Photo: GMS Racing

GMS Racing, Gallagher Move into Xfinity Series; Grala Goes Full-Time in Trucks

By David Morgan, NASCAR Contributor

Less than two weeks after winning their first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship, GMS Racing has announced some big moves for the organization in both the Truck Series and the Xfinity Series.

Spencer Gallagher, who has raced for the team in the Truck Series on a full-time basis over the past two seasons and part-time in the two seasons prior to that, will be moving up to the NASCAR Xfinity Series full-time in 2017 to pilot the No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro for the organization in their first full-time effort in the series.

Gallagher leaves the Truck Series with three top-five finishes, 15 top-10 finishes, two poles, 114 laps led, and an average finish of 16.1 in his 58 starts in the series since 2013.

The 27-year old Las Vegas native made his debut in the Xfinity Series in 2016 with seven starts throughout the season, coming home with an eighth place finish at Daytona in July.

“I am really excited about running full-time in the XFINITY Series. I made my XFINITY debut this year and we learned a lot as an organization. Though I have raced against some of these drivers, I know the competition is going to be much more competitive so I need to be focused and on my “A” game all year.  For next year my plan is to continue and grow this program, be consistent and make the Chase,” said Gallagher.

As of now, the team has not released the details on sponsorship for Gallagher or who will serve as his crew chief.

While Gallagher will be leaving the Truck Series, Kaz Grala will be getting an opportunity to race in the series full-time in 2017, piloting the No. 33 Chevrolet for the team.

Grala raced part-time for GMS Racing in 2016, driving both the No. 33 and No. 24 trucks on nine different occasions, scoring three top-10 finishes in those nine starts at Dover, Gateway and New Hampshire.

“I am beyond thankful to have an opportunity with GMS Racing to run full time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017. This organization has been on a steep rise the past couple of years, and it’s been fun being a part of it in 2016,” said Grala.

In addition to having reigning series champion Johnny Sauter as a teammate to lean on in 2017, Grala will also have veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter atop the pit box to guide him throughout the 23-race schedule. Baxter has been involved in NASCAR since 1986 and most notably has been a crew chief for Kyle Busch Motorsports over the past four seasons, serving as crew chief for Darrell Wallace, Jr., Christopher Bell, Kyle Busch, Daniel Suarez, and Matt Tifft.

Baxter will look to add to his collection of race wins in 2017, which currently total nine wins, 38 top-five finishes, 67 top-10 finishes, six poles, 1426 laps led, and an average finish of 11.5 in his six years and 116 races in the Truck Series.

“I’m looking forward to next season with GMS and working through this transition with Kaz. I really enjoy helping young drivers get started in this series and developing their talent, and I saw what Kaz accomplished in the few races he ran last season,” said Baxter.

Grala echoed Baxter’s sentiments about next season, saying: “GMS Racing has really gone out of their way to bring some of the best people in the industry on board, and Jerry Baxter is no exception. I’m extremely excited to get to work with Jerry, who not only is a great match for me personality-wise, but also is very accomplished in the NASCAR world. I am looking forward to returning to the No. 33 Chevy Silverado, which I made a few starts in this year. Hopefully Jerry’s experience on top of the box will complement my Sunoco Rookie of the Year contender status, and bring success to the team next year.”

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David Morgan is the Associate Editor for Motorsports Tribune. A 2008 graduate from the University of Mississippi, David has followed NASCAR since the early 90’s and became hooked at an early age after attending his first race at Talladega Superspeedway in 1993. He has traveled across the country since 2012 to cover some of the most prestigious events both IndyCar and NASCAR have to offer, with an aim to only expand on that in the near future.

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