By AMANDA VINCENT
GMS Racing, the racing home of recently crowned 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Johnny Sauter, is going Xfinity Series racing in 2016, fielding a No. 23 Chevrolet full-time for Spencer Gallagher. The team will remain in the Truck Series, though, fielding trucks for Sauter and for Kaz Grala, who has been promoted from part-time to full-time driver in the Truck Series by GMS for 2017.
“I am really excited about running full-time in the Xfinity Series,” Gallagher said. “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 an on my ‘A’ game all year. For next year, my plan is to continue and grow this prgoram, be consistent and make the Chase.”
Motorsports, with Gallagher behind the wheel, made its Xfinity debut at Phoenix International Raceway in the fourth race of the 2016 Xfinity season. In all the tream ran seven series races, all with Gallagher as driver, and posted one top-10 finish — an eighth-place showing at Daytona (Fla.) International Speedway in July. For its foray into full-time Xfinity Series competition, GMS will have a technical alliance with JR Motorsports.
Grala, meanwhile, is expected to run his first full season in the Camping World Truck Series in 2017, driving the No. 33 as a teammate to Sauter. The upcoming season will be the first for which Grala meets NASCAR’s minimum age requirement of 18 to run the full Truck Series season, as he’ll turn 18 later this month.
“I am beyond thankful to have an opportunity with GMS Racing to run full-time in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in 2017,” Grala said. “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.”
In 2016, Grala ran a partial Truck Series schedule for GMS, running the races allowable for a 17-year-old. He ran nine of the 23 races during the 2016 season, posting a best finish of seventh at New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon. He finished in the top-10 in three of his nine races, also finishing eighth at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., and 10th at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
Jerry Baxter will be Grala’s crew chief on the No. 33 team, making the move to GMS Racing from Kyle Busch Motorsports.
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