While it will be the first start at the track for Dalton Sargeant, his teammates join in to help GMS try and excel this Saturday at Gateway Motorsports Park.
Although Sargeant will be competing on the challenging 1.25-mile oval for the first time, his teammates Johnny Sauter and Justin Haley have both contributed in helping the rookie driver prepare for his first start.
This will be the first NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race since the facility was repaved and the seventh start there for Sauter.
Although the points leader has yet to win there, Sauter has built an impressive resume with six top-four finishes in as many starts highlighted by a runner-up showing in his first race in 2009.
The Necedah, Wisconsin, native enjoys returning to his native Midwest to compete.
"I always enjoy this part of the schedule,” said Sauter. “Getting back to the Midwest and to tracks that I think suit my driving style best. Gateway has always been a favorite of mine and if you look at my stats it shows. I think I've finished top-five there in every start.”
Despite having some bad luck in last year’s race the veteran rebounded nicely.
“Last year, I was worried after we were wrecked early in first practice and had to spend the whole session repairing the truck,” added Sauter. “I was right in there with the guys doing whatever it took and in the end we were able to finish third.
“That's the great thing about this team, I say it all the time, the No. 21 guys are on it. We may not be fastest when we unload or we may have to deal with a few bumps in the road, but somehow we always finish up front."
Sargeant hopes this weekend produces better results after he got caught up in an accident not of his making last weekend at Iowa Speedway.
"We really need a good run this weekend at Gateway in our No. 25 Performance Plus Motor Oil GMS Racing Silverado,” said Sargeant. “After a good run at Iowa Speedway was spoiled by a mid-race crash we are really far behind in the point standings and certainly out of the current playoff picture.”
Sargeant will get an opportunity due to the repave to get some extra practice time on the track this Saturday, which he is looking forward to.
“Gateway is another race track that I personally have never seen before, but thankfully we’ll get a much needed practice extension because of the new pavement,” he said.
While Sauter has been helpful to Sargeant this season as he learns new tracks on the schedule, his other GMS Racing teammate has also provided some assistance.
“Luckily our teammate Justin Haley was involved in the Goodyear tire test a few weeks back and had really good speed,” said Sargeant. “We’ve talked a good amount on how to attack the fast, flat race track which now has a ton of grip. He said you can be really aggressive with your steering inputs and the amount of throttle you can use.
“It sounds like it’s going to be really fun and restarts are really going to be hectic. I predict that even though we’ve seen some really aggressive driving on restarts this season, Gateway will probably be turned up an extra notch.
“All of those elements mixed with the unknown of the racetrack attempting to put extra grip into the second lane and you should see a really good race as usual from Gateway.”
Sargeant just hopes he can get his season turned around.
“Hopefully it will produce some attrition and exciting moments that will allow us to get back into this playoff race," he said.