expect to see Bryan Dauzat in the No. 28 for the FDNY Racing team and Jennifer Jo Cobb in the No. 10 self owned Truck. Parker Kligerman is likely in the No. 75 for Henderson Motorsports. The only main ride left in the bowtie camp is the Spire entry.
ThorSport moves over from Toyota to the blueovals as the flagship team on this side of things. They’ll have three drivers back in Ty Majeski, Matt Crafton and Ben Rhodes as well as newcomer Hailie Deegan. Defending champion and Daytona race winner, Zane Smith, is back in the No. 38.
Reaume Brothers Racing has Mason Massey in the 33 while the 34 truck is still open.
AM Racing should return but has no driver listed yet. Sounds like Roper Racing will have Kaden Honeycutt in the ride for them. Those are what’s left to announce.
With KBM and ThorSport gone, TRICON Garage takes over as the lead Toyota team. We’ll see Dean Thompson (No. 5), Corey Heim (No. 11), Tanner Gray (No. 15) and Sammy Smith (No. 17) full-time with a likely participant in the No. 1 ride.
Stewart Friesen is back in the No. 52, Timmy Hill and Tyler Hill will share the No. 56 ride and Tyler Ankrum will shift over to the Hattori Racing Enterprises seat. Ryan Vargas is in the On Point Motorsports ride (No. 30).
Does G2G Racing end up back with their No. 47? If so, Johnny Sauter could be in that seat for Daytona.
There’s also a chance Halmar and Hattori each bring out a second truck for Daytona and G2G another truck or two themselves.