Trucking stocks were off to the races on Thursday afternoon after Knight Transportation Inc. (NYSE:KNX) offered $9 a share, or an almost 40 percent premium to buyout rival USA Truck Inc.

In a letter to USA Truck, Knight executives said that the deal would, "improve operational efficiencies at USA Truck - and do so more quickly than the USA Truck management team can alone." It also said it is prepared to meet with USA Truck to hash out a deal.

USA Truck shares jumped 36 percent on the news.

Other trucking firms joined the rally on hopes the sector may be moving into play. Conway Inc. (NYSE:CNW) rose almost 3 percent, YRC Worldwide (NASDAQ:YRCW) added 2.2 percent and Arkansas Best Corp. (NADAQ:ABFS) rose 2 percent.