Toyota Racing Lands Another Driver for 2023 Season

Dean Thompson

Getty Dean Thompson will join an expanded lineup at TRICON Garage.

The Toyota Racing Development ranks have expanded once again ahead of the 2023 Craftsman Truck Series season. Dean Thompson has joined TRICON Garage on a full-time basis.

TRICON Garage — formerly David Gilliland Racing — announced the news on December 5 with a press release. The flagship Toyota Racing Development team confirmed that Thompson will join the fold and he will drive the No. 5 Toyota Tundra TRD Pro. He will compete full-time while pursuing points.

“I am thrilled to start the next chapter of my career with TRICON Garage and Toyota Racing Development,” Thompson said in a press release. “The team and manufacturer have quickly made a statement in the Truck Series as striving to be the best of the best. I’m ready to take on the challenge and live up to the expectations of being a driver for TRICON.”

Thompson Spent His Rookie Season With Another Team

Thompson, who has made a name for himself in the Late Model scene, made his Truck Series debut during the 2021 season. He made one start for Niece Motorsports during the season finale.

Thompson returned to Niece Motorsports in 2022, and he took on the full schedule while competing as a rookie. He made 23 starts in the No. 40 Chevrolet Silverado and posted a career-best 11th-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Thompson also added a pair of 14th-place finishes at World Wide Technology Raceway and Nashville Superspeedway.

The California native will now move over to the Toyota Racing family for his second career Craftsman Truck Series season. He will have support from Thompson Pipe Group, the company that served as his primary partner during his first-ever race in the series.

Thompson is the second driver to depart Niece Motorsports ahead of the 2023 season, albeit for different reasons. Kris Wright and the team parted ways ahead of the August trip to Richmond Raceway. He finished out the season driving for Brandonbilt Motorsports while a variety of drivers replaced him in the No. 44 Chevrolet Silverado.

TRICON Garage Features an Expanded Lineup

Dean Thompson

GettyDean Thompson prepares for practice at Bristol Motor Speedway.

The addition of Thompson means that TRICON Garage will expand after running three entries in 2022, which featured two full-time drivers in Hailie Deegan and Tanner Gray, as well as a rotating group of guests. Two of these part-time drivers, Ryan Preece and Todd Gilliland, delivered wins while controlling the No. 17 Ford F-150.

Gray will return to the team on a full-time basis in 2023. His brother, Taylor Gray, will run full-time once he turns 18 on March 25. Meanwhile, reigning Rookie of the Year Corey Heim will remain in the Toyota pipeline while moving over to TRICON Garage from Kyle Busch Motorsports. Thompson will round out the lineup.

“We’re really excited to welcome Dean into the TRICON program for 2023,” said team owner David Gilliland. “Our goal is to develop future stars of the sport, and he has all the intangibles of a driver with a long NASCAR career ahead of him. He shares our commitment to growing this team into a premier Truck Series organization, and we can’t wait to hit the track with him at Daytona.”

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