Gander Outdoors Truck Series Notebook: GMS Racing builds on solid foundation with Moffitt and Creed



MARTINSVILLE, Va.—GMS announced its 2020 driver lineup for the Gander Outdoor Truck Series on Friday.

The Maury Gallagher-owned team will continue the course with defending truck series champion Brett Moffitt and current rookie-of-the-year candidate Sheldon Creed. GMS will also run a limited truck schedule for development driver Sam Mayer. The NASCAR K&N Pro Series East Champ will run for the ARCA title next year.

After a struggling ascent to the truck title, Moffitt, 27, is grateful for the consistency provided by GMS.

“Everyone at GMS was very reassuring,” Moffitt said. “Coming into this deal, we did a one-year deal and as long as the shoe fit where I could fill in the role of being the anchor, the house car and helping these younger kids develop quicker than it was the road we all wanted to go down.

“Meanwhile, I get to stay in winning equipment and win races. Ever since halfway through the year, I was confident that I would be back and then its just good within this past week we got it finalized.”

Moffitt currently leads the truck standings by 23 points over Stewart Friesen with three races to decide the title. In the first 20 races of the season, he’s scored four wins and 12 top-fives. His three poles, 15 top 10s and 369 laps led is a career-best. Muffin also leads the tour with an average finish of 4.2 and an average finish of eighth.

“GMS has tracks that they’ve been really good at historically and tracks they’ve struggled,” Moffitt said. “Some of those struggle tracks overlay with what was good last year and I was able to develop setups for that that were more successful and we put them in and it worked. It’s bringing every bit of knowledge you have and make the best of both worlds.

“That’s why I’m in this position to win races and championships. I need to deliver that to Mr. Gallagher, that’s why he has me here. I feel good about this year. Like I said, we got off to a rocky start but I feel like we're where we need to be now. We just need to continue winning and build a powerhouse team to where multiple trucks on the team are winning regularly and keep going.”

 

Chastain wants to win anything and everything

With the Big 3—Christopher Bell, Tyler Reddick and Cole Custer (TBD) appeared to be headed to Cup next season, Ross Chastain could not have picked a better time to join Kaulig Racing and compete for the NASCAR Xfinity Series title in 2020.

Although the 26-year-old Alva, Florida racer has four seasons of NXS competition to rely on, Chastain has never been aligned full-time with an organization as stout as Kaulig.

He’ll have that opportunity next year behind the wheel of the No. 10 Chevrolet.

“I’m dang sure glad I’ve run everywhere four years in a row now,” Chastain said. “I think experience is king over everything in a lot of ways. We still have to do our job but it should help us minimize the mistakes.

“I’m hopefully not going to fire it down to the bottom behind two cars at Kansas next year and hit the wall because of it. I’m going to take a lane with cleaner air. Just cleaning up that kind of stuff is what I take away from that experience.”

Chastain is currently in the cellar of the truck standings after wrecking at Talladega and finishing 22nd. He trails Moffitt by 46 points. He finished fourth at  Martinsville in March and was 15th in single-lap runs in Happy Hour.

Given his loyalty to Al Niece, team owner of Niece Motorsports, Chastain would love to win a truck title before moving over to the Xfinity tour next year.

“I just want to win anything and everything,” Chastain said. “I want to win the wheelbarrow races they have at Daytona, it doesn’t matter. I also know this opportunity with Niece Motorsports and what Al Niece has provided Cody Efaw (GM) and the whole group. What he’s given us to work with could be ‘once in a lifetime’. This might be my last shot with this kind of opportunity.

“So I want to do right by him and all the boys and girls—and I’m going to say the same thing next year. I want to take advantage of the opportunities because I do know how good it is. I’ve come to Martinsville with a 14th-place truck—practiced 14th, qualified 14th, finished 14th—and I got fired because I ran 14th. So, I know how good this opportunity is.”

 

Not exactly Happy Hour for Crafton

Matt Crafton posted the Best 10 Consecutive Lap Average in the NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series final practice at Martinsville Speedway—then all hell broke loose—well, just his hood pins which weren’t secured in the first place

The two-time truck champion, who is currently fourth in the standings, crinkled his hood and the roof of his vehicle after 29 laps of Happy Hour.

“First practice, we fired off OK, and we made some pretty big wholesale changes at the start of the second practice, and it was actually really good,” Crafton said. “We made two more runs, and they forgot to put the hood pins in.

“The hood flew open and wrapped around the front windshield, caved the roof in, so we spent the rest of practice working on that to get it back out.”

Crafton has two wins at the half-mile track. He finished eighth at Martinsville in the spring. While it’s usually the driver taking grief from his crew when his truck is damaged, this time Crafton returned the favor.

“It’s a brand new truck--I’m saying that with a smile, because the guys have worked their butts off, and any time they bring a new truck to the track, they harass me any time I put a mark on a brand new truck,” Crafton said. “It’s like ‘Look what you did to our brand new truck.’

“So, at the end of the practice, I tried to lighten their spirits a bit. I said, ‘Hey, if nothing else, guys, you screwed this truck up before I did.’”

 

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