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 /
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Christian Eckes, Kyle Busch Motorsports, NASCAR (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images) /

Possible 2021 first-time winners: Christian Eckes

Despite Grant Enfinger winning a career-high four races last year, he is slated to split the driving duties of the #98 ThorSport Racing Toyota with Christian Eckes. Of these five drivers, Eckes is the only driver competing part-time this year.

In his rookie year last year, Eckes scored seven top five finishes and 11 top 10 finishes en route to a playoff run which resulted in an eighth place finish in the championship standings.

Eckes was the bridesmaid in three Truck Series races last year, finishing in second place at Texas Motor Speedway, Kansas Speedway and Michigan International Speedway.

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The 2019 ARCA Menards Series champion is scheduled to compete in 10 of the 22 Truck Series races this year, with his first two starts lined up for the Daytona International Speedway road course and Las Vegas Motor Speedway. His remaining eight races have not yet been announced, so it is difficult to predict where he will be a contender.

Nevertheless, Eckes has proven talent. He led at least 10 laps seven times last year. He led the second most laps at Texas Motor Speedway before finishing runner-up by just 0.777 seconds behind team owner Kyle Busch. Eckes completed the fourth most laps of the season, so he garnered experience at the various courses on the schedule.

Without a full-time ride, Eckes has one goal for the upcoming season.

ThorSport Racing had three of their four drivers win last year. The lone driver who finished winless was Johnny Sauter, and he is the 2016 Truck Series champion who has won 24 times in the series. ThorSport Racing expect championship-caliber seasons from their drivers, and Eckes has veteran contending drivers as teammates, including three-time champion Matt Crafton.

This is the team’s 26th year of fielding entries in the Truck Series, and they have won 36 races. This year is crucial for Eckes’s future. With only a part-time ride, he is thankful to be racing for a top-notch organization.

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The NASCAR Truck Series season is scheduled to begin this Friday, February 12 at Daytona International Speedway with the NextEra Energy 250, which is set to be broadcast live on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 7:30 p.m. ET.