Motorsport.com is renewing its Take on Trucks weekly feature, focusing on chronicling the remainder of the Camping World Truck Series season with GMS Racing and its drivers, Dalton Sargeant and 2016 champion Johnny Sauter.
This new content partnership with GMS Racing, will offer fans exclusive content prior to each Truck Series race.
Motorsport.com spent some time at the GMS shop this week to get some thoughts from both drivers prior to Friday night’s race at Kansas Speedway.
Sargeant is off to a solid start during his rookie season in the Trucks with a pair of top-10 finishes in five starts.
Although he hasn’t driven a truck at Kansas yet, he did make two ARCA Series starts at the 1.5-mile track, including a fifth-place finish in last year’s race.
“Kansas has been a track that I’ve enjoyed racing at in the ARCA Racing Series and have had some solid finishes and even competed for a win and led laps in 2016,” Sargeant said. “Thankfully it's a race track that I’m comfortable with and have some experience at.
“The 1.5 mile racetracks in the Truck Series are extremely competitive and I think competition is closer than ever right now, trying to learn how to race these trucks in a pack has been challenging so when you can go to a track and be familiar with the characteristics and layout, it’s definitely a step in the right direction.”
One bonus the Boca Raton, Fla., native, has is he can draw from the experience and learn from his teammate, Sauter.
“Johnny Sauter has been a monumental help in establishing a good base here at GMS Racing and in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series,” added Sargeant. “He’s one of the most successful drivers in the history of the series so I’d say everyone here at GMS Racing looks up to him and tries to learn as much as we possibly can from the No. 21 team.
“Throughout my career, I haven’t really ever had a veteran driver as a teammate before so it’s certainly a different approach and an interesting tool to use. It’s almost like having a driver coach everywhere you go. It’s cool to be able to follow him in practice or have the No. 21 follow me in practice and the feedback that comes from those practice runs is invaluable.”
Sauter, who’s off to another championship-contending season, has already won two races and his next win will be his 20th win in trucks. It’s no coincidence that Sauter has enjoyed so much success since joining the team in 2016 - including a win in his first start with the team.
“If you look at where GMS was when I signed on, to where things are now and what Mike (Beam) and the Gallagher family have built out in Statesville, N.C., it’s incredible,” said Sauter. “Competition-wise we’ve progressed each year, but then you have the fab side of it – GMS Fabrication – building our own chassis, hanging bodies … those are things you don’t see much anymore.
“On the truck side, GMS goes out and wins races and we have several trucks running top-five or top-10 each week.”
Sauter knows he’s the veteran of the four-truck team and the younger drivers - including Dalton - look to him for advice based on his experience and success.
“I really do enjoy racing against the younger drivers,” said Sauter. “I learn just as much from them as they do from me. There’s a different way of looking at things. They have different backgrounds, or they’re trying things on the simulator, they may be able to do something during practice that maybe I’ve never even thought to try. In the end that for sure helps when we’re racing for a title. You never stop learning.
“If I can help Dalton and Justin (Haley) and Cody (Coughlin), and they get a win and now they’re in the playoffs, well that just gives us a teammate in the running. The more people we have to bounce information off of, the more successful we’re going to be and that will get us to a second title."