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Analyzing the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship Four

For the past few years, the NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series has been referred to as the “Gong Show” of NASCAR. Sometimes, it stands true. Sometimes, it would be the complete opposite. This year, the Truck Series has put on great racing week in and week out. With more and more drivers looking to make their name in NASCAR history, they have to start with the Craftsman Truck Series. And this year’s Championship Four for the Truck Series is quite possibly the most competitive thus far. Who will come out of Phoenix with the heavy hardware on Friday night? Let’s analyze the 2023 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series Championship Four.

#11 Corey Heim:

Throughout the year, there has been one driver that has been flat-out dominant. That is the driver of the #11 for TRICON, Corey Heim. So far to this point of the season, Heim has led almost 300 laps more than any of the other Championship Four drivers. The kicker about this is that Heim missed one start throughout the year, and that was due to illness at Gateway. The rest of the Championship Four drivers have started all 22 races up to this point of the season. If it says how dominant Heim has been, he has an average finish of 6.23 throughout the year. In addition to his three race wins, Heim won the Regular Season Championship. He has been the Championship favorite all season long.

Even if Heim doesn’t lift the heavy hardware in Phoenix, he should not be ashamed of coming up short. It has been a fantastic season for him, and TRICON. The team formally known as David Gilliland Racing, announced on October 27th, 2022, that they would be switching from Ford to Toyota for the 2023 season. No one expected that Heim and TRICON would have this great of a season. If they can win the Championship in Phoenix, they will be contenders for the Truck Championship for years to come.

#23 Grant Enfinger:

Grant Enfinger is the one Championship Four driver with the most experience. He has been in contention for a Championship several times throughout his Truck Series career. 2023 has arguably been Enfinger’s best season to date. With three wins and an average finish of 9.09, it has been a great season for him and GMS Racing. Earlier this year, GMS Racing announced that they would be closing their doors at the end of the 2023 season. Over the years, GMS has been a very successful Truck Series team, which includes the 2020 Truck Series Championship. This is the best chance that Enfinger will have at a Truck Series Championship so far. Currently, Enfinger has not announced his plans for 2024. This would be a bittersweet ending for GMS Racing if Enfinger were to win the Truck Series Championship in Phoenix.

#42 Carson Hocevar:

Carson Hocevar is a young man with a bright future in NASCAR. Last season, he made mistakes that were expected out of the young driver but was on the brink of victory lane. This made Hocevar even hungrier to win for the first time. The Niece Motorsports driver got his first taste of victory lane earlier this year at Texas Motor Speedway. This win came in somewhat controversial fashion as Hocevar unintentionally spun out race leader Nick Sanchez from behind on the final lap, creating a massive wreck. This is the controversy that has followed Hocevar his entire NASCAR career. In the past, Hocevar has let his temper get the better of him. But all that controversy from Texas was washed away by Hocevar at Nashville with his second win of the season in dominating fashion.

Hocevar’s season started taking an upward turn after his third win of the season, at Richmond, before the Playoffs. He would carry this momentum throughout the Playoffs to the Championship Four. On October 10th, 2023, Hocevar announced that he would drive for Spire Motorsports full-time in the Cup Series starting next year. If Hocevar were to prove himself that he belongs in the Cup Series, he needs to win this Truck Series Championship.

#99 Ben Rhodes:

2023 has been an interesting year for Ben Rhodes to say the least. Coming into the season, he was one of the Championship favorites. He still is, but it hasn’t been the season that he and ThorSport Racing were hoping for. Rhodes only has one win on the season, that being Charlotte in late May. The 2021 Truck Series Champion is what some would call the dark horse of the 2023 Truck Series Champion Four. He has been in contention for multiple race wins throughout the season but has had bad luck strike at the worst time to take those wins away. It is unlikely that Rhodes will come out of Phoenix with the Championship, but it’s not impossible.

Who is the Favorite to win the Championship?

Each driver has an equal shot for the Championship. As previously said, Corey Heim has been the most consistent throughout the year in comparison to the rest of the Championship Four drivers. But there is one driver that stands out above the rest for the Truck Series Championship. That is Carson Hocevar. With his win at Homestead, Hocevar is riding huge momentum heading into Phoenix. Throughout the Playoffs, Hocevar has had an average finish of 4.66. He has the equipment to outrun the other Championship Four drivers. If he can win this Championship, it will be a great sendoff for Hocevar as he heads for the Cup Series in 2024.

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