By Jason Schultz
Possibly the most exciting part of the off-season is the silly season.
Who will drive where in 2013? What drivers are returning? What drivers are not coming back? Those questions will all be answered by the time Daytona rolls around, but for now I’ll try to answer the questions the best I can.
Richard Childress Racing
Last season, Richard Childress Racing had two full-time drivers competing for the championship (Ty Dillon and Joey Coulter) and they both ended up finishing in the top five in points at the season’s end. Who will end up in an RCR truck in 2013? Well, we know two definite drivers for RCR at this point. Ty Dillon will once again be competing in the Camping World Truck Series in 2013 and he will be going after the championship. Dillon finished fourth in the standings last season and he will be primed to make another championship run in 2013. RCR’s long term goal for Dillon is for him to move up to the Nationwide Series but for 2013, he’ll be back in a truck.
Brendan Gaughan will be the second driver going after the championship in the Truck Series for RCR. Gaughan will field a full-time truck for RCR with sponsorship from South Point Casino and he’ll be battling it out for the championship in 2013.
After a championship winning season in 2012, Turner Motorsports will be prepping for another championship run in 2013 with a few new and returning drivers headlining their championship chances. James Buescher won the championship for Turner last season but it hasn’t been confirmed whether or not Buescher will return to the Truck Series in 2013. Buescher has been exploring the option of moving up to the Nationwide Series for next season but nothing has been confirmed.
Nelson Piquet Jr had a decent season in 2012 driving for Turner but he hasn’t announced where he will be racing in 2013. The Nationwide Series is where Piquet Jr wants to race in 2013 but nothing has been confirmed. Miguel Paludo is the only confirmed driver returning to the Truck Series for Turner Motorsports in 2013. Paludo failed to find victory lane in 2012 but he will be back in 2013, looking for his first victory and maybe even a championship trophy.
A new face will be racing a truck for Turner Motorsports in 2013 and that is Jeb Burton. Burton will be running a full-time schedule in 2013 and he will be looking for a championship. Jeb Burton is son of 2002 Daytona 500 champion Ward Burton. Jeb Burton is signed at Turner for the next two seasons so we will be hearing a lot about him as he begins his NASCAR career.
Kyle Busch Motorsports
A shaky 2012 for KBM will hopefully be forgotten as they gear up for 2013. KBM signed Joey Coulter to drive a truck full-time for KBM in 2013 and Coulter will be going after a championship. Coulter finished third in the points standings in 2012 while racing for RCR and with a new team for 2013; he’ll look to build on his 2012 performance.
Red Horse Racing
The best season yet for Red Horse came in 2012 and they will be looking to build off that for 2013. Red Horse Racing featured three trucks in 2012 but due to lack of sponsorship, they will only field two trucks in 2013. John Wes Townley is the only confirmed driver for Red Horse in 2013. Townley will be coming to Red Horse Racing after fielding the No.09 truck for Robby Benton for the past few seasons. Townley has yet to prove he can run up front and compete with the Trucks Series’ best but with this new opportunity with Red Horse Racing, he could quite possibly change that.
Timothy Peters wound up second in the standings last year driving the No.17 truck for Red Horse and he has yet to be confirmed back in that truck for 2013. With Peters’ performance in 2012, there is no reason he shouldn’t return but until Red Horse confirms him back behind the wheel in 2013; all we can do is wonder.
Eddie Sharp Racing
Following a big momentum year for ESR, they have yet to confirm anything for 2013. This could be due to sponsorship or just small details that need to be worked out. In 2012, ESR featured Cale Gale, Justin Lofton and Max Gresham in their trucks but only two wins came through. Until ESR officially announces their 2013 plans, we will have to wait to see who will be behind the wheel for ESR in 2013.
Joe Denette merged with NTS Motorsports following the 2012 season and that team plans to field a full-time truck for Ron Hornaday Jr in 2013. Hornaday is signed for the next two seasons. Hornaday Jr failed to produce results in 2012 but with a new start in 2013, he will look to compete for wins. ThorSport fielded the trucks for Matt Crafton and Johnny Sauter in 2012 and they will do the same in 2013. Crafton will once again be in the No.88 truck in 2013 and Sauter will pilot the No.13 truck. Results were a bit shaky for the ThorSport drivers last season but they have high expectations to perform well in 2013.
Silly Season in the Truck Series is still well in effect with just two months until Daytona. Many teams and drivers have yet to confirm their 2013 plans which leads us to wonder, who will be driving where in 2013? January is always a busy month with plans for the new season being unveiled and the same is expected in this coming January. 2013 is right around the corner and the Truck Series is geared up to feature some great truck racing once again.