Brett Moffitt had opportunities with other teams — and even in other series.
But his decision to join GMS Racing’s Gander Outdoors Truck Series operation to pilot the No. 24 Chevrolet in 2019 was made for one reason — to win races and championships.
“As far as the market goes, I had options open,” the reigning Truck Series champion said during a teleconference Thursday. “None of them that would … necessarily continue to be in race-winning equipment, which is what I wanted ultimately. I had a few opportunities in some less-than-impressive Cup stuff and I had talks with some Xfinity teams as well, but the biggest thing to me is to go out and try to compete for a championship and win races.
“So, I was kind of holding out, hoping that a deal like this would come together … I’ve had a relationship with (GMS Racing) ever since running the Xfinity race at Iowa a few years ago. Just kind of always been talks on and off. When this opportunity opened up for them, I believe I was the first person they called about it. So, I’m just glad we were able to make it happen.”
The No. 24 Chevrolet was the opportunity that Moffitt — who will bring a handful of partners to the group this season — held out for, despite other earlier offers.
“I think the depth of the organization is just huge,” he said. “They have quality equipment in all of their race teams. … Every truck they brought to the track was top of the line. They put all their best feet forward and as a driver, you notice that. That’s not taking anything away from my guys last year or anything, but from the outside looking in, they’ve got everything organized and put together well. It’s definitely not (for) a lack of effort if there is ever a struggle and they find a way to overcome it every time.
“As far as driving for them this year, that gets me super excited as a driver to be with a team that’s going to put everything they possible can into it and go to the race track week in and week out with the absolute best of the best that they can bring.”
GMS Racing announced Wednesday that veteran Johnny Sauter would not return to the team after three full-time seasons with the organization. Sauter earned 13 of his 23 career wins with the GMS Racing fleet, including the 2016 Gander Outdoors Truck Series championship. He finished fourth in the final 2018 standings to champion Moffitt, whom Sauter hinted could move to the GMS Racing operation during a Wednesday interview with SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.
Moffitt’s Cinderella-esque march to the 2018 title included six trips to Victory Lane, the last coming at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He became a free agent when Hattori Racing Enterprises announced he would not return to the No. 16 ride.
While his rookie, championship-winning season was special, Moffitt looks to build beyond that this year with an organization he calls a “staple” in the Truck and Xfinity series.
“I’m looking forward to being in an opportunity where I’m not just lucky to be in that position,” he said. “I feel like GMS and the Gallagher family are really going to indulge in this and build a team around me and support me … I’m sure there will be challenges throughout the season but I feel like for the most part, we’re just going to put our heads down and work at winning races and winning another championship.
“And I feel like that as a driver is confidence-inspiring and I don’t really need Cinderella moments; I just want to go out there and win and win a championship.”
GMS Racing’s other driver assignments for the 2019 season: