The only guarantee in life is that no matter how much you like something, eventually it will change. And change is coming to the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. For starters, there's the name (it was the Gander Outdoors Truck Series last season); but some popular races have fallen off the schedule, replaced by some that hope to reverberate with fans just as much.
Championship-caliber drivers have left their rides, and other championship-caliber drivers have taken over. There are still plenty of familiar faces, however, a group that's led by defending Truck Series champion Sheldon Creed.
NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series' Top 10 Drivers for 2021
1. Sheldon Creed
No. 2 GMS Racing Chevrolet
GMS Racing has become one of the powerhouse organizations of the series, and the pairing of Creed and crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz is the cornerstone. They have all they need to make it two series championships in a row.
2. Grant Enfinger
No. 98 ThorSport Racing Ford
Enfinger is exactly what race fans like to pull for: a guy who’s worked for years to make it to the big leagues from the ground up based only on talent and hard work.
3. Zane Smith
No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet
Just like his teammate Sheldon Creed, Smith found his footing in 2020. Still a young man, Smith has already gained a lot of experience in ARCA, the Xfinity Series, and now Trucks. Added maturity helped Creed over the last three years, and we’ll see the same thing with Smith, who is also well-positioned to make another run deep into the playoffs.
4. Austin Hill
No. 16 Hattori Racing Enterprises Toyota
Hill took over the HRE ride immediately following Brett Moffitt’s title year in 2018, and without a proven track record in the series, he had a lot of skeptics. Hill has proven them all wrong. The only thing keeping him from a playoff run is racing luck and timing.
5. Matt Crafton
No. 88 ThorSport Racing Ford
Two decades and three Truck championships after his arrival, he’s the graybeard of the series. He won the championship in 2019 without a win and returned to Victory Lane in 2020.
6. Brett Moffitt
No. 45 Niece Motorsports Chevrolet
A disappointing season with GMS still landed him a win and a Championship 4 bid. But that wasn’t enough, as pent-up frustrations boiled over at Phoenix. Now, he seeks sweet revenge with Chevy’s other top team.
7. Tyler Ankrum
No. 26 GMS Racing Chevrolet
Ankrum has a solid résumé for a 19-year-old. He’s a former K&N Pro Series (now ARCA Menards East) champion and earned his first Trucks win at just 18. Ankrum is another solid threat for GMS and should challenge for wins throughout the season.
8. Ben Rhodes
No. 99 ThorSport Racing Ford
Rhodes has been a consistent performer and is a good bet for a win in the regular season. If ThorSport steps up its game, he could sneak into the Championship 4 at Phoenix.
9. Johnny Sauter
No. 13 ThorSport Racing Ford
Sauter had an uncharacteristic season: no wins, just three top-5 finishes and only 79 laps led. He’s a 24-time winner, and he and crew chief Joe Shear Jr. will find that feel he’s looking for.
10. Todd Gilliland
No. 38 Front Row Racing Ford
Gilliland is one of the most talented young drivers in the series but hasn’t really lived up to his potential. Dad David Gilliland is a prominent driver development specialist, and his influence should pay off in 2021.
(Top photo courtesy of @NASCAR_Trucks)