Matt Crafton will kick off the 2023 Craftsman Truck Series season at Daytona International Speedway. He will use the race to continue a historic partnership with Menards.
The 2023 season will be Crafton’s 20th with Menards as a primary partner. This is now the longest deal between a driver and a sponsor in NASCAR history, which breaks the record set by Richard Petty and STP.
The partnership began in 2001, which was Crafton’s second season in the Craftsman Truck Series. Menards took over the No. 88, and it has remained there ever since. The only exception is the 2004 season when he drove for Kevin Harvick‘s team with GM Goodwrench as his primary partner on the No. 6.
“We’ve had an outstanding partnership with ThorSport through the years,” Menards President John Menard said in a press release on February 8. “The success we’ve had both off and on the track with Matt Crafton and ThorSport has proven to be legendary. To be able to have NASCAR’s longest-running partnership with a driver and team says it all!”
Crafton Has Extensive Success With Menards
Crafton has no shortage of success in the Craftsman Truck Series. He has been a full-time driver since the 2000 season, and he is the only competitor to top both 400 and 500 career starts.
Crafton has celebrated 15 wins in the Craftsman Truck Series, all of which have featured Menards as his primary partner. The first took place at Charlotte Motor Speedway in 2008 while the most recent was at Kansas Speedway in 2020.
Along with the wins, Crafton has celebrated three Truck Series championships with Menards. He went back-to-back in 2013 and 2014 before adding his third title in 2019.
Crafton will now suit up for another full season of Craftsman Truck Series competition, and he will have Menards back as his primary partner. He will also have associate partners in Ideal Door, Mold-Armor, Jack Links, Chi-Chi’s, Black Label Bacon, Great Lakes Flooring, Generac, Flex Seal, Paslode, Slim Jim, Planters, and Denali Aire.
The 2023 Season Will Feature Multiple Changes
The partnership with Menards will continue, but there will be other changes at ThorSport Racing. Chief among them is the return to Ford Performance after multiple seasons featuring a partnership with Toyota Racing Development.
The other change is on the driver roster. Crafton will continue to work alongside Ben Rhodes and Ty Majeski, but he will also have a new teammate. Hailie Deegan will join ThorSport Racing after two full seasons at David Gilliland Racing — now Tricon Garage.
Deegan will replace Christian Eckes, who moves over to McAnally-Hilgemann Racing to drive the No. 19. She will drive the No. 13 Ford F-150 while getting into the best equipment of her Craftsman Truck Series career.
ThorSport Racing was successful to a point during the 2022 Truck Series season. Majeski and Rhodes both won races while reaching the championship four. However, they both fell short of the ultimate goal while Zane Smith delivered a title to Front Row Motorsports.
ThorSport Racing has the expectation that returning to the welcoming arms of Ford Performance will only lead to more wins and another potential championship trophy. The race at Daytona International Speedway will be the first opportunity for Crafton, Rhodes, Majeski, and Deegan to pursue this goal.
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