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