A New Cup Series Owner Drops 1 Team to Chase Championships for Another
Justin Marks is coming off the best season by one of NASCAR’s newer Cup Series owners, but longtime fans might appreciate what Maury Gallagher accomplished almost as much.
Marks’ second-year Trackhouse Racing team placed Daniel Suarez and Ross Chastain in the playoffs following their first victories, with the latter making it to the Championship 4. Neither of Gallagher’s drivers at Petty GMS reached the playoffs, but the team built on the brilliance of Hall of Famers Lee and Richard Petty is relevant again.
There’s a lot of work remaining, but Gallagher has made big moves ahead of his second season in charge. Now, he’s putting more effort into his hunt for another championship.
Petty GMS will be a must-watch Cup Series team in 2023
Maury Gallagher seemed poised to launch his own NASCAR Cup Series team when his plans took a drastic change of direction 13 months ago. With rumors swirling in the preceding days, Gallagher took a controlling interest in Richard Petty Motorsports and rebranded it as Petty GMS.
Overnight, the second-winningest team in Cup Series history doubled in size to two cars. Veteran driver Erik Jones benefitted immediately. With more resources at his disposal and following the savvy hire of Dave Elenz, Jones was competitive in numerous races in the No. 43 Chevy.
Though it was too late to get him into the playoffs, Jones won the fall race at Darlington, wheeling one of NASCAR’s iconic cars onto Victory Lane for the first time since Aric Almirola did it in 2014.
The upcoming season could be huge for Petty GMS. Gallagher and Petty have dropped Ty Dillon in favor of the dynamic Noah Gragson, coming off a runner-up finish in the Xfinity Series. On top of that, seven-time Cup Series champion Jimmie Johnson joined the organization as a minority owner and will drive a handful of races.
GMS Racing is leaving the ARCA Menards Series
Though new to the Cup Series last season, Maury Gallagher was no NASCAR newbie. The Allegiant Air chairman and CEO launched a team in the truck series in 2013 and added an Xfinity Series program in 2016. However, it all began for GMS Racing in 2012 with six starts in the ARCA Menards Series.
Grant Enfinger scored the organization’s first championship in the 2015 ARCA Series. A year later, Johnny Sauter captured the crown in the truck series, and then Sheldon Creed earned the 2020 championship. Significantly, GMS Racing had dropped its Xfinity program after the 2019 season – despite John Hunter Nemechek’s 19 top-10 finishes – to focus on its teams in the two other divisions.
Now, GMS Racing has announced another downsizing. After fielding a car for David Dye in just four ARCA Menards races last year, Gallagher has decided to exit the series. Team president Mike Beam said the GMS Racing is aiming to win the Craftsman Truck Series title.
“To our loyal partners and fans who have supported our efforts within the (ARCA) series, we offer our greatest respect and gratitude, and look forward to what’s ahead for our organization as a whole moving forward,” Beam said in a statement.
Maury Gallagher will run three full-time trucks in 2023
The 2020 Craftsman Truck Series was magical for GMS Racing as Sheldon Creed, Zane Smith, and Bret Moffitt scored a one-two-three finish in the Championship 4. Replicating that is unlikely, but a championship isn’t out of the question since Grant Enfinger won a race and placed seventh in the standings in 2022.
His teammates will be Rajah Caruth and Daniel Dye, each getting his first full-season crack at NASCAR’s third-tier series. Caruth made limited Xfinity and truck starts in 2022 for Alpha Prime Racing and Spire Motorsports. Dye was winless in the ARCA Menards Series but placed in the top 10 in 13 races and took second in the final standings.
Got a question or observation about racing? Sportscasting’s John Moriello does a mailbag column each Friday. Write to him at [email protected].