With the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series underway, it’s time to meet the drivers who will be competing for Rookie of the Year honors in 2023.
Last season, Corey Heim took home Rookie of the Year honors, despite not competing in all the races. Heim competed in 16 of the 23 races in Kyle Busch Motorsports’ No. 51. Kyle Busch ran his typical five-race schedule, and Buddy Kofoid drove the truck at the two dirt races at Bristol Motor Speedway and Knoxville Raceway, leaving Heim with the other 16.
However, last year’s class was not very deep. Of the five rookies, Heim finished 14th in the final point standings, which is impressive considering the other four rookies were full-time drivers who finished way behind Heim. Lawless Alan, Dean Thompson and Jack Wood finished 22nd-24th, respectively, while Blaine Perkins finished a distant 29th. Heim only won Rookie of the Year because KBM’s equipment was far more improved than any of the other rookies’ teams.
This year, the Rookie of the Year class seems to be more competitive and have shown promise in lower series. Let’s take a look at each of the six rookies more in-depth, in numerical order.
Nick Sanchez, as well as his team, Rev Racing, move up from the ARCA Menards Series, where Sanchez was the 2022 champion. Sanchez made some NASCAR Xfinity Series starts last season with BJ McLeod Motorsports and Big Machine Racing, with his best finish coming with Big Machine at Martinsville Speedway, where he finished an impressive seventh.
Sanchez has qualified his No. 2 on the front row in both of his first two starts, including winning the pole at Daytona International Speedway. Rev Racing has a technical alliance with Kyle Busch Motorsports; combine that with Sanchez’s talent and it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he can keep pace with the veterans.
However, Sanchez has not been able to put together a full race in the short season. Both races saw him finish outside the top 25. At Daytona, Sanchez pitted after a red flag when it looked like the race would go back green, but then the rain came back and the race was called, leaving him in 26th. At Las Vegas Motor Speedway, he was one of the few drivers that seemed to be able to keep pace with Busch, but contact with the wall on lap 25 damaged the truck enough to where he had to keep pitting to fix it, and he eventually finished 30th, 31 laps behind Busch.
It’s a very real possibility that Sanchez will compete…
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