By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
GMS Racing announces its final full-time driver in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series Tuesday as 20-year-old Zane Smith will run a fourth Chevrolet Silverado in 2020.
Smith will now be teammates with star studded drivers — 2018 series champion Brett Moffitt, this past season’s Rookie of the Year recipient Tyler Ankrum and 2018 ARCA Menards Series champion Sheldon Creed.
Not only those three, but also reigning K&N East champion Sam Mayer, who will run part-time. Additionally, reigning Knoxville Nationals champion David Gravel is rumored of possibly joining the team.
The Huntington Beach, California native will be paired up with crew chief Kevin “Bono” Manion, who spent the past season calling the shots for Ankrum at DGR-Crosley in 18 races.
Mike Beam, President of GMS Racing, said the pair has him thrilled as the season opener at Daytona International Speedway is less than three months away.
“We are thrilled to welcome Zane (Smith) and Kevin (Manion) into the GMS Racing family for the 2020 season,” Beam said. “With Kevin’s veteran crew chief knowledge and Zane’s skill they will make a great team. I think we have a solid line-up for 2020 and I can’t wait to see what we can accomplish.”
However, this isn’t the first time Smith had Manion on top of the pit box. In Smith’s only Truck Series start at Gateway in 2018, he ended up fifth in the No. 54 DGR-Crosley entry with Manion’s calls.
Smith said the decision was straight forward as not only he’s looking forward of having a secured ride for 2020, but also working with Manion on a full-time basis.
“When I got the offer from Mike Beam asking me to run a truck full-time for GMS Racing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Smith said. “GMS is a Championship caliber team and to be a part of an organization like theirs is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with Manion again. He has a lot of experience and I know we will be a great team.”
Manion is confident that his team will be contenders for race wins and battling for a series championship, given the caliber of the driver and team he’s working for.
“I am really excited to join GMS Racing and Zane (Smith) for the 2020 season,” Manion said. “With GMS Racing’s championship caliber equipment and Chevrolet support, we have all the resources to win some races and be in the hunt for the 2020 Championship. I got the opportunity to crew chief Zane (Smith) in his first Gander Trucks start in 2018 at Gateway and we worked really well together. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next season.”
This past season, Smith ran 10 races for JR Motorsports’ No. 8 Chevrolet, scoring a career-high two fifth-place finishes at Iowa and the fall race at ISM Raceway. The year before, he finished runner-up in the ARCA standings to Creed, scoring four wins.
Sponsorships and truck number for Smith will be announced at a later date.