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GMS Racing to achieve a combined 650 Truck Series starts at Kansas

GMS Racing is set to achieve a milestone start in the team’s 10th season with one start in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. When GMS competitors Grant Enfinger and rookie Jack Wood take the green flag in this weekend’s Playoff event at Kansas Speedway, GMS Racing will reach a combined 650 career starts in the Truck circuit.

GMS Racing, which was established by Allegiant Travel Company CEO Maurice Gallagher and is currently based in Statesville, North Carolina, made its inaugural presence during the 2011 ARCA Menards Series season. Two years later, the team expanded its program into the Camping World Truck Series and attempted to compete in five events with the No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado piloted by Spencer Gallagher, son of Maurice Gallagher. Throughout the season, Spencer Gallagher managed to qualify for three events as he finished 22nd at Kansas Speedway in April, 20th at Texas Motor Speedway and 32nd at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November, respectively.

In 2014, GMS Racing fielded the No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado as a full-time entry for Joey Coulter. The team also fielded the Nos. 23 and 33 Chevrolet Silverados on a part-time basis, where Spencer Gallagher, Max Gresham and Brandon Jones piloted the entries. Throughout the season, Jones, who piloted the No. 33 truck in two events, finished 32nd and 12th at Martinsville Speedway in October and at Phoenix Raceway in November, respectively. Gallagher and Gresham each recorded a top-10 result in the No. 23 Chevrolet, with Gallagher earning a strong third-place result at Talladega Superspeedway in October. Coulter, meanwhile, earned three top-five results, 10 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 13.1 throughout the 22-race schedule before finishing in seventh place in the final drivers’ standings.

Photo by Kirk Schroll for SpeedwayMedia.com.

During the following season, Coulter, who did not compete due to a lack of funding, became team relationships coordinator for GMS while the No. 21 entry made a single appearance at Las Vegas Motor Speedway in October, where Brennan Poole piloted the truck to an 11th-place result. The Nos. 23 and 33 Chevrolet Silverado entries became full-time entries, with Spencer Gallagher driving the No. 23 truck while Brandon Jones, Austin Dillon and Ty Dillon split the No. 33 ride. At New Hampshire Motor Speedway in September, Austin Dillon recorded the first NASCAR career victory for GMS Racing after leading a race-high 80 of 175-scheduled laps en route to his seventh Truck career victory from pole position. To go along with the victory, the Dillon brothers recorded a combined two poles, four top-five results and five top-10 results in six starts in the No. 33 entry while Jones, who made two starts, earned his best result of the season in 12th place at Phoenix in November. In his first full-time campaign in NASCAR, Gallagher notched his career-best result of second place at World Wide Technology Raceway in June along with a total of six top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 14.6 before finishing in 10th place in the 2015 standings.

The 2016 season featured a major addition to GMS Racing’s Truck driver lineup as veteran Johnny Sauter was named a full-time competitor of the No. 21 Chevrolet Silverado entry, where he competed alongside the No. 23 entry retained by Spencer Gallagher and the No. 33 truck split between newcomers Grant Enfinger and Kaz Grala. GMS also debuted the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado entry that competed on a part-time basis while split between Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Shane Lee, Grala and Enfinger. In May, Ben Kennedy joined the team’s lineup, where he split time between the Nos. 24 and 33 entries, after departing Red Horse Racing. The team’s highlights throughout the 16-race regular-season schedule included Sauter winning in his debut with GMS at Daytona International Speedway in February and Kennedy notching his first career win in the No. 33 Chevrolet at Bristol Motor Speedway in August. The victories made by Sauter and Kennedy were enough for both to qualify for the inaugural Truck Series Playoffs. Meanwhile, Spencer Gallagher drove the No. 23 Chevrolet to six top-10 results throughout the regular season, which were not enough for him to make the Playoffs, while the No. 24 GMS entry earned a victory at Eldora Speedway in July with Larson along with six top-10 results. Through six of the seven-race Playoff stretch, GMS earned three additional victories after Enfinger drove the No. 24 Chevrolet to his first career win at Talladega Superspeedway in October while Sauter achieved back-to-back wins at Martinsville Speedway and at Texas Motor Speedway between October and November. The Playoff victories made by Sauter were enough to transfer the Wisconsin veteran and the No. 21 team all the way to the Championship Round at Homestead-Miami Speedway in November. During the finale, Sauter achieved the first NASCAR championship for himself and for GMS Racing after finishing third on the track and ahead of title rivals Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters. Overall, the 2016 season was a breakout season for GMS Racing, which went to Victory Lane six times and achieved its first NASCAR national touring series championship, and for Sauter, who achieved his first multi-win season (three), racked up the most top-five (12) and top-10 results (19) in his career and earned his first NASCAR title. While Sauter earned the title, Kennedy finished in seventh place in the final standings after being eliminated from title contention following the Round of 6 while Gallagher, who achieved his first two career poles, ended up in 12th place.

Photo by Ted Seminara for SpeedwayMedia.com.

Embarking the 2017 season as the reigning champion, Sauter retained his seat in the No. 21 Chevrolet while Kaz Grala graduated to a full-time driving role in the No. 33 Chevrolet. The No. 24 Chevrolet also became a full-time entry for Justin Haley, the reigning K&N Pro Series East champion. Haley, however, was not allowed to compete in the first two scheduled events at Daytona and at Atlanta due to age restrictions, with the events filled by Scott Lagasse Jr. and Alex Bowman, respectively. Lastly, the No. 23 Chevrolet appeared for only the first three events of the schedule, with Spencer Gallagher driving at Daytona while Chase Elliott competed at Atlanta and Martinsville. Throughout the season, Elliott recorded the lone victory for the No. 23 entry at Martinsville in March while the No. 24 entry achieved a total of 13 top-10 results made between Lagasse, Bowman and Haley. Despite commencing his first season in the Truck Series at Martinsville in March and recording 10 top-10 results throughout the 16-race regular-season stretch, Haley did not make the Playoffs. Nonetheless, he went on to finish in the top 10 twice during the seven-race Playoff stretch before capping off his first Truck season in 12th place in the drivers’ standings. Meanwhile, Grala commenced his first full-time Truck season by becoming the youngest competitor to win both a pole and race at Daytona at age 18 after he dodged a multi-truck wreck on the final lap to capture his first NASCAR career victory in February. He went on to record five additional top-10 results for the remaining 15 regular-season events before entering the 2017 Truck Playoffs as a title contender. His title hopes, however, came to an early end following respective finishes of 10th, fifth and 29th during the Round of 8. He went on to finish in the top 10 three times during the final four-scheduled events before settling in seventh place in the final standings. Like Grala, Sauter secured his spot for the 2017 Playoffs on the strength of winning at Dover in May and at Chicagoland in September. After recording consistent top-10 results to transfer to the Round of 8, Sauter notched back-to-back victories at Texas and Phoenix in November, respectively, to advance to the Championship Round at Homestead for a second consecutive season. During the finale, however, Sauter finished third on the track, one spot behind Christopher Bell as Bell claimed the championship while Sauter, who was unable to defend his series title, was left with a runner-up result in the final standings coupled with four victories, 13 top-five results, 19 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 6.3. Despite falling short of defending its title, GMS Racing tied its career-high number of victories as an organization in a season at six.

Photo by Simon Scoggins for SpeedwayMedia.com.

Sauter and Haley remained as drivers of the Nos. 21 and 24 GMS entries for the 2018 season while the team welcomed Cody Coughlin and Dalton Sargeant as drivers of the newly-formed Nos. 2 and 25 Chevrolets, respectively. Midway into the season, however, Sargeant, who earned four top-10 results throughout the 16-race regular-season stretch, and Coughlin, who earned six top-10 results in 18 starts, were released from the team and both of their entries were piloted by multiple competitors that included Timothy Peters, Sheldon Creed, Spencer Gallagher and Tyler Dippel for the closing stretch of the season during the Playoffs. The No. 2 team concluded the season in 14th place in the owners’ standings, one spot behind the No. 25 GMS team that went to Victory Lane with Peters at Talladega in October. Meanwhile, Sauter and Haley achieved great on-track success, which started with both finishing first and second at Daytona in February that was won by Sauter. During the next nine scheduled events, Sauter racked up additional victories at Dover Motor Speedway, Charlotte Motor Speedway and at Texas Motor Speedway between May and June while Haley earned his first Truck career victory at World Wide Technology Raceway in June. Sauter proceeded to win the regular-season finale at Bristol Motor Speedway in August and clinch the 2018 Truck regular-season title as he and Haley entered the Playoffs with momentum. Haley commenced the Playoffs on a high note by winning at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in August after overtaking a spinning Todd Gilliland and Noah Gragson on the final lap and final corner. After Sauter won at Martinsville in October and Haley won at Texas following a dramatic final lap overtake on Gilliland, both solidified spots for the Championship 4 finale at Homestead. During the finale, however, Haley finished eighth on the track, four spots ahead of teammate Sauter, as he and Sauter concluded the season in third and fourth place in the final drivers’ standings. Ultimately, the 2018 season produced GMS Racing’s highest number of victories in a season at 10.    

Photo by Don Dunn for SpeedwayMedia.com.

In 2019, Brett Moffitt, the reigning Truck Series champion who was released by his championship-winning team Hattori Racing Enterprises, joined GMS Racing to drive the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado in a quest to defend his series title, where he replaced Justin Haley as Haley moved up to the Xfinity Series. GMS also hired Sheldon Creed, the reigning ARCA Menards Series champion who drove the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado on a full-time basis, and newcomer Sam Mayer, who piloted the No. 21 Chevrolet in three events after Sauter parted ways from the organization. Mayer’s best on-track result was 19th at Phoenix in November while Creed, who did not make the Playoffs, notched two runner-up results, four top-five results, 11 top-10 results, a 10th-place result in the final standings and a runner-up result in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings during his first full-time Truck campaign. For Moffitt, he recorded five top-10 results during the first nine-scheduled events before being awarded his first victory of the season at Iowa in June. The victory occurred after NASCAR disqualified initial winner Ross Chastain due to his truck failing the post-race inspection process, thus prompting NASCAR to award the win for the runner-up finisher Moffitt. Two races later, he earned his first win of the season at Chicagoland before the 2019 Playoffs commenced. Moffitt’s pursuit to defend his title commenced on a strong note by winning the first two Playoff events at Bristol and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in September, respectively, as he transferred from the Round of 8 to 6. Despite finishing 29th at Martinsville, Moffitt utilized consistency to transfer to the Championship Round at Homestead for a second consecutive season. He was unable to defend his title after finishing fifth on the track and third in the final standings. Overall, Moffitt achieved four wins, three poles, 13 top-five results, 17 top-10 results and an average-finishing result of 8.8 in his first season with GMS.

Photo by Tim Jarrold for SpeedwayMedia.com.

The 2020 Truck Series season featured a major expansion for GMS Racing in the series, where the team fielded five entries: the No. 2 Chevrolet for Creed, the No. 21 Chevrolet for rookie Zane Smith, the No. 23 Chevrolet for Moffitt, the newly-formed No. 26 Chevrolet for Tyler Ankrum and the No. 24 Chevrolet for multiple competitors that included Chase Elliott, Chase Purdy, Justin Haley, David Gravel, Kris Wright, Sam Mayer and Greg Biffle. Commencing the season by placing four of its five trucks in the top 10 at Daytona, GMS achieved its first Truck victory of the season at Charlotte in May when Elliott claimed a $100,000 bounty by beating Kyle Busch. The Charlotte event was also a banner event for GMS as teammates Zane Smith, Moffitt and Creed finished in the top five. Throughout the 16-race regular-season stretch, Creed piloted the No. 2 Chevrolet Silverado to his first three career victories in the series at Kentucky Speedway in July followed by Daytona International Speedway Road Course and World Wide Technology Raceway in August. Smith also earned his first two career victories in the series after winning at Michigan International Speedway and at Dover International Speedway in August following two-lap shootouts. The victories enabled Creed and Smith to make the 2020 Truck Playoffs along with Moffitt and Ankrum, both of whom made it in on points. Mayer then spoiled the start of the 2020 Truck Playoffs by claiming his first career win at Bristol after beating teammate Moffitt by more than four seconds. While Creed, Moffitt, Smith and Ankrum transferred from the Round of 8 to 6, Moffitt and Creed earned respective wins at Kansas Speedway and at Texas Motor Speedway in October to qualify for the Championship Round at Phoenix Raceway in November. Smith also transferred to the finale by three points while Ankrum failed to transfer past the Round of 6. During the finale, Creed utilized fresh tires to go from ninth to first during a two-lap shootout to win the 2020 Truck Series championship, which marked his first NASCAR national touring series title in his second season in the series and second for GMS in the Truck circuit. To go along with the championship, the 2020 Truck season was a memorable one for GMS as Zane Smith settled in second place in the final standings and captured the 2020 Truck Rookie-of-the-Year title while Moffitt, who initially had the championship lead within his grasp during the finale prior to the two-lap shootout, concluded the season in third place in the final standings, thus giving GMS a 1-2-3 in the final drivers’ standings. In total, GMS achieved a combined 10 victories, 33 top-five results and 59 top-10 results with its extensive drive lineup.

Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images.
Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images.

Coming off their second championship, GMS Racing remained as a five-truck operation in 2021 while retaining Creed, Smith and Ankrum to the Nos. 2, 21 and 26 Chevrolets, respectively. The only changes made to the team included assigning Chase Purdy to a full-time role in the No. 23 Chevrolet and welcoming Raphaël Lessard to drive the No. 24 Chevrolet. Following the first seven scheduled events, however, Lessard, whose best finish of the season was third at the Bristol Motor Speedway Dirt Course in March, was released due to funding issues as the No. 24 Chevrolet was split between Ryan Reed, Chase Elliott, Doug Coby and rookie Jack Wood for the remaining 15 events. The lone highlight for GMS throughout the 15-race regular-season stretch was when Creed won at Darlington Raceway in May following a two-lap shootout. While Creed and Smith qualified for the 2021 Playoffs, Ankrum and Purdy did not accumulate enough points to make the postseason battle for the title. Once the Playoffs commenced, Creed notched back-to-back victories at World Wide Technology Raceway and at Darlington between August and September to transfer from the Round of 10 to 8. Then at Martinsville in October, Smith, who also transferred to the Round of 8, prevailed in a two-lap shootout to win and punch his ticket to the Championship Round finale at Phoenix for a second consecutive season. Creed, however, failed to transfer to the finale nor have the opportunity to defend his title by four points. During the finale, Smith was in position to achieve his first Truck title until he was overtaken by Ben Rhodes with eight laps remaining and ended up in the runner-up spot in the final standings for a second consecutive season. Creed finished fifth in the final standings, Ankrum ended up 15th and Purdy, who was absent for one event at Watkins Glen International in August following a positive COVID-19 test and was replaced by AJ Allmendinger, fell back to 19th. The No. 24 “all-star” entry settled in 18th place in the final owners’ standings on the strength of four top-10 results.

At the start of this season, GMS Racing scaled back to fielding two full-time entries in the Truck circuit: the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado RST for Jack Wood and the No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado RST for Grant Enfinger, who reunited with the organization since 2016. Despite recording seven top-10 results throughout the 16-race regular-season stretch, Enfinger secured a spot for the 2022 Truck Playoffs based on points. He then rose to the occasion during the first Playoff event at Lucas Oil Raceway in late July by charging from fourth to first during a two-lap shootout to record his first victory of the season and the seventh of his career. With his latest result being a fourth-place run at Richmond in August, Enfinger is currently guaranteed a spot for the Round of 8 in the Playoffs by virtue of winning at Lucas Oil Raceway. Meanwhile, Wood’s highest on-track result is 13th, which occurred at Atlanta in March. To go along with a total of five top-20 results and an average-finishing result of 25.2, he is ranked in fourth place in the Rookie-of-the-Year standings.

Through a combined 648 starts, GMS Racing has achieved two championships, 42 victories, 14 poles, 158 top-five results, 308 top-10 results and 5,239 laps led with 36 different competitors.

GMS Racing is set to achieve a combined 650 career starts in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Kansas Speedway on Friday, September 9. The start of the event is scheduled to occur at 7:30 p.m. ET on FS1.



The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com.

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