By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Familiar faces will be the norm for GMS Racing’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series program as they announced at Martinsville Speedway Friday their 2020 plans.
Current full-time drivers Brett Moffitt (No. 24) and Sheldon Creed (No. 2) will retain their Chevrolet Silverado rides while newly crowned K&N Pro Series East champion Sam Mayer (No. 21) will run six races next season.
Moffitt is currently among the six playoff drivers eyeing on making the Championship 4 as a win in Saturday’s NASCAR Hall of Fame 200 will assure him a shot for a second straight title.
Friday’s announcement was also a sigh of relief for Moffitt after jumping from team-to-team, series-to-series throughout the decade. The most notable example was last season when he was let go from Hattori Racing Enterprises despite winning the championship which led to his signing with GMS Racing.
Despite early season struggles, Moffitt has gotten himself back on track with four wins, three poles and 15 top-10s in 20 starts.
During the press conference, the defending champion described his season thus far and that his role with the team is making everyone around him, including his two teammates, better than ever.
“I’ve been very vocal with everyone about we had kind of a shaky start to the season. Everyone on this No. 24 group has come a long way and I’m proud of that,” Moffitt said. “We’ve really built a championship winning team. Hopefully we can make it to Homestead and have a shot at it.
“I’m really thankful for the Gallagher family and everyone at GMS. It takes a lot of moving parts to have these deals come together. To be able to announce before the season’s even over that I get to come back and drive for them again next year is an honor.
“It’s a great experience for me and sitting with these two is a lot of fun because we all work together and strive to be better. That’s my kind of role of the team is to help them in the right direction if I can. They’re fun and great to work with, and looking forward to another year of it.”
Creed is currently 10th in the championship standings with two runner-up finishes at Eldora and Michigan being career-highs.
While he didn’t make the playoffs and lost Sunoco Rookie of the Year honors to Tyler Ankrum, Creed’s optimism remains high which included being re-paired with his 2018 ARCA championship winning crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz.
“I’m happy to be back with GMS. I think our plan was to do two years here when we first came into this deal,” Creed said. “Had a tough first part of the season but I was happy to get Jeff back from last year. I feel like we’ve done really good since we got back together, running top-fives and top-10s.
“Looking forward to that. Kind of fresh start for the new season next year. Hopefully, we can battle (Brett) for the championship.”
In addition to Mayer’s six starts, he’ll also defend his East title under re-branded ARCA Menards East Series and partake in the ARCA Showdown.
Mayer said having an expanded schedule will be fun, especially running the short tracks as he isn’t eligible to run full-time in Trucks until he turns 18 in 2021.
“With the East Series and ARCA Menards Series combining, it definitely makes my schedule pretty fun,” Mayer said. “Being 16, you’re kind of restricted to nothing right now. I can’t thank GMS enough for giving me the opportunity to even come out here in the first place and go get a K&N East title in my first full-time year with them. It’s really an honor and hopefully we can do it again next year.”
Martinsville will mark the 16-year-old’s second Truck Series start after a solid night in his debut at Bristol Motor Speedway in August went awry where he ended up in a crash, finishing 21st.
In final practice, Moffitt led the GMS trio by being third fastest while Mayer and Creed wound up fifth and sixth fastest respectively. Live coverage of Saturday’s 200-lap race will begin at 1:30 pm EST on FS1.