ThorSport Racing moves to Ford for 2018, Crafton returns for 14th season

Nigel Kinrade/NKP

By Aaron Bearden, Motorsports Editor

One week after announcing their leave of Toyota, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series veterans ThorSport Racing have made their new engine provider known.

The organization announced on Monday that they’ve made the move to Ford for the 2018 Truck Series season, marking the first time that the Sandusky, Ohio-based team has worked with the Blue Ovals.

The team had previously competed under the banners of Chevrolet (1996-2011) and Toyota (2012-17).

“With 23 years in the NCWTS, we look forward to our new partnership with Ford Performance in NASCAR,” Team Owner Duke Thorson said in a team release. “Our pursuit of wins and championships remains at the forefront of our objectives.”

With 22 years of experience, ThorSport Racing is among the most successful and longest-tenure teams in Truck Series history. Thorson has tallied two driver’s championships, 16 wins, 126 top fives and 300 top 10s in his time as an owner in the tour, with an additional six wins and a championship in the ARCA Racing Series.

The team’s move to Ford will fill a gap for the manufacturer, who had previously lost their strongest Truck Series team – Brad Keselowski Racing – when the organization shuttered operations after the 2017 season.

“We’re excited that ThorSport Racing has decided to switch to a F-Series truck for the 2018 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” Ford Performance Motorsports Global Director Mark Rushbrook said. “ThorSport is a proven championship-level team in the series, and we look forward to providing them the aero and simulation technical support that will ensure they remain at the top level of the Truck Series.”

ThorSport also announced that two-time Truck Series champion Matt Crafton will return to the team for his 14th-consecutive season, running with support from longtime sponsor Menards.

Crafton, 41, has been the team’s most successful driver – tallying 14 wins and two championships (2013 and ’14) in a career that’s seen nine finishes inside of the top five in the championship standings.

Additional announcements from the team – including the rest of their driver and sponsor lineup – are anticipated at a later date. The organization will make their first Truck Series start under the Ford banner in the season-opening NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Feb. 16.

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