NASCAR Truck Series: 5 possible first-time winners in 2021

Zane Smith, GMS Racing, and Grant Enfinger, ThorSport Racing, NASCAR - Phoenix Raceway 2020 NASCAR Championship
Zane Smith, GMS Racing, and Grant Enfinger, ThorSport Racing, NASCAR - Phoenix Raceway 2020 NASCAR Championship /
5 of 6
Ryan Truex, Niece Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images) /

Possible 2021 first-time winners: Ryan Truex

Of the five drivers on this list, Ryan Truex has the most experience, with 155 combined starts across the three NASCAR national series. The 28-year-old Mayetta, New Jersey native has 14 top five finishes and 43 top 10 finishes in total. After running part-time for the past two years, he is set to pilot the #40 Chevrolet for Niece Motorsports on a full-time basis in 2021.

Truex ran full-time in the Truck Series in 2017 for Hattori Racing Enterprises. He notched eight top five finishes and 13 top 10 finishes en route to a ninth place finish in the championship standings.

Watkins Glen International is scheduled to host the Truck Series regular season finale. Truex won the 2017 ARCA Menards Series East race there. He also has one Cup Series and two Xfinity Series starts there, and he led two laps. If he wins that race, he would likely lock himself into the playoffs.

In his seven Xfinity Series starts at Richmond Raceway, Truex has a fourth place finish and two other top eight finishes. Richmond Raceway is scheduled to host the sixth race of the Truck Series season, so Truex likely will have regained his comfort of running full-time by then.

After sending Ross Chastain to the Championship 4, where he finished in second place, in 2019, Niece Motorsports regressed last year. The team mustered only three top five finishes and 13 top 10 finishes. Worse is the fact that after Chastain led 532 laps in 2019, the team only led 32 laps last year, including 27 with Chastain behind the wheel.

Truex has two full-time teammates this year. Carson Hocevar is set to compete full-time after turning 18 years old to chase Rookie of the Year honors. Additionally, 2018 Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt joined the team after driving for GMS Racing the past two years. Team owner Al Niece is counting on this trio to win, make the playoffs and contend for the championship.