ThorSport Racing’s last-minute change from Toyota to Ford this season in the Camping World Truck Series was a big undertaking.
While the organization has had good results thus far – all four drivers are 10th or higher in the series standings – there remains a lot of room for improvement.
ThorSport’s four drivers – Ben Rhodes, Matt Crafton, Grant Enfinger and Myatt Snider – have led a combined 18 laps in the first three races. The best finish among the group is fourth (twice by Rhodes and once by Enfinger).
The organization has also yet to score and wind tunnel time for its new Ford trucks, in part because there has not been the typical long break after Atlanta with the addition of a Las Vegas race this season.
“I think we are in a lot better position than we were last year,” said Rhodes, who is fifth in the standings entering Saturday’s race at Martinsville (Va.) Speedway. “I think the year has definitely taken off a lot better for us although we have had some hiccups – Daytona we qualified pretty far back and we were able to get a fourth-place at Atlanta with some severe motor issues.
“With all that being said, I still think a fourth-place, a fourth-place and a seventh at Las Vegas isn’t bad.”
Rhodes, 21, doesn’t generally like the breaks in the early part of the Truck series schedule but his ThorSport organization is utilizing every available moment to continue to work on its transition to the Ford camp.
At the time ThorSport made its decision on the change public on Jan. 22, it had done no work as yet on changing its trucks to Ford bodies.
“With our switch to Ford this year, we need all the time we can get. We haven’t been to the wind tunnel yet; we haven’t done any of the other things that teams like Kyle Busch Motorsports and GMS Racing are doing,” Rhodes said.
“This time allows us to do some R&D on our side and really work off the track to get at speed. A lot of the speed you see these days is made at the shop, from the wind tunnel, the seven-post machine, stuff like that.
“It’s kind of a blessing but the racer in me wants me to race every single day.”
Enfinger currently leads the ThorSport group and is third in the series standings. Rhodes is fifth, two-time series champion Matt Crafton is ninth and Myatt Snider is 10th.
Crafton has been the most successful at Martinsville of the ThorSport group, with a pair of victories, the most recent coming in 2015.
Snider is making his first start at the track, Enfinger’s best finish is 12th in three starts and Rhodes’ best finish is eighth in five starts. Rhodes also won a pole at Martinsville.
“I feel like a place like this, it’s like Talladega or Daytona in the sense that you can get caught up in bad things that aren’t really your fault and you do have to survive,” Rhodes said. “I feel this race gives us an awesome opportunity.
“We’ve had success here in the past. I feel like there are a lot of good things that can happen for us at this race track this weekend.”