ThorSport Racing, Toyota part ways

Russell LaBounty/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

After a six-year run that included 19 victories, two championships and nearly 3,000 laps in front of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series field, ThorSport Racing has parted ways with Toyota ahead of the 2018 season.

The Sandusky, Ohio-based organization announced the news on Tuesday, one month ahead of the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 at Daytona International Speedway.

The pairing first came about in 2012, when ThorSport made the change over from Chevrolet after 11 seasons. Their debut year proved quiet, but afterward the combination began to bear fruit.

Team veteran Matt Crafton brought the team to the peak during their Toyota tenure, claiming back-to-back championships in 2013 and ’14 before following it up with a six-win 2015 season.

Both Crafton and Ben Rhodes made the Truck Series playoffs for the team in 2017, with Crafton earning a place in the Championship 4 at Homestead-Miami Speedway for the second-straight year en-route to a fourth-place result in the standings. Rhodes followed in fifth.

Altogether ThorSport managed 19 wins, 117 top fives, 227 top-10s, 10 poles and 2,900 laps led in their six-year run with Toyota.

The announced change comes amid a state of flux for the Truck Series.

A host of teams have left the sport in recent years, including Red Horse Racing and Brad Keselowski Racing in 2017. The exodus has led NASCAR to consider a spec Truck engine for use in the series in 2018 and beyond in an effort to cut costs, though some have been critical of shifting the sport away from manufacturer support.

Whether the “Special Rules Engine” related to ThorSport’s decision is unknown at this time.

Future details for ThorSport – including their new engine partner, driver and sponsor lineups for 2018 – will be unveiled at a later date.

This post will be updated should more information become available.

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