Honeycutt, the 20-year-old native of Willow Park, Texas, will serve at the anchor driver for Niece Motorsports’ all-star entry this season in Truck Series competition, joining the team that has made the Championship 4 twice in the past five years and nearly won the 2019 championship with Ross Chastain.
Driving the No. 45 Chevrolet Silverado in 12 of the season’s 23 races, Honeycutt will be paired with veteran crew chief Phil Gould as he pursues a breakthrough win at the NASCAR national series level.
It’s a full-circle moment for Honeycutt, who has worked in the Niece Motorsports shop in various capacities over the past few years as he’s worked to find his footing in the sport, and now gets to focus more of his time on driving once again.
“Man, this is something I’ve for the last two years, and to finally able to have an opportunity like this with a company that I believe in and that believes in me is unreal,” Honeycutt told Motorsports Hotspot regarding his new deal with Niece Motorsports. “They’ve been so successful the last two years with Carson [Hocevar], especially last year, so it’s going to be awesome to be able to work with them and aim to perform at the highest level.
“I feel like we’ll have speed every week and I’m grateful to Al [Niece, team owner] for giving me this chance.”
Honeycutt will make his season debut with Niece Motorsports during the second race of the year, the Fr8 208 at Atlanta (Ga.) Motor Speedway on Feb. 24.
He’ll then race at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway on March 16, Martinsville (Va.) Speedway on April 5, Kansas Speedway on May 4, Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway on May 24, and Nashville (Tenn.) Superspeedway on June 28 before returning to the No. 45 for the first six races of the Truck Series playoffs.
Joining Honeycutt in the driver lineup for the No. 45 will be 2016 NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter, as well as young gun Connor Mosack and NASCAR Cup Series star Chastain, whose career launched into the national spotlight alongside Niece Motorsports five years ago.
Sauter will kick off the season behind the wheel during the season-opening Fresh From Florida 250 at Daytona Int'l Speedway on Feb. 16, while Mosack's first race will be at Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway on March 1.
Chastain will compete in the maximum of five Truck Series races allowed for full-time Cup Series drivers.
He'll be behind the wheel of the No. 45 at Circuit of the Americas in Austin, Texas, on March 23, Darlington (S.C.) Raceway on May 10, North Wilkesboro (N.C.) Speedway on May 18, Pennsylvania's Pocono Raceway on July 12, and at Lucas Oil Indianapolis Raceway Park on July 19.
But for Honeycutt, simply the chance to drive alongside top names like Sauter and Chastain was something that he marvels at having.
“As a young driver, you hope to be in situations like this, but you never really know if it will happen until it finally does,” he said. “I'm excited to be able to learn from them.”
After a year of uncertainty and only sporadic NASCAR appearances outside of his CARS Tour late model and ARCA Menards Series West obligations, Honeycutt tipped that having a more consistent schedule this year will allow him to build more confidence in his race craft at the national level.
“It’s going to make it a whole lot easier to do the things that I need to in order to focus on myself each and every week,” said Honeycutt. “What I’m expecting and the caliber of truck that I’m going to be in is a big deal for me, and I know I’m going to be expected to perform in a whole lot of ways.
“There’s still pressure in a situation like that, but this is the kind of chance I’ve wanted for a while and I feel like this is the right time and moment to try and take that step up in the world,” Honeycutt added. “Without the help of a lot of people, this wouldn’t have happened, so we’ll work hard to make them proud and, hopefully, exceed expectations along the way.”
Honeycutt has 20 career Truck Series starts to his name over the past two years, driving for G2G Racing, On Point Motorsports, Roper Racing, and Young’s Motorsports during that span.
While those four teams comprise 19 of Honeycutt’s 20 Truck Series appearances, the lone exception was the Pocono Raceway event last July, where the Texan drove Niece Motorsports’ No. 44 entry to a 20th-place finish.
It’s a race that allowed Honeycutt to get comfortable with the dynamic he’ll experience this year as one of Niece’s main drivers, alongside full-time teammates Bayley Currey and Matt Mills.
“Not just being able to drive for Al at Pocono, but the fact that I was able to work with these guys in the shop most of last year helped out a whole lot,” admitted Honeycutt. “Just relationship wise, it helped out in that aspect with allowing me to get to know everyone better, but it’s going to be really cool to work with these guys on a different level as a driver. I feel like I’ve had a great relationship with everyone so far.
“Moving around and bouncing from team to team throughout my career has definitely made it a little bit more difficult [to find consistency], but being able to work with the same people every week now … even when I’m not the one driving, should help us keep growing our performance level along the way.”
After failing to qualify for last year’s season opener at Daytona (Fla.) Int’l Speedway and seeing an early slate of races with Roper Racing quickly dry up in the spring, Honeycutt is grateful his tenacity and drive to continue seeking a home in the Truck Series has finally paid off with a stable ride.
“We’ve had a lot of good things happen over the offseason that have given me even more confidence that we can go out and try to contend for wins, but I wasn’t sure if I’d ever get to a point like this because of everything I’ve endured the past few years,” said Honeycutt. “It’s been challenging and tested me a lot, but I’ve kept the faith and believed that if I kept looking and searching for the right opportunity, something would eventually break my way.
“It’s been a long road to get to this point, but we’ve never given up, and now it’s time to see what I’m made of and hopefully compete for wins in NASCAR like I’ve wanted to since I was a kid growing up.”
Honeycutt will begin his Truck Series season Saturday, Feb. 24 at the 1.54-mile Atlanta quad-oval. Coverage of the Fr8 208 begins at 2 p.m. ET, live on FS1, the Motor Racing Network, and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90.
Great NEWS! We have taken the green flag and have officially launched our Race Face Digital Kickstarter crowdfunding. To make your pledge click on the button below. Pledges start at $10.