By: Ashley McCubbin
Every NASCAR Silly Season results in several drivers finding new rides for the upcoming campaign, with a couple others either retiring or left on the outside looking in. The 2021 version was no different, with drivers moving forward to other ventures and many switching seats.
So as we have done in past years, allow us to break down the changes for you.
While it was known that Raphael Lessard would be part of the conversation at GMS Racing, it was confirmed the sponsorship dollars were found to run the full schedule. They also stated their driver / crew chief line-up, for the organization, which sees Jeff Stankiewicz and Kevin Manion reunite with Sheldon Creed and Zane Smith, respectively.
The other crew chiefs, Chad Walters and Charles Denike will swap teams, respectively. Walter will work with Lessard in the No. 24, after leading Tyler Ankrum into the playoffs in 2020. Alternatively, Denike partners with Ankrum after scoring a victory with Chase Elliott last year in the No. 24 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Meanwhile, Jeff Hensley rejoins the organization to work with Chase Purdy, who went from a limited slate to the full schedule in 2021; Hensley previously worked at GMS with Spencer Gallagher.
Sam Mayer, who won at Bristol last year for GMS, will be with a new organization in splitting the Truck Series schedule with 2020 ARCA Menards Series Champion Bret Holmes for Bret Holmes Racing, with Shane Huffman crew chiefing after leading the ARCA effort. Mayer will be busy for 2021, with it previously announced he will run a limited Xfinity Series schedule with JR Motorsports. He will also be splitting time with Parker Kligerman at Henderson Motorsports. In having quickly won and been a champion in each vehicle he’s ran thus far, don’t be surprised to see that continue.
ThorSport Racing has yet to announce any of their drivers or crew chiefs, but did reveal they will not be with Ford once again after three seasons together. They were previously aligned with Toyota.
David Gilliland Racing also confirmed the rest of their line-up, with Tanner Gray’s little brother Taylor set to move into the Truck Series, competing in seven of the races.