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NASCAR Draft Kit: Camping World Truck Series Drive Rankings

Mark Taylor

Taylor is RotoWire's senior NASCAR writer. A five-time FSWA award winner, Taylor was named the Racing Writer of the Year each of the last two years. He is also a military historian, specifically the World War II U.S. Navy in the Pacific.

1. Matt Crafton - No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota - The two-time series champion came up short in his quest to win three titles in a row last year. Crafton would posts career-highs in wins with six and Top-5 finishes with 13, but still not claim the crown. That in no way tarnishes what the ThorSport Racing star has accomplished the last three years. He's averaged three victories and 18 Top-10 finishes over that span and been the top driver in the Camping World Truck Series. We don't see that changing in 2016. In fact, with this division of NASCAR getting younger, it likely elevates Crafton more than ever. His 361 starts of experience, and the strong No. 88 team make him king of the mountain this season, and top contender to win the championship.

2. Tyler Reddick -
No. 29 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford - Reddick seemingly came out of nowhere last year to place his name among the top drivers in this racing series. Prior to 2015, the 19-year-old had only 17 starts of experience in the trucks, but that mattered little with this strong race team. The BKR team put great equipment under him and good experience behind him en route to a two-win, 19 Top-10 finish campaign with a runner-up finish in the driver standings. Reddick will move from the team's No. 19 truck into the No. 29 truck, and he'll be paired with crew chief Chad Kendrick. The young driver should have no problem following up on his fantastic season of last year, and making a big push to win the championship at Brad Keselowski Racing.

3. Timothy Peters -
No. 17 Red Horse Racing Toyota - After another strong season at Red Horse Racing, Peters returns for another full slate in 2016. This year he'll team with new crew chief Shane Huffman and continue the quest for that elusive Camping World Truck Series championship. The 34-year-old driver posted two wins and 16 Top-10 finishes last season en route to a fifth-place finish in the final driver standings. Peters has put up numbers similar to these for the last seven-straight seasons. He's become about as predictable a driver as there is in this division of NASCAR, however, he still lacks that little boost to become a serious title contender. That could happen in the coming season.

4. Kyle Busch / Daniel Suarez / Cody Coughlin -
No. 54 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota - This ride is KBM's conglomerate driver lineup team for the new season. Busch had to scale back his truck series participation last year due to his Daytona crash and associated injuries. He made only four starts between his No. 51 and No. 54 Toyota trucks. Now that he's the reigning Sprint Cup champion, we may see a lesser dose of Busch racing in this series again in 2016. Suarez and Coughlin will be the bulk share of the starts for this team, and it takes a hit in the driver rankings as a consequence. It's still one of the stronger rides in the Camping World Truck Series, but the mixed driver lineup, and lesser involvement of Busch in driving brings this team back to the field somewhat.

5. Johnny Sauter -
No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet - Sauter makes the big jump from ThorSport Racing to GMS Racing this year. He takes over the truck that the Dillon brothers and Brandon Jones raced in 2015 to some modest success. That driver lineup combined for one win and 13 Top-10 finishes. The addition of Sauter to the No. 21 Chevrolet elevates this team overnight. The 37-year-old veteran had a bit of a lackluster 2015 with no wins, 16 Top-10 finishes and a fourth-place finish in the final standings. Sauter is capable of winning races and challenging for the championship. He should be able to do that at GMS Racing. While a championship this season is not likely, we wouldn't rule it out down the road in the very near future.

6. Christopher Bell -
No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota - Young talent Bell takes over the No. 51 Toyota truck full-time that featured a multi-driver lineup last season. Bell was a part of that rotation logging six starts in the No. 51 truck. He posted a very noteworthy win in the popular dirt-track race at Eldora, and that put this rising star on the NASCAR map. He also added three Top-10 finishes in his seven start slate last season. Bell will team with crew chief Jerry Baxter in his first full season in the series. It will be interesting to see what this young, raw talent can do in a full 23-race slate. With the backing of Kyle Busch Motorsports and their fast trucks, the skies the limit for Bell in 2016.

7. Rico Abreu -
No. 98 ThorSport Racing Toyota - The USAC Midget car champion and two-time winner of the prestigious Chili Bowl, will move into the Camping World Truck Series this season. Abreu got his first taste of NASCAR stock car racing last season in the K&N Pro Series East and he excelled in that effort. The young Californian grabbed one victory and eight Top-10 finishes en route to finishing fifth in the final standings of that racing series. Abreu will take over the wheel of the No. 98 Toyota truck that Johnny Sauter has raced the last several seasons. This very strong team should give Abreu the ability to impact the truck series immediately. He'll team with crew chief Doug George and become one of the top contenders to win this season's Rookie of the Year award.

8. Daniel Hemric -
No. 19 Brad Keselowski Racing Ford - Hemric joins Brad Keselowski Racing for 2016. He'll pilot the strong No. 19 Ford for his second full-time season in the Camping World Truck Series. Last year the young driver raced the No. 14 Chevrolet to four Top-5 and 13 Top-10 finishes, but he joins a much stronger team this season. After finishing an impressive seventh in the final driver standings, he'll aim much higher this year. Under the guidance of crew chief Doug Randolph, Hemric will look to win his first race in this division of NASCAR and push the Top 5 of the driver standings. While those may be lofty goals, the excellence of the BKR No. 19 team can get him there. What Hemric lacks in experience in these trucks, he'll make up for with the strength of this team. We look for the 24-year-old driver to make some major steps this season.

9. Cole Custer -
No. 00 JR Motorsports Chevrolet - This skilled young driver makes the jump from part-time competition to full-time competition in this racing series this season. Custer opened eyes in 2014 at the age of 16 when he became the youngest winner in Camping World Truck Series history with his big win at Loudon. Dale Earnhardt Jr. saw enough of the young Californian tearing up the K&N Pro Series in both the East and West to put together a part-time truck series team for him. Custer hasn't disappointed since given the opportunity. In just 19-combined starts over the last two years, he's claimed two wins, three poles and 10 Top-10 finishes in those 19 starts. It will be exciting to see what Custer can do in a full 23-race slate. The sky's the limit for this young driver and strong race team.

10. Cameron Hayley -
No. 13 ThorSport Racing Toyota - The talented Canadian returns to the ThorSport Racing team in 2016 and resumes at the wheel of the team's No. 13 Toyota. Hayley made a big splash last season tallying 13 Top 10's en route a sixth-place finish in the final driver standings. While ThorSport has two higher profile teams, don't let this driver and team slip beneath the radar. Hayley will look to claim his first-career victory and push higher up the standings this season. At this point the crew chief of the team is the only unknown and x-factor as far as we can tell. A veteran crew chief could guide the 18-year-old to a good season in the Camping World Truck Series. So watch closely to see who ThorSport assigns to this team before the season starts.

11. John Hunter Nemechek -
No. 8 Eddie Sharp Racing Chevrolet - Nemechek has done nothing less than rocket upward since joining the truck series in 2013. Now that he's 18-years-old, he will only get better. Last year he claimed his first victory with the win at Chicago and he nabbed 10 Top-10 finishes in just an 18-race slate. It's assumed that he'll return to the No. 8 Chevrolet in 2016, but those plans haven't been made formal yet. If Nemechek can mount a full season, he could produce some big and impressive numbers. The young driver has made it known that he may have to find a bigger team in the Camping World Truck Series in order to keep growing, so we wouldn't rule out a move. However, his talent dictates that it matters little where he ends up racing this season.

12. William Byron -
No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota - The 2015 K&N Pro Series East champion gets a big promotion in 2016. Byron will take over the No. 4 Toyota Tundra that Erik Jones raced much of last season. The 18-year-old talent got a one-race audition with KBM last year and that was enough to secure him a ride for the upcoming season. It looks as though Byron will bring his own sponsorship to the ride in the way of Liberty University, and he'll be paired with crew chief Rudy Fugle. It's going to be an exciting opportunity for this young driver to flourish right away in his first full season of truck series racing. Byron won four races and led 740 laps last season in his championship campaign in the K&N Pro Series East, so there's little doubt about his driving ability.

13. Ben Kennedy -
No. 11 Red Horse Racing Toyota - This division of NASCAR is chocked full of young talent, and Kennedy is no exception. He just completed his second full season of competition in the Camping World Truck Series and posted steady numbers, comparable to his rookie year. Kennedy racked up one pole and eight Top-10 finishes for Red Horse Racing en route to a ninth-place finish in the final driver standings. The driver of the No. 11 Toyota will have some added competition this year with the growing youth movement in this division of NASCAR, but Kennedy should be able to keep up with the drivers around him. To this point in his career, he's lacked the winning touch, but career win number one could be in store this season.

14. John Wes Townley -
No. 05 Townley Motorsports Chevrolet - With close to 100-career starts in this series, Townley is becoming a veteran by age and experience. He's coming off his best truck series campaign in 2015. Townley nabbed his first-career victory at Las Vegas and posted three Top-5 and nine Top-10 finishes. It all added up to his best finish in the driver standings at eighth overall. The campaign was so good that this small team scaled back their Xfinity Series schedule to focus on the truck series and competing for this championship. While that is a stretch given the competition, Townley should continue to succeed in 2016. Family sponsor Zaxby's will be back on the No. 05 Chevrolet truck and leadership will continue with crew chief Michael Shelton.

15. Grant Enfinger -
No. 33 GMS Racing Chevrolet - The reigning ARCA Series champion will move up full-time to the truck series in 2016. GMS Racing has given him the seat of the No. 33 Chevrolet and expanded to three teams this season to get the 30-year-old veteran into this division of NASCAR. Enfinger has impressive numbers in the ARCA Series. Along with his one championship, he has 14 victories and 64 Top-10 finishes over 91-career starts. While Enfinger has limited experience in the trucks with just a scant six starts, he has the years of driving experience that you look for in terms of potential to succeed when making a jump like this one. He'll be paired with crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz and together the two should be up for some big things this season.

16. Spencer Gallagher -
No. 23 GMS Racing Chevrolet - The first full season of racing in the truck series presented some highs and lows for Gallagher. He claimed six Top-10 finishes, but also posted five finishes outside the Top 20 with two DNF's. It all added up to a 14.6 average finish and 10th-place in the driver standings after Homestead. Gone is crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz, and in is new crew chief, Jeff Hensley. He comes over from ThorSport Racing and brings 12 years of experience as a crew chief in this division of NASCAR. Hensley has guided legends like Mike Skinner and Ron Hornaday Jr. to victories and multitudes of Top-10 finishes, so he should help Gallagher right away. The No. 23 GMS Racing team and Gallagher present as much upside of any driver and team in the middle tier of this racing series.

17. Ben Rhodes -
No. 41 ThorSport Racing Toyota - Rhodes will increase his NASCAR schedule this season as he takes over the No. 41 Toyota full-time in 2016. The 18-year-old driver only dabbled part-time in the Xfinity Series last year, and spent way too much time on the sidelines. That will all change with this great opportunity to race for one of the truck series' top multi-truck teams. Rhodes is the 2014 K&N Pro Series East champion, and he completely dominated that circuit two seasons ago. He'll turn 19-years-old just as this season is getting underway, so the room to grow and develop will be given ample opportunity. The No. 41 team is a new team for ThorSport and it will be headed up by Kevin Bellicourt, who himself will be a rookie crew chief at this level.

18. Tyler Young -
No. 02 Young's Motorsports Chevrolet - The 25-year-old Texan returns for his third full season of truck series racing with his family's race team. Young started all 23 events in 2015 and claimed two Top-10 finishes vs. one DNF. The level of performance moved up quite a bit over this small team's 2014 campaign. Young finished 13th overall in the driver standings last season and he'll set his sights even higher in 2016. Bryan Berry returns at the crew chief position for the No. 02 team, and the hope is to continue the work they've started in the last two years. Young improved his average finishing position by almost 3.5 spots from 2014 to 2015, so there's good reason for some optimism here.

19. Mason Mingus -
No. 15 Billy Boat Motorsports Chevrolet - As of late January this team's status is still up in the air. The team sold their owner/driver points to the No. 44 team which is normally an ominous sign. However, Mingus' work in this series last year is good enough to suggest a pre-season Top-20 ranking. He made only 21 of the 23 events in 2015, but still posted three Top-10 finishes and a respectable 14th-place finish in the final driver standings. If Mingus is racing for this team or any other he needs to be considered a relevant competitor in the Camping World Truck Series in 2016. At just 21-years-old there's still tons of good racing and potential ahead for Mingus.

20. Dalton Sargeant -
No. 5 Wauters Motorsports Toyota - This team has been a part-time effort the past several years, but it looks as though they could go full-time racing in 2016. Sargeant made only four starts with this team in 2015, but had tons of success in securing a pair of Top-10 finishes at Bristol and Loudon. His predecessor in the No. 5 ride was John Wes Townley, and he too enjoyed lots of bang for the buck in this part-time team. Assuming Wauters and Sargeant reunite this season and run the full schedule, this could be a small team with a lot of upside in the Camping World Truck Series.

21. Austin Wayne Self -
No. 22 AM Racing Toyota - The runner-up in the ARCA Series last season will move to full-time truck series racing this season. AM Racing formed last December and formally announced their plans to field Self full-time in 2016. The 20-year-old Texan is fresh off a one-win, 12 Top-10 finish campaign in the ARCA Series. There he battled to keep up with Grant Enfinger all season long in that racing series. This small team will find the going tough in a very competitive division of NASCAR. With an abundance of talented young drivers around him, Self will have to do a lot to distinguish himself. This team's limited budget and limited sponsorship will make for some tough headwinds to navigate.

22. Driver TBD -
No. 07 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet - Ray Black Jr. raced this truck to some reasonably good success last season. He claimed one Top-10 finishes vs. only two DNF's and finished 11th in the final driver standings due to his ability to stay on track and finish races. However, Black has moved on and will race in the Xfinity Series this year, leaving this team without a driver as of late January. Team owner Bobby Dotter has been known to use an array of drivers to fill his teams over the years. If one dedicated driver cannot be found, you can likely expect to see a number of faces in this truck. Depending on who is racing each week will largely dictate the fortunes of this team in 2016.

23. Korbin Forrister -
No. 08 SS Green Light Racing Chevrolet - No plans have been announced for this team late in January, but they are expected to return for the full season. Forrister made 22 of the 23 starts for the team in 2015, but to little effect. The 23-year-old Georgian claimed only six Top-20 finishes as opposed to eight DNF's. The team resembled more of a start-and-park team most weeks, while they did manage in intersperse some competitive racing in between the early exits to the garage area. Assuming that Forrister is reunited with crew chief Mike Abner this season, some improvement could be expected. However, a lot of improvements have to be made and Forrister needs to take a few steps on the driving side of things.

24. Jennifer Jo Cobb -
No. 10 Jennifer Jo Cobb Racing Chevrolet - Cobb hasn't announced her plans for the upcoming season as of late January, but it's assumed she'll return for the full campaign once again. That's been the pattern the last several seasons. She raced in all 23 events last year and claimed seven Top-20 finishes vs. just two DNF's. While that's some improvement over past seasons, it was the weeks she spent closer to the rear of the field than the front that dragged her average finish down to just 23.4. It would be expected that Steve Kuykendall would return as crew chief for this team and that he and Cobb would continue to improve the performance. The bottom line is that this cash-strapped team faces an uphill battle in a division of NASCAR that only continues to get younger and more talented each season.

25. Tommy Joe Martins -
No. 44 Martins Motorsports Chevrolet - The team purchased the owner/driver points from Billy Boat Motorsports, so it appears as though this driver and team are gearing up for a full-time slate this season. Martins comes from a karting background but has made some brief forays into ARCA, Xfinity and trucks the last few years. The measure of those efforts have been less than desirable. However, with the new season appears to be some new sponsors and a fresh infusion of cash that hasn't been present for Martins in the past. That will allow this young driver to compete full-time, but the jury is out on the potential as the 29-year-old hasn't been able to race a full slate to this point since breaking into NASCAR in 2009.

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