By: Ashley McCubbin
GMS Racing was able to put together a pretty memorable campaign with multiple trips to victory lane, capped off by winning the 2020 NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoor Truck Series Championship with Sheldon Creed.
Even though the champagne is not even dry yet from the celebration, questions have began to ramp up about what is ahead for the organization in 2021 as they look to be even stronger moving forward. They have already confirmed Creed, Tyler Ankrum and Zane Smith will return to their respective rides, but questions still remain surrounding the No. 23 and 24 trucks they fielded throughout this season. Those may be answered in the next two weeks, according to GMS Racing Competition Director Mike Beam.
“We worked on it,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “We got most of it done. It comes to a point where you just got to quit working on it and just focus on what’s ahead.”
Beam explained it got shelved the past couple of weeks due to their focus on the Truck Series title, and rightfully so as they got three trucks – Creed, Smith, and Brett Moffitt – into the Championship 4.
“We pretty much stopped all that stuff. We had a lot of performance meetings, technical meetings and stuff to just make sure we dotted our Is and crossed the Ts,” he added. “Hopefully here in a week or so, yeah. Hopefully next two weeks we should be finished with it.”
Moffitt drove the No. 23 truck full-time in 2020, but has not shown confidence in returning for the following campaign, while David Gravel recently announced he would be returning to the World of Outlaws.
Sam Mayer will probably play a role, as he is slated to run a part-time schedule for JR Motorsports in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, but you have to know some Truck races will probably be on the card after winning the ARCA Menards East Championship and the Bristol Truck event this season. There’s also the possibility of seeing Chase Purdy and Kris Wright in the fold after some starts in 2020.
The development of young drivers is nothing new for GMS, with other youngsters like Kaz Grala and Cody Coughlin getting their feet wet in the Truck Series competition with them. Though witnessing the success with 10 victories this year, it has been great to watch in wondering what the future may look like for the NASCAR Cup Series.
Team owner Maury Gallagher notes the development of the young stars this year is a huge credit to Mike Beam and his veteran leadership.
“Mike had three, four drivers this year, youngsters, that all stood out,” he told POPULAR SPEED. “That’s a difference maker. It’s one thing to have speed, but if you don’t know what to do with it, can’t bring it home, that’s the big deal. I can’t be happier for the way we’ve evolved our ability to make these young drivers into really good drivers. As I told them many times, you don’t win the race on lap 10, but you can sure lose it.
“When you see the moves Sheldon made, that was the natural talent. Zane was right behind him. That’s what Brett did a couple years ago on that restart. He just got underneath. It’s shorter around that curve in one and two. Popped out the front. They knew their business. As Mike said, they had incredible truck control. Those two guys, all of them, Tyler, Sam went to Bristol and won as a 17‑year‑old, and he dominated. Those are to me real difference makers that separated us from the crowd this year.”
Though just because they were able to have a lot of success doesn’t mean they are resting easy this winter. Beam says he has a sheet saying where they ran well and what they need to work on, and plans to review every race from Daytona to Phoenix with his squad. One thing he did note was improving their execution late in some races as some mistakes were made.
“It’s kind of we lost a couple races, but it come down to the end there. When you’re dominant like that, people’s going to do opposite of what you do, stuff like that,” he added. “The guys communicated well. I couldn’t be happier with everyone. We’ll just keep doing what we’re doing, make sure we’re doing that, not out‑think it, try to get too smart about it. We keep it pretty simple, really. I’m too old.”