Camping World Series News (4807)
Camping World Truck Series News
In recent years, Kaz has made a name for himself in Late Model racing by breaking records. In his first race at fabled Hickory Motor Speedway, Kaz won the 2013 UARA 150 and became the youngest winner in series history. The following year, he became the youngest NASCAR winner in Caraway Speedway history when he held off the Whelen All-American Series National Champion to win the 171-lap event. In 2015, Kaz won his Pro All Stars Series debut at South Boston Speedway with a dominant performance, leading 131 of 150 laps. Kaz differentiates himself by tearing up road-course events each year. He has won the 12 hours of NJMP, the 13 hours of VIR, and competed in the 2016 Rolex 24 at Daytona, the pinnacle of sports-car racing in America.
Kaz made it to the final round in NCWTS qualifying in all but one race in 2016. He scored his first top-10 finish in only his second start in the series at Dover International Speedway. In his first race at Gateway Motorsports Park, Kaz brought home yet another top-10 finish. At the rookie’s home track, New Hampshire Motor Speedway, he brought home his best finish of 2016, a 7th-place result.
“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,” remarked an excited Grala.
Joining the GMS Racing stable in 2017 is veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter who claims time in the principal team role in all three of NASCAR’s top racing series, dating back to 1986. Baxter has worked with a variety of NASCAR notables and most recently recorded four seasons with Kyle Busch Motorsports and in 2016 with rookie Chase contender Christopher Bell.
“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.
Next season Baxter will tackle year seven in the Camping World Truck Series and looks to add to his series resume of nine wins, 38 top-five finishes, 67 top-10 finishes, six pole-qualifying positions and 1,426 laps led, with the No. 33 team and Grala.
Kaz further described his eagerness for next season, “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.”
In three full-time seasons in the NCWTS, GMS Racing has earned seven wins and recently captured the 2016 Driver Championship with longtime competitor Johnny Sauter. The success was a result of the perfect combination of veteran skill and young talent.
When he’s not improving his race skills to become an accomplished NASCAR driver, Kaz is an honor-roll high school senior at Worcester Academy in Worcester, Massachusetts. The 17-year-old who has a birthday on December 29th is currently interviewing with colleges for the fall of 2017.
GMS Racing PR
On October 15, 2015, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) veteran Johnny Sauter announced he would be joining GMS Racing (GMS) for the 2016 season in an effort to claim his first NCWTS championship. The move was unexpected and some questioned if a young team, like GMS, could outperform the more established teams of NASCAR’s roughest series.
Flash forward one year and two weeks to October 29, 2016 at Martinsville Speedway. After reuniting with former crew chief and longtime friend Joe Shear Jr. in June, Sauter racked up 12 top-10 finishes in 13 starts leading into the first race of the second round of the inaugural Chase for the NCWTS Championship. Sauter led 50 laps to clinch the win and lock the No. 21 team into the position to compete for the title at Homestead-Miami Speedway. He followed that up with a statement win at Texas Motor Speedway the following week and came within one restart of making it three-in-a-row at Phoenix International Raceway.
In his 13th NCWTS season, Sauter raised the championship trophy alongside his family and a team that had just completed its third full-time season in NASCAR. He completed what was statistically one of his best seasons with 3 wins, 12 top-five and 19 top-10 finishes. His three wins contributed to an overall total of six victories for GMS, who only had one win in the series heading into the 2016 season.
“A lot of people asked if I really thought the move to GMS [Racing] would result in a championship. After talking with Mike Beam and Maury [Gallagher], I truly believed in their goals for the team and felt like it was the right move if I wanted to win a title,” said Sauter. “The progress this team made throughout the season was incredible. It’s a relief to finally be able to say I’m a champion, but there’s also that feeling that it’s supposed to be that way. The reason we compete every weekend is to be the best so anything less would be a disappointment.”
Sauter has found a home with GMS and will return in 2017 to defend not only his win at Daytona International Speedway, but his NCWTS Championship as well. He will continue to build on the Sauter-Shear legacy, a history that started in the Midwest with their fathers competing against each other.
“I’m excited to do this again, especially with Joe [Shear Jr.]. I don’t think we would have won a championship without him last year. We’re going to start where we left off, make up for those four races I didn’t finish in the top 10, and win that owner’s championship for Maury.”
GMS will release details about plans for the 2017 season, including additional drivers and sponsors, at a later date.
GMS Racing PR
Less than two weeks after the curtain has been drawn on the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS) season, the short off season thus far has allowed the Young’s Motorsports to reflect on their third full year of competition.
The team bookmarked the season with positive notes from an organizational standpoint. In the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway, seasoned-veteran Tyler Young steered his No. 02 Young’s Motorsports Chevrolet Silverado to a career-best sixth place finish nodding the third top-10 performance of his career and the best for the Midland, Texas native overall.
Momentum stuck with Young and his Andrew Abbott led team through the first four races where the team clicked off four top-13 finishes and stood a season-high fourth in the series standings.
Despite running the first seven races of the season, Young decided to step out of the seat while Young’s Motorsports took an active approach to building a foundation for drivers to gain seat time, but race competitively.
In all, drivers Derek Scott Jr. (one race), Dylan Lupton (one race), Patrick Staropoli (No. 07 Chevrolet one race) and Dominique Van Wieringen (one race) all made their series debut with Young’s Motorsports. NASCAR Next alumnus Lupton earned the best result with a 12th at Talladega Superspeedway last month.
Additionally, veteran drivers Austin Hill (four races), Scott Lagasse Jr. (one race) and Austin Theriault (one race) also had their opportunities at the helm of the No. 02 truck making up for nine races Young didn’t compete for himself.
25-year-old Young who also serves as the team manager at Young’s Motorsports earned the team’s best finishes of the year with two top-10 finishes overall including an additional top-10 performance at Michigan International Speedway in August with a tenth place result.
The Ford EcoBoost 200 from Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 23rd and final race on the schedule also marked the first time that Young’s Motorsports fielded two trucks in the series on the same weekend.
Veteran and Florida native Lagasse Jr. piloted the No. 02 Chevrolet, while former NASCAR K&N Pro Series West winner and aspiring doctor Patrick Staropoli made his debut in a collaborative effort with SS Green Light Racing.
“Looking back at things, it was a solid year for our Young’s Motorsports team,” offered Young. “We started the year off strong with a sixth-place finish at Daytona. From there, we had some more good finishes – before we decided to bring some other drivers in and grow our business model.
“Without Austin Hill, Austin Theriault, Derek, Dominique and Dylan – the growth of Young’s Motorsports would not have been possible. It’s because of them that we will make our team better and stronger next season. We know we have some work to do, but we’re happy with the direction we’re going and look forward to Daytona in February.”
As for 2017, Young said he is still working through the options, but feels confident about where his team is headed.
“There’s a lot going on and that’s not always a bad thing,” added Young. “We just have to see where the dots connect and what makes best sense for us as an organization – not only competitively on the track, but also from a business stance as well.
“One thing is for sure, we’ll be at Daytona in a couple months to see if we can’t duplicate or better our finish from this past February.”
In 23 races this season, Young’s Motorsports has tailed two top-10, seven top-15 and 13 top-20 finishes. The team has been running at the finish of 19 of the 23 races run in 2016.
Young Motorsports PR
Four drivers entered Homestead-Miami Speedway looking to leave the 1.5-mile oval with a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship. One of those drivers, Matt Crafton, came into the weekend looking to capture his third championship in the series. The other three, Johnny Sauter, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters, all entered the weekend looking for their first ever NASCAR national Series championship.
During the Ford EcoBoost 200, it looked like Matt Crafton will walk away with his third championship. But, on the last green flag run to the finish, Crafton fell back and was passed by ex-teammate Johnny Sauter for the championship spot. Sauter ended the night as the highest Chase finisher and scored his first ever NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship.
Sauter did not have the most impressive season in the series but you would call it decent. The Wisconsin native ended the year with three wins, 12 top five and 19 top 10 finishes through 23 races throughout 2016. You could say that Sauter laid in the weeds all season capitalizing on everything.
“This championship means a lot to me, but it means a lot to my family,” the newly crowned champion said after the race. “I just can’t thank these guys enough. They executed like they needed to and I can’t thank the Gallagher family enough for giving me this opportunity. It was a leap of faith to come here over the off season. Being in a Chevrolet was very important to me and this is just awesome.”
Sauter started the season off with a victory in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway. The driver would lead 12 of the 100 laps of the Nextra Energy Resources 250 after starting in the second spot. That would just be the first of his three wins throughout the year.
The next three races would be tough for the No. 21 GMS Racing entry. The team would finish 28th at Atlanta Motor Speedway after a 16th-place qualifying effort. In race three, at Martinsville Speedway, Sauter would find himself in a crash on lap 43 of 255 and unable to finish the event. He would leave the Martinsville Speedway with a disappointing 32nd-place finish. Race four at Kansas Speedway would end a little better for Sauter as the team qualified 12th. After 170 laps of racing, the No. 21 Chevrolet team would find themselves 16th on the board.
The next seven races would all be top 10 finishes for the Camping World Truck Series veteran. He would also capture a pole at Texas Motor Speedway and a third-place finish there. The worst finish Sauter would bring home during this seven-race stretch would be at Iowa Speedway where he finished 10th.
Past halfway into the season, going into race 11 at Eldora Speedway, Sauter would qualify eighth at the half-mile dirt track. He would then take his No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet to a 13th-place finish.
With the season past halfway, and the first ever Camping World Truck Series Chase looming, Sauter and the team would finally find their groove. He would leave Pocono Raceway with an eighth-place finish and finish inside the top 10 in the final 11 races of 2016.
When the Chase began at New Hampshire, for the “Round of 8,” Sauter entered the Chase sitting fifth on the Chase Grid. His best finish during the first three races of the Chase would be a seventh-place finish at Las Vegas Motor Speedway and Talladega Superspeedway.
In the second round of the Chase, the “Round of 6,” Sauter would dominate the three races at Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix, earning two victories in the first two races and a second-place finish at Phoenix. He would then enter the “Championship 4” round in the highest Chase seed.
Sauter would have some work to do after the green flag dropped. He would start the race 19th and as the lowest running Chase driver. Though it wouldn’t take him very long to work his way into the top 10. When the race ended, Sauter would find himself as the new Camping World Truck Series champion by being the highest four of the Chase drivers. He would also end the race with a third-place finish.
“I just ran a smart race,” said Sauter after climbing from behind the wheel of his Silverado at the championship stage. “I’m not going to lie when we qualified as poorly as we did today I thought this was going to be tough to do because you’ve got to take tires here on every pit stop. There is not real easy way to get track position, so I knew we were going to have to do it by pit stops and passing people. I just can’t thank everybody at GMS Racing, Allegiant Travel and Chevrolet, ECR horsepower, this is awesome. To be a champion, I’m speechless.”
William Byron, who would have had made it into the final four at Homestead had he not blown his engine with 10 laps to go while leading at Phoenix, shocked the entire world of NASCAR in 2016.
Byron, just a rookie driver racing for Kyle Busch Motorsports, ended the season with seven victories, 11 top five and 16 top 10 finishes through 23 races. He would end the season sitting fifth in the driver points standings as he moves onto a full-time ride next season in the NASCAR XFINITY Series.
"It feels awesome," Byron said. "It's just - it's incredible. I mean this team has worked so hard all year. We just had an unfortunate situation last week that we couldn't control, but man, they brought a good truck. We qualified on the pole. These guys just are awesome. I just hate not being together with this team next year. It's just insane how good they are and so many talented people on this race team. I can't thank KBM (Kyle Busch Motorsports) enough, Toyota, Kyle and Samantha (Busch), everyone at KBM, Liberty University - it's just amazing."
The North Carolina native signed a development deal with Hendrick Motorsports that will begin next season with JR Motorsports. Byron’s relationship with Dale Earnhardt Jr. goes back to when the young driver raced Late Models with JR Motorsports.
The remaining Chase drivers, Matt Crafton, Christopher Bell and Timothy Peters, finished seventh, eighth, and ninth in the season finale at Homestead. Crafton was the highest qualifier out of those four.