ThorSport Racing

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ThorSport Racing
ThorSport logo.gif
Owner(s) Duke Thorson
Rhonda Thorson
Base Sandusky, Ohio
Series Camping World Truck Series
Car numbers 13, 18, 27, 30, 41, 43, 44, 87, 88, 89, 97, 98
Race drivers 13. Cody Coughlin (R)
27. Ben Rhodes
88. Matt Crafton
89. Rico Abreu (part-time)
98. Grant Enfinger (R)
Sponsors 13. JEGS, Ride TV
27. Safelite AutoGlass, Alpha Energy Solutions
88. Menards
89. Curb Records
98. Jive Communications, Curb Records, Champion Power Equipment, Ride TV
Manufacturer Toyota
Opened 1996
Career
Debut Nationwide Series:
2008 Kroger 200 (IRP)
Camping World Truck Series:
1996 Sears Auto Center 200 (Milwaukee)
Latest race Nationwide Series:
2008 Food City 250 (Bristol)
Camping World Truck Series:
2017 Fred's 250 (Talladega)
Races competed Total: 874
Nationwide Series: 2
Camping World Truck Series: 830
ARCA Racing Series: 42
Drivers' Championships Total: 3
Nationwide Series: 0
Camping World Truck Series: 2
2013, 2014
ARCA Racing Series: 1
2013
Race victories Total: 32
Nationwide Series: 0
Camping World Truck Series: 26
ARCA Racing Series: 6
Pole positions Total: 23
Nationwide Series: 0
Camping World Truck Series: 22
ARCA Racing Series: 1

ThorSport Racing is an American professional stock car racing team that currently competes in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. The team is based on Sandusky, Ohio. Owned by Duke Thorson and his wife Rhonda, the team currently fields the No. 13 Toyota Tundra full-time for Cody Coughlin, the No. 27 Tundra full-time for Ben Rhodes, the No. 88 Tundra full-time for Matt Crafton, and the No. 98 Toyota Tundra for Grant Enfinger.[1] On June 13, 2016 a fire gutted the ThorSport facility in Sandusky, OH.

Nationwide Series[edit]

Car No. 13 history[edit]

In 2008, ThorSport Racing makes their Nationwide Series debut with Shelby Howard driving the No. 13 Chevrolet Impala for 2 races starting at Lucas Oil Park and Bristol. He then finished 20th and 23rd both of the races.

Camping World Truck Series[edit]

Truck No. 13 history[edit]

The No. 13 truck began racing in 2004, with Tina Gordon driving with sponsorship from Vassarette and Microtel. After five races, she left the team due to injuries she suffered at Atlanta, and Lance Hooper and Paul White shared the ride for the next several races. After several lackluster results, Jimmy Spencer drove at Loudon, finishing eighteenth, before Jason Small and Andy Houston finished out the season in the truck. For 2005, Tracy Hines drove the truck and had a fifth-place finish at Richmond International Raceway with sponsorship from David Zoriki Motorsports. He was released with two races to go, and Chad Chaffin and Johnny Sauter filled out the schedule in his place.

Kerry Earnhardt drove for ThorSport Racing during the 2006 season, his best finish being 11th which he recorded twice, at Nashville and Las Vegas. He was not retained for 2007 and rookie Willie Allen was signed to replace him. He had two top-tens and won Rookie of the Year, but was replaced at the end of the year by USAR Hooters Pro Cup driver Shelby Howard. Howard had two top-tens as well in the BobCat Company/FarmPaint.com Chevy, but finished seventeenth in points, and was released. Sauter returned to the team for the 2009 season full-time with sponsorship from Fun Sand. The team now runs through a partnership with Mike Curb. Sauter took ThorSport's third win as a team at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, and giving ThorSport its first ever 1–2 finish, with Crafton in second. Sauter would finish 6th in points at the end of the year. In 2010, Sauter took home his second win at Kansas after late contact with Ron Hornaday. Sauter would eventually finish 3rd in points to Todd Bodine. For 2011 the team gained sponsorship from Safe Auto Insurance Company. Sauter would score wins at Martinsville and Homestead, finishing second in points to Austin Dillon. Safe Auto left the team, being replaced by The Peanut Roaster in 2012. Sauter's season was beset by bad luck, but improved performance late in the season, as well as sweeping the races at Texas, lifted Sauter to 9th in points. Todd Bodine took over as driver for the 2013 season placing 11th at Daytona International Speedway, with Mattei Air Compressors as the truck's new primary sponsor. However, the team was unable to find additional sponsorship and was forced to release Bodine after the seventh race, with Brett Moffitt, Frank Kimmel and Tracy Hines each running a race before the team shut down. Kimmel returned to the No. 13 at the season-ending race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.[2]

In 2014, Jeb Burton was hired to drive the No. 13.[3] Initially running on a race-by-race basis pending sponsorship, Burton's ride was upgraded to the full season when Estes Express Lines signed a deal with the team.[4] However, the deal would not be extended to 2015, causing the team to release Burton, who subsequently signed with BK Racing in the Sprint Cup Series. Meanwhile, the No. 13 was taken over by Cameron Hayley, with Cabinets by Hayley signing to sponsor the ride. Hayley returned to the ride in 2016.[5] Hayley would have a dismal season, with not making it to the Chase and worse point standings finish than last year. Hayley did not return for 2017. He would be replaced by Cody Coughlin.[6]

Truck No. 27 history[edit]

On December 15, 2015, Ben Rhodes joined the team in a new fourth truck with sponsorship from Alpha Energy Solutions, the truck being numbered 41.[7] He recorded two top-fives and five top-tens.[8] He had a shot to win at Kansas Speedway until he tangled with Johnny Sauter on the last lap, leading to a William Byron win.[9]

Rhodes returned in 2017 to the renumbered 27 truck.[10]

Truck No. 88 history[edit]

The No. 88 truck

The No. 88 truck was the first out of the ThorSport stable. Debuting in the 1996 season at the Milwaukee Mile, Terry Cook finished 12th in the race for the team, which was then known as Sealmaster Racing. He ran two additional races in the truck that season, but did not finish better than 21st. Cook drove a limited schedule with the team in 1997 in the PGA Tour Chevy. Despite not finishing in the top-ten, Cook won his first career pole at Flemington Speedway, and finished 24th in the final standings. The team received enough funding to compete full-time in 1998, and Cook won his first career race at Flemington, but only improved to a twentieth-place points finish.

ThorSport began the 1999 without primary sponsorship before Big Daddy's BBQ Sauce joined the operation late in the season, allowing Cook to finish 15th in points. In 2000, PickupTruck.com became the team's new sponsor, and Cook had a total of eight top-ten finishes, but was replaced in the final event of the season by Matt Crafton, who finished ninth. Fast Master Driveway Sealer and XE Sighting System shared sponsorship duties for Crafton, who picked up eleven top-tens and finished 12th in points in his rookie season. Despite Menards becoming a full-time sponsor in 2002, Crafton only had six top-tens and dropped to fifteenth in the standings, but improved to eleventh the following year. For the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway, Buddy Rice was placed in the 88 truck 20th.

In 2004, rookie Tracy Hines became the team's new driver, and he posted three top-ten finishes and finished eighteenth in points. Crafton returned to the 88 for 2005, winning his first career pole at New Hampshire International Speedway and finishing ninth in points, a team-best. He slipped to fourteenth in points in 2006 despite ten top-tens, and repeated his top-ten total in 2007, moving up to eighth in points. 2008 was the team's best year to that point, with Crafton scoring his first win at Charlotte and finishing fifth in points. Despite not winning the next year, the No. 88 team finished runner-up in points to Ron Hornaday.

Crafton had another strong season in 2010, earning one pole at Texas Motor Speedway, 10 top-five and 20 top-10 finishes, resulting in a season-ending rank of fourth.

2011 saw the second win of Crafton's career at Iowa Speedway, in addition to poles at Michigan International Speedway and Martinsville Speedway, where he broke the track qualifying record. However, four DNFs (Did Not Finish) due to engine failures, mechanical issues and accidents caused by other competitors led to only five top fives and 13 top 10s, ultimately relegating Crafton to eighth in the final standings. In 2012, he had a decent season, finishing 6th in points.

2013 was Crafton's best season in his career to date. He won his third career race at Kansas in April. After this win, Crafton picked up the points lead and held it for the rest of the season. He finished in the top ten in the first sixteen races of the season, and 19 overall, with a worst finish of 21st in the season finale at Homestead. He clinched his first Truck Series championship with his start in that race,[11] and was able to stay on the lead lap despite late crash damage to become the first driver to complete every lap of the season in the Truck Series.[12]

On March 30, 2014, Crafton scored his fourth career Truck win at Martinsville.[13] On June 6, he won on fuel strategy at Texas Motor Speedway to win two races in a season for the first time in his career. It was also the first time he led more than 100 laps in a race. Despite crashing out at Dover and Gateway, his first DNFs in over two years, and dropping to 17 top tens, Crafton would ultimately go on to become the first back-to-back champion in the Truck Series.

Crafton would score his sixth career victory on February 28, 2015, in the Hyundai Construction Equipment 200, the revived Atlanta race. In May, he played fuel strategy to the win at Kansas, winning a second race at one track for the first time in his career. This also marked the first repeat win by any driver in the Truck Series at Kansas. In June, Crafton won at Texas to defend his victory from the previous season, another career first. In July, he picked up his fourth win of the season at Kentucky after the race was cut short due to Ben Kennedy's crash into the catchfence. He scored two additional wins at Martinsville and the season finale at Homestead, but finished third in the points due to a few crashes.

Truck No. 89 history[edit]

This truck entered in the 2017 Aspen Dental Eldora Dirt Derby, with Rico Abreu driving.

Truck No. 98 history[edit]

ThorSport first fielded the 98 truck at the 2002 Chevy Silverado 150 for Cory Kruseman with Agromin sponsoring. He finished 31st after suffering engine failure. The next race came a year later at the season-ending Ford 200 with Crafton driving, with sponsorship from Enzyme Magic as a sister truck to the 88 that he normally drove, finishing fifteenth. The 98 did not appear for six years until the 2009 Heluva Good! 200 at New Hampshire with Michael McDowell driving. He finished fourteenth in the Perkins Police truck. It ran another race later in the season at Texas with David Gilliland, but finished 35th after suffering rear end problems early into the race.

In 2010, the 98 ran at Daytona with Landon Cassill and EasytoInstall.com, but wrecked early in the race. The 98 returned in 2011 with Penske development driver Dakoda Armstrong behind the wheel with sponsorship from Ferrellgas and Argisure for 7 races. Armstrong later joined ThorSport for the 2012 season to make a run at Rookie of the Year. However, the team's EverFi sponsorship would only last for the first 14 races, forcing the team to release Armstrong before the fall race at Iowa and shut the team down.

The 98 returned for 2013 with Johnny Sauter swapping numbers. The team took back to back wins at Daytona and Martinsville, but suffered a setback when crew chief Joe Shear, Jr. was handed a suspension from NASCAR due to a fuel cell issue. Despite Shear's return at Iowa, he would later resign from ThorSport after the Eldora race, citing disagreements over the team being based in Ohio rather than North Carolina. Sauter would nonetheless win his third race of 2013 at Talladega, sweeping the restrictor plate events in the Truck Series. He would finish fourth in final points.

Sauter returned to the 98 in 2014. He dropped to just one win, at Michigan, but was a championship contender throughout much of the season before fading back to equal his fourth-place points finish from 2013. Sauter ran the Truck again in 2015, but announced late in the season that he would be leaving for GMS Racing in 2016. He would later be replaced by Rico Abreu.[14] Abreu lost his ride after the 2016 season due to a lack of sponsorship.[15] He would be replaced by Grant Enfinger for 2017.[16]

ARCA Racing Series[edit]

Car No. 13 history[edit]

In 2014, Jeb Burton made his debut with ThorSport Racing after being released from Turner Scott Motorsports due to sponsorship, driving the No. 13 Toyota Camry at the season opener at Daytona in the ARCA Racing Series. Burton started 21st and finished 29th after being involved in the early crash.

Car No. 18 history[edit]

ThorSport fielded the No. 18 Toyota Camry for Matt Crafton in 2012 at Lucas Oil Raceway where he started on the pole, but finished 31st after being involved in a crash.

Car No. 44 history[edit]

Kimmel's 2013 No. 44 ARCA championship car at Road America

In 2012, nine-time ARCA Racing Series champion Frank Kimmel joined the team in the No. 44 Toyota Camry.[17] In 2013, Kimmel became the leader in all-time wins in ARCA history with 80, en route to his tenth championship. Kimmel left the team for Win-Tron Racing after the season.[18]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Spencer, Lee. "Abreu lands full-season deal in NCWTS". Motorsport. Motorsport. Retrieved 13 January 2016. 
  2. ^ "Frank Kimmel To Drive With Thorsport In Season Finale". Tireball. November 6, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  3. ^ "Jeb Burton lands ride for Daytona with ThorSport". The Charlotte Observer. February 6, 2014. Retrieved February 7, 2014. 
  4. ^ "Jeb Burton's ThorSport Ride Now Full Time". NASCAR.com. May 27, 2014. Retrieved June 10, 2014. 
  5. ^ Bonkowski, Jerry (February 3, 2016). "Cameron Hayley back for second season in No. 13 Truck for ThorSport Racing". NBC Sports. Retrieved February 3, 2016. 
  6. ^ McFadin, Daniel (2017-01-30). "Cody Coughlin joins ThortSport Racing in Truck Series". NASCAR Talk. Retrieved 2017-02-03. 
  7. ^ Pennell, Jay (December 15, 2015). "Ben Rhodes joins ThorSport Racing for 2016 Camping World Truck season". Foxsports.com. Retrieved December 15, 2015. 
  8. ^ "Ben Rhodes Career Statistics - Racing-Reference.info". racing-reference.info. Retrieved 2017-02-03. 
  9. ^ "Rhodes takes out Sauter, Byron gets first win". NASCAR.com. 
  10. ^ "Ben Rhodes to remain with ThorSport for 2017 NASCAR Truck season". Motorsport.com. Retrieved 2017-02-03. 
  11. ^ Olson, Jeff (November 15, 2013). "With Homestead start, Matt Crafton clinches Trucks title". USA Today. Retrieved November 15, 2013. 
  12. ^ "Matt Crafton Wins NASCAR Truck Series Championship". ESPN. November 15, 2013. Retrieved May 17, 2014. 
  13. ^ "Matt Crafton Wins Rain Delayed Kroger 250 at Martinsville Speedway". 
  14. ^ "Abreu lands full-Season deal in NCWTS". Motorsport.com. January 14, 2016. Retrieved January 14, 2016. 
  15. ^ Spencer, Lee (January 11, 2017). "Rico Abreu will not return to full-time NASCAR competition in 2017". Motorsport.com. Retrieved January 12, 2017. 
  16. ^ Weaver, Matt (January 31, 2017). "Grant Enfinger lands full-time NASCAR Truck Series ride with ThorSport". Autoweek. Retrieved January 31, 2017. 
  17. ^ "Frank Kimmel Joins ThorSport". National Speed Sport News. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 
  18. ^ Kerchner, Mike (December 22, 2013). "Short-Track Roundup: ARCA champion Frank Kimmel changing teams". Autoweek. Retrieved March 10, 2014. 

External links[edit]