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NASCAR’s Best Truck Series Drivers

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For most, the NASCAR Cup Series is the ultimate goal, however, some drivers found a way to carve nice careers for themselves in NASCAR’s lower series. One example of this is the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series, where certain drivers become the gatekeepers of sort to the higher divisions. Who are the best of these drivers?

This list is solely for drivers who have the bulk of their NASCAR success in the Truck Series. Running a few full-time seasons in higher divisions does not disqualify someone from this list, but if the majority of their success was from the Cup Series, they are ineligible. This means drivers like Kyle Busch or Kevin Harvick are both not going to be on this list.

5. Matt Crafton

By the Numbers: 15 Wins; 133 Top-5s; 316 Top-10s; 3 Championships (2013, 2014, and 2019)

Matt Crafton is a driver who truly worked his fingers to the bone to have success in the Truck Series. He started running full-time in the series in 2001, and he was solid running for Duke Thorson (ThorSport) then Kevin Harvick. In 2005, he returned to ThorSport for good, and he has remained there ever since.

The bright yellow 88 Menards truck has since become iconic as Crafton won his first race at Charlotte in 2008, and he continued up from there. In 2013, he beat out Ty Dillon for the series Championship, and entered his prime. Crafton has won two more series championships since, and some would argue he’s worthy of Hall of Fame consideration.

4. Mike Skinner

By the Numbers: 28 Wins; 90 Top-5s; 144 Top-10s; 1995 Champion

Mike Skinner was the Truck Series first superstar. Sporting the number 3 truck painted almost exactly like Dale Earnhardt’s Cup car, Skinner won 16 races in the series first two seasons. He won both the series inaugural race at Phoenix in 1995 over Terry Labonte, and he also won the Series inaugural championship in 1995.

After a few years in the Cup Series, Skinner ran full-time in the Trucks once again from 2004 until 2010. He would win 12 more races and finish as high as second in the standings in 2007. That championship he narrowly lost to Ron Hornaday Jr. after a disastrous final race at Homestead.

3. Todd Bodine

By the Numbers: 22 Wins; 92 Top-5s; 125 Top-10s; 2-Time Champion (2006 and 2010)

Todd Bodine had a decent amount success in the Xfinity Series before an underwhelming Cup Series stint in the early 2000s, but once he got to the Truck Series full-time in 2005, he took that series by storm. From 2005 until 2010, Bodine never finished worse than fourth in the points standings. He won his first series championship in 2006 over series veteran Johnny Benson.

Perhaps Bodine’s most incredible accomplishment though was winning four consecutive superspeedway races. From late 2007 until early 2009, Bodine won every race at Daytona and Talladega, and he seemed absolutely invincible on the big tracks. To NASCAR fans of my generation, Todd Bodine was the man to beat in the Truck Series.

2. Jack Sprague

By the Numbers: 28 Wins; 136 Top-5s; 192 Top-10s; 3-Time Champion (1997, 1999, and 2001)

When Mike Skinner moved up to the Cup Series, Jack Sprague took Skinner’s place atop the Truck Series. From 1996 until 2001, Sprague finished in the top-10 an absurd 78% percent of the time. During that time frame, he only finished out of the top-2 in points one time, a fifth place finish in 2000.

Sprague did all of this while driving for Rick Hendrick of people during this time, an owner who has not run much the lower series over the past two decades. Sprague’s most memorable moment in the series came in 1999, when he would win the Championship at the final race of the season. Sprague took the lead from Mike Bliss on a late restart, and Sprague went on to win his second championship by only eight points over a young Greg Biffle.

1. Ron Hornaday Jr.

By the Numbers: 51 Wins; 158 Top-5s; 234 Top-10s; 4 Championships (1996, 1998, 2007, 2009)

The Truck Series version of Harry Gant, Ron Hornaday Jr. competed in the inaugural Truck Series season in 1995, and he immediately made an impact winning six races. He and Jack Sprague went at it between 1996 and 1999 with Hornaday beating Sprague by only three points in 1996 and winning again in 1998. While Hornaday left the series after the 1999 season, he returned in 2005 as good as ever.

This time, Hornaday would beat out two more guys on this list beating out Mike Skinner for the 2007 Championship and Matt Crafton in 2009. With 51 wins and all of those seasons beating out the best the series has ever had, it’s hard not to put Hornaday at the top of this list. NASCAR’s Greatest Trucker of all time.

With the current status of the Craftsman Truck Series as a feeder series, it’s becoming less common for drivers to carve entire careers for themselves in the Truck Series. However, it’s not a completely lost art, and plenty of drivers will have a chance to add themselves to this list.

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Picture of Joshua Lipowski

Joshua Lipowski

All Posts