CHARLOTTE, N.C. — NASCAR Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt joined GMS Racing on Thursday in a transfer that price one other star driver his experience.

The driving force carousel started spinning proper after Moffitt won the 2018 title in November with Hattori Racing Enterprises. That group had sponsorship struggles all final season and was in peril at occasions of not making it to the observe. Even after profitable the title, the group nonetheless wanted a driver who introduced monetary backing, so Moffitt was let go and changed by Austin Hill.

With Moffitt accessible, GMS Racing made the shock choice to launch Johnny Sauter only one month earlier than NASCAR studies to Daytona Worldwide Speedway to open the season. The abrupt launch got here at some point earlier than Moffitt was employed.

Brett Moffitt won six races final season in NASCAR’s Truck Series. Picture by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Photos

Moffitt, who’s 26, won six races final yr in his underdog run to the title. Sauter, who turns 41 this yr, additionally won six races final season however completed fourth within the championship race. Sauter, who won the Truck Series title in 2016, has not completed decrease than fourth the previous six seasons and won 13 occasions in three seasons with GMS.

The group thanked him for his contributions to GMS — he gave the group its first championship — however turned its focus towards Moffitt.

“Brett can be a superb addition,” stated GMS racing president Mike Beam. “Final yr he confirmed the racing world the quantity of expertise and dedication he has, particularly whereas going through some adversity all through the season. We glance ahead to serving to him win his second championship and ours as properly.”

Sauter was blindsided by the GMS driver change and advised SiriusXM NASCAR Radio that he was knowledgeable Wednesday he was out of a experience. He assumed he was launched as a result of Moffitt is bringing some sponsorship to the group.

“If he is bringing one thing, it is greater than I am bringing. I do not pay to race,” Sauter advised SiriusXM. “If I had that sort of cash, I might be racing one thing else. It is late within the sport, Daytona is a month away, there’s not a hell of so much I can do about it. That is the character of the beast. It is an costly sport. Homeowners want cash not simply from sponsors immediately, however drivers as properly.”

Moffitt has bounced round NASCAR’s three nationwide sequence and was lastly ready to present what he can accomplish final season within the Truck Series, when he landed a experience with fledgling Hattori Racing. That group had to piece collectively funding all yr, and Moffitt’s job was by no means safe.

At the same time as Moffitt headed into the season finale with the championship on the road, he knew he’d possible be launched, win or lose, due to funds.

Moffitt won the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale to declare the title — Sauter was one of many contenders he beat — however the celebration was bittersweet as a result of he wasn’t positive if he’d actually have a job in 2019.

“I am excited to be given the prospect to defend my 2018 championship,” Moffitt stated Thursday whereas thanking group proprietor Maury Gallagher for the job. “I am unable to wait to begin working.”

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