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Brett Moffitt joins GMS Racing to defend Truck title

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GMS Racing announced Thursday that reigning NASCAR Truck champion Brett Moffitt will drive the team’s No. 24 ride in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series. GMS Racing made the announcement a day after stating that Johnny Sauter would not return to the team.

“I’m excited to be given the chance to defend my 2018 championship,” Moffitt said in a statement from the team. “I have to thank the Gallagher family and everyone at GMS for this opportunity. I can’t wait to start working with Jerry (Baxter, crew chief) and the guys to kick off the season at Daytona in a few weeks.”

Moffitt needed a ride after he was replaced by Austin Hill at Hattori Racing. Despite winning the championship, Hattori Racing struggled to find sponsorship throughout the season. Moffitt said after winning the title in November he didn’t know where he would drive this season.

The 26-year-old Moffitt won six races last year. He has seven career Truck wins in 36 starts.

“Brett will be an excellent addition to the GMS organization,” GMS team president Mike Beam said in a statement. “Last year he showed the racing world the amount of talent and determination he has, especially while facing some adversity throughout the season. We look forward to helping him win his second championship and ours as well.

“We have a strong driver lineup in every series we’ll compete in this year. Maury Gallagher has given us the tools and personnel we need to compete for several championships.”

In a Thursday afternoon teleconference, Moffitt called the signing an “11th hour” deal and said discussions between him and GMS started “in-between the holidays. They just wanted to see what I could bring to them and what they could for me and if I was still available.”

Moffitt said “a few existing partners” that have been with him through the years will be on the No. 24, but he’s not sure how often.

Even with those partners, Moffitt said staying with Hattori was “never an option.”

“Quite frankly, I don’t think it would have been enough to move the needle,” Moffitt said. “I think GMS has given us a really good platform where we can take some of our current partners and their current partners and help build it all.”

Before the GMS opportunity arrived, Moffitt said he “had options open.”

“None of them that would necessarily lead to me being in race-winning equipment, which is what I wanted ultimately,” Moffitt said. “A few opportunities in less than impressive Cup stuff. We had talked with some Xfinity teams as well. The biggest thing for me is to go out and try to compete for a championship and win races. I was kind of holding out and hoping a deal like this would come together.”

Moffitt said he considered at one point settling for opportunities to run limited races in winning equipment.

He said the deal from GMS was the “best deal out there by far and I think it’ll be one of the best positions I’ve been in in my career.”

Moffitt cited a relationship with GMS that originated in one Xfinity Series start for the team in 2017 when he finished 11th at Iowa Speedway.

“Just kind of always been in talks on-and-off,” Moffitt said. “When this opportunity opened up to them, I believe I was the first person they called about it. I’m just glad we were able to make it happen.”

The rest of the GMS Racing lineup for 2019 features:

  • Rookie Sheldon Creed in the No. 2 Truck with Doug Randolph as crew chief.
  • John Hunter Nemechek in the No. 23 Xfinity car with Chad Norris as crew chief.
  • Sam Mayer in the No. 21 K&N Pro Series East ride. He’ll also run limited ARCA and Truck races.

GMS Racing also stated that Halmar Friesen Racing renewed its technical alliance with GMS Racing to field the No. 52 for Stewart Friesen.

Daniel McFadin contributed to this report

Austin Hill joins Hattori Racing Enterprises in Truck Series

Hattori Racing Enterprises
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Austin Hill will drive for Hattori Racing Enterprises in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series this season, the team announced Tuesday.

Hill takes over the No. 16 Toyota from Brett Moffitt, who won six races and the series title for the team last year. Moffitt revealed in early December that he would not be returning to the team due to a lack of sponsorship.

Moffitt has not announced any plans for 2019.

A native of Winston, Georgia, Hill is a former member of the NASCAR Next program who competed full-time for Young’s Motorsports in the Truck Series last year and finished 11th in the standings.

Hill has 51 Truck starts since 2014 with one top five in last November’s race at Texas Motor Speedway

He also earned five K&N Pro Series East wins from 2013-15.

The No. 16 will be sponsored by Toyota autodealer Chiba Toyopet in the season opener at Daytona. United Rentals will be a sponsor in multiple races. The team was sponsored by Ibaraki Toyopet and Kobe Toyopet in one race each in 2018.

“I’m thrilled to join HRE this season,” Hill said a press release. “(Owner) Shige (Hattori) has built a great team and what they accomplished last season has me extremely optimistic heading to Daytona. I’ve had the pleasure to work with great teams in the past, including my family’s team in the K&N Series, but this is an opportunity of a lifetime at HRE. Scott and the team proved what they’re capable of last season, and I can’t wait to get to work and see what we can accomplish this season.”

Scott Zipadelli will return as the team’s crew chief.

“I’m really looking forward to racing with Austin and continuing our team’s success,” Zipadelli said in the press release. “Austin is a great kid and has a lot of potential. He has a great track record in the K&N Series and put together a strong year last season with Young’s Motorsports. I think he’ll transition well into our program and fit right in with our group.”

Hattori also announced this week it will return to competition in the K&N Pro Series East with Max McLaughlin in the No. 1 Toyota.

McLaughlin’s team will run engines prepared by students from NASCAR Technical Institute’s (NTI) Spec Engine Program.

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Truck results, point standings after Texas

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Justin Haley inherited the lead from Todd Gilliland on the last lap to win the Truck series race at Texas and lock himself into the championship finale in Miami.

Ben Rhodes (second) and Brett Moffitt (third) were also able to get around the faltering Gilliland.

Gilliland coasted across the finish line in fourth with Austin Hill rounding out the top five.

Click here for complete results

Johnny Sauter maintained the points lead despite sustaining damage in a Stage 2 accident and finishing 11th. He is locked into the playoffs with last week’s Martinsville win.

Justin Haley’s Texas victory locks him into the playoffs. 

Brett Moffitt finished third in the race and was elevated to second in the points. He currently has a 22-point advantage over the cutoff line.

Noah Gragson survived damage in a Lap 42 incident to finish 10th. He sits fourth in the standings, 18 points above the cutoff line.

Grant Enfinger finished 12th and is currently below the cutoff line with one race remaining in the Round of 6.

Matt Crafton finished ninth and is 23 points behind Gragson.

Click here for complete points

Justin Haley wins Truck race at Texas as Todd Gilliland runs out of fuel

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Justin Haley inherited the lead from Todd Gilliland when Gilliland ran out of fuel on the backstretch of the last lap in Friday night’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race. With the win, Haley locked himself into the championship finale in two weeks in Miami – joining GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter.

“I thought we had it lost there,” Haley said in victory lane on Fox Sports 1. “I didn’t quite maximize my pit road. God stuck with me, kept my faith behind me.”

Gilliland led by more than three seconds when he took the white flag.

“Just heartbroken.” Gilliland said in the media center after the race. “Kind of disbelief. You’re half a lap away from your first win.”

Ben Rhodes finished second with Brett Moffitt in third.

Gilliland coasted across the finish line in fourth with Austin Hill rounding out the top five.

The final battle was set up when Gilliland lost the lead to Stewart Friesen shortly before they both pitted on Lap 118. Friesen was caught speeding entering the pits. Once the pit stop cycle ended, Gilliland led by more than three seconds.

Playoff contender Noah Gragson sustained damage on the right side when he was involved in a multi-Truck incident on Lap 42, but was able to climb back to 10th at the checkers.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Justin Haley for his first stage win of his career (under caution)

STAGE 2 WINNER: Myatt Snider for his first stage win of his career (under caution)

MORE: Click here for complete results
MORE: Click here for complete points

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Making his first start on a 1.5-mile track, Harrison Burton finished sixth. … Jesse Little finished seventh, one spot off his career-best finish. … Myatt Snider scored the Stage 2 win. He lost track position in the final stage and finished 13th.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: Bo LeMastus crashed on Lap 3 while running 16th. He was the first driver to retire in 32nd. … David Gilliland was running in the top five before he slammed the wall. He took the truck straight to the garage and finished 30th. … Cory Roper and Joe Nemechek made contact on Lap 42 and Roper spun up the track, collecting Tyler Young and Johnny Sauter. … Making his fifth Truck start and first on a 1.5-mile track, Sheldon Creed crashed on Lap 60 after leading two laps. He finished 25th.

QUOTE OF THE RACE: “Canada and here were two luck wins,” Haley said on Fox Sports 1 from victory lane. “You just can’t give up faith. You bring great trucks to the race track and that’s all you can do.”

WHAT’S NEXT: Lucas Oil 150 at 8:30 p.m. ET on Nov. 9 at ISM Raceway on Fox Sports 1.

Kyle Larson loses 10 points, car chief suspended for Talladega penalty

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Kyle Larson‘s Cup team has been penalized 10 driver and owner points and loses car chief David Bryant to a one-race suspension for a L1 penalty at Talladega Superspeedway.

Crew chief Chad Johnston was also fined $25,000.

The No. 42 team violated Section 10.9.9.d in the rulebook, which notes “Damaged vehicle repair, regardless of how the damage occurred, is permitted to have original body parts removed or reattached in their original location with fasteners and/or tape only.”

Larson spun with seven laps left in Stage 2 due to a flat tire.

Larson, who finished 11th in Sunday’s race and called it “embarrassing at times”, is now 36 points behind the cutoff spot on the playoff grid, making this weekend’s elimination race at Kansas Speedway a must win for Larson.

This is Bryant’s second suspension this season. He missed two races in May for a rear-window violation at Kansas.

NBC Sports has asked Chip Ganassi Racing if it will appeal;there was no immediate response from the team.

John Klausmeier, crew chief on Aric Almirola‘s No. 10 Ford, was fined $10,000 for an unsecured lug nut on the race-winning car.

NASCAR also issued three fines to crew chiefs in the Camping World Truck Series for the same L1 penalty.

Chad Kendrick (Austin Hill‘s No. 02 Chevrolet), Graham Bruce (Stewart Friesen‘s No. 52 Chevrolet) and Joel Shear Jr. (Johnny Sauter‘s No. 21 Chevrolet) were fined $5,000 for violating Section 20.4, which notes “Air is not allowed to pass from one area of the interior of the vehicle to another or to the outside of the vehicle.”

NASCAR also issued an indefinite suspension to Christopher Justin Chase for violating Sections 12.1.a and 2.11.a in the rulebook, a behavioral level violation.