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Xfinity, Truck series banquet highlights

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On Saturday night, The Xfinity and Camping World Truck Series gathered for their awards banquet at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Here are some highlights from the banquet:

Xfinity Series

Tyler Reddick was crowned the Xfinity driver champion with Stewart-Haas Racing taking the owners championship.

Cole Custer finished second, Daniel Hemric was third and Christopher Bell finished fourth.

Camping World Truck Series

Brett Moffitt and owner Hattori Racing Enterprises grabbed the top spot in the Truck series.

Noah Gragson finished second with Justin Haley third and Johnny Sauter fourth.

 

John Hunter Nemechek to compete for GMS Racing in 2019

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John Hunter Nemechek will compete for GMS Racing in the Xfinity Series next year, the team announced Thursday.

Nemechek will drive the No. 23 Chevrolet, taking over for Spencer Gallagher.

The son of Joe Nemechek, John Hunter Nemechek competed part-time for Chip Ganassi Racing in 2018, making 18 Xfinity starts in the No. 42 Chevrolet. Ross Chastain will drive that car full-time next season.

A NASCAR spokesperson said a decision has not been made yet on whether Nemechek will be eligible for Rookie of the Year next season.

Nemechek scored his first series win on Oct. 20 at Kansas Speedway in his 15th start.

He finished the season with six top fives, 11 to 10s and one pole.

“I am very grateful for the opportunity that Mr. (Maury) Gallagher and the entire GMS Racing organization has presented to me to be able to run full-time in 2019,” Nemechek said in a press release. “The results that GMS Racing showed last year in their NASCAR Xfinity Series program were impressive. Their goal is to create a championship-caliber team, like their truck series program, and I believe that we can achieve that goal in the 2019 season.”

Nemechek, 21, will have Chad Norris as his crew chief. It will be Norris’ second year as the leader of the No. 23 team.

“John Hunter is a wheelman,” GMS Racing President Mike Beam said in the press release. “We are excited to have him on board for the 2019 season. With how much progress we showed last year in our NASCAR Xfinity Series program, I know that John Hunter will take us to the next level.”

 

GMS Racing to field Sam Mayer in K&N, ARCA Series

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GMS Racing will expand into the K&N Pro Series East and West and the ARCA Racing Series next year, the team announced Wednesday.

The team will field 15-year-old Sam Mayer in each series where he will drive the No. 21.

Mayer is also scheduled to make four starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series with the first set for August at Bristol Motor Speedway after he turns 16 in June.

The native of Franklin, Wisconsin, joins GMS Racing with seven K&N starts and three ARCA starts in his career.

“GMS Racing has had tons of success over the past couple years, especially this past year,” Mayer said in a press release. “Knowing that a great team is behind me going into next season gives me a lot of confidence that we will have success, too.”

He earned two top fives in his six K&N East starts.

Mayer made his ARCA debut at Iowa Speedway and finished 10th and later placed seventh at Lucas Oil Raceway.

He will make his debut in the K&N East season opener at Smyrna Speedway on Feb. 10.

“We are excited to add K&N, as well as ARCA to our organization in 2019,” said team president Mike Beam in a press release. “Mayer is very talented at such a young age, and I see a big future for him in motorsports. I’m glad that he chose us to pursue his career in racing. Our goal has always been to build championship caliber teams no matter what series we participate in. With Mayer behind the wheel and Mardy Lindley leading the team, I do not doubt in my mind they will be successful in 2019.”

Silly Season: Handful of unannounced rides in Cup, Xfinity for 2019

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It’s now December and there’s not a NASCAR race in sight until February.

But there’s still some announcements waiting to be made for teams and drivers in preparation for 2019.

Here’s a look at unannounced changes in Cup and Xfinity through two weeks of the offseason.

CUP RIDES NOT YET ANNOUNCED FOR 2019

No. 32: Go Fas Racing is looking for a driver after Matt DiBenedetto announced Sept. 7 that he would not return to the team after this season.

No. 77: Spire Sports + Entertainment purchased Furniture Row Racing’s charter and will go racing in 2019. The group will use the car number 77. A driver has yet to be announced (announcement made Dec. 4).

XFINITY RIDES NOT YET ANNOUNCED FOR 2019

JR Motorsports: Team still has one open car. It has not been announced if Noah Gragson will drive the No. 9 or No. 1.

No. 23: GMS Racing hasn’t announced a replacement for Spencer Gallagher, who retired from competition after this season (announcement made Oct. 19).

RCR: Hasn’t announced which car Tyler Reddick will drive. Both the No. 21 and No. 2 are open.

ANNOUNCED CUP RIDES FOR 2019

No. 1: Kurt Busch joins Chip Ganassi Racing for 2019 and brings along sponsor Monster Energy (announcement made Dec. 4)

No. 6: Ryan Newman joins Roush Fenway Racing for next season (announcement made Sept. 22).

No. 13: Ty Dillon said he will remain at Germain Racing for the 2019 season (announcement made Sept. 24)

No. 19: Martin Truex Jr. and crew chief Cole Pearn move to Joe Gibbs Racing from the defunct Furniture Row Racing team (announcement made Nov. 7)

No. 31: Daniel Hemric replaces Ryan Newman at Richard Childress Racing for 2019 (announcement made Sept. 28).

No. 36: Matt Tifft joins Front Row Motorsports in a third car for the 2019 season (announcement made Nov. 27).

No. 43: Bubba Wallace will remain with Richard Petty Motorsports through the 2020 season (announcement made July 28).

No. 47: Ryan Preece replaces AJ Allmendinger at JTG Daugherty Racing beginning next season (announcement made Sept. 28).

No. 95: Matt DiBenedetto moves to Leavine Family Racing for 2019. Leavine Family Racing also switches to Toyota beginning next year (announcement made Oct. 10)

No. 97: Tanner Berryhill will compete full-time for Obaika Racing (announcement made Dec. 3)

CUP DRIVERS WITHOUT ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR 2019

AJ Allmendinger: He told NBC Sports on Nov. 17 that he didn’t have any races for 2019 lined up at the time.

Trevor Bayne: 2011 Daytona 500 winner is looking for a ride after the Sept. 12 announcement that he won’t return to Roush Fenway Racing in 2019. He told NBC Sports on Sept. 14 that he has been calling car owners looking for a ride and would look at any of NASCAR’s top three national series. 

Jamie McMurrayHas yet to announce what he’ll do in 2019 but it won’t be a full-time ride in the No. 1 car at Chip Ganassi Racing.

Daniel Suarez: With Martin Truex Jr. taking over the No. 19 in 2019, Suarez is looking for a ride. He said Sept. 21 that “we’re talking to a lot of people.” Suarez is the favorite for the No. 41 ride.

XFINITY DRIVERS WITHOUT ANNOUNCED PLANS FOR 2019

John Hunter NemechekRan limited schedule in Chip Ganassi Racing’s No. 42 this year. Ross Chastain will drive it full-time next year.

Ryan Truex: Was replaced at Kaulig Racing by Justin Haley.

Ryan ReedLost ride at Roush Fenway Racing after sponsor Lilly announced it was leaving the team (announcement made Oct. 15).

CREW CHIEF CHANGES

No. 3: Danny Stockman replaces Justin Alexander as Austin Dillon‘s crew chief in 2019 (move confirmed Nov. 26)

No. 11: Mike Wheeler will not return as Denny Hamlin‘s crew chief for 2019 (announcement made Nov. 16). No replacement has yet been announced.

No. 24: Chad Knaus replaces Darian Grubb as William Byron‘s crew chief in 2019 (announcement made Oct. 10)

No. 48: Kevin Meendering replaces Chad Knaus as Jimmie Johnson‘s crew chief in 2019 (announcement made Oct. 10)

No. 95: Mike Wheeler joins the team and replaces Jon Leonard, who moved back to Richard Childress Racing to be an engineer on Austin Dillon’s team.

XFINITY SERIES

ANNOUNCED CHANGES FOR 2019

No. 1: Noah Gragson replaces Elliott Sadler at JR Motorsports for 2019 season (announcement made Sept. 25).

No. 4: Blake Koch will take over this ride with JD Motorsports in 2019 (announcement made Dec. 4).

No. 11: Justin Haley replaces Ryan Truex at Kaulig Racing after two season in the Truck Series (announcement made Dec. 1).

No. 18: Jeffrey Earnhardt will compete in nine races for Joe Gibbs Racing (announcement made Nov. 10).

No. 22: Austin Cindric will drive full-time for Team Penske (announcement made Nov. 8).

No. 42: Chip Ganassi Racing signs Ross Chastain to drive the No. 42 full-time for 2019 (announcement made Nov. 9).

No. 98: Stewart-Haas Racing signs Chase Briscoe to drive the team’s second Xfinity car and be a teammate to Cole Custer (announcement made Nov. 27).

RCR: Both Matt Tifft and Daniel Hemric will move up to Cup. Tyler Reddick moves from JR Motorsports to RCR for the 2019 season. Reddick’s car number, sponsor and crew chief will be announced later (announcement made Oct. 31).

Spencer Gallagher will not race for GMS Racing in 2019

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KANSAS CITY, Kansas – Spencer Gallagher announced Friday that he will not return to the No. 23 Xfinity car for GMS Racing after this season.

Gallagher said he would take a more managerial role in his family’s GMS Racing team. He said the team has not selected a replacement. He also said that team will continue to field entries in the Truck Series.

Gallagher has one career Xfinity win in 55 career starts. He won at Talladega in April. Shortly after he was suspended indefinitely for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. He returned at Kentucky in July. He said he has no plans to race again, although he didn’t rule out a possible Truck race at some point.

“Trust me when I say this is the hardest decision I have ever had to make and I do not make it lightly,” Gallagher said Friday at Kansas Speedway. “At the end of the day, this came down to what do I want for my future, what do I want for GMS’ future and how can I grow this team and this sport. Candidly, the problem with being a driver is if you’re going to be a driver, that’s generally all you can be. … If you’re going to be a driver, at least to my mind, you need to be a race car driver from the time you wake up at 6 a.m. Monday morning to the time you go to bed at 10 p.m. Sunday night.

“There’s absolutely no off-time. You have to be totally focused and totally committed every second of the day to pushing yourself and your team to finding that last little tenth. That can be a really time-consuming process as fun as it is. It doesn’t leave a lot of room for any other ventures to go on and I make no bones about it I’m a businessman’s son. At the end of the day I see opportunity out here and I feel a calling within me to go chase it to benefit myself and benefit our sport.

“I think, candidly, this sport could use young fresh minds in leadership roles that are not afraid to go out and try to change things up and try to find something that works that helps all of us out. That’s what I see. I came here 10 years ago and I fell in love with this sport, with this business. I want to help it thrive. I believe, more so than in the seat, that’s where my real skill set lays.

“I’ve got a lot of connections still back in Silicon Valley. Racing can be a unique crucible again for proving out a lot of automotive technologies that are getting ready to hit us.”