Truck Series team moves to Richard Petty’s old shop
By Jason Jones
STATESVILLE - Rumors of neglect surrounded the former Richard Petty Motorsports race shop on Aviation Drive, but GMS Racing drivers believe they have struck gold with their new acquisition.
“We got a pretty screaming deal,” said Spencer Gallagher, driver of the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado. “This place is such a gem.”
Since 2010, the former site of RPM and Gillet Evernham Motorsports has been unoccupied. The rumor was that no one had ever tended to it, and it had been gutted by “crackheads,” according to Gallagher.
“We came in here, and my jaw dropped,” Gallagher said.
The building was immaculate. Very little had to be done to get their new building into ship-shape.
“We literally walked in and knocked the dust off the place,” Gallagher said.
The most difficult part of the whole process was the complex real-estate transaction. However, GMS Racing got a great rate by taking over all three buildings from the bank.
“You don’t roll up into town and grab a few pieces of real estate like this without meaning what you are doing,” Gallagher said.
This is a move that GMS hopes will legitimize its operation in the upper echelon of NASCAR. The company has high expectations, and this move symbolizes the evolution of a dream to be a top flight truck racing team and someday maybe more.
The idea to buy a bigger building began when GMS Racing realized that its shop in Charlotte was not adequate for what the team wanted to accomplish. It was just too cramped, and the work space was awkward, Gallagher said.
GMS Racing needed more space because it is expanding to two NCWTS trucks and running part time in the ARCA Racing Series.
GMS has made a few other changes this year, starting with Gallagher competing in all 23 NCWTS races. The company will also have 17-year-old Brandon Jones drive GMS’s No. 33 Chevrolet Silverado in 16 NCWTS races.
One of its drivers from last year’s NCWTS season, Joey Coulter, will not be driving this year. Instead he will transition to the role of team relationships coordinator for 2015.
Gallagher has been with GMS from the company’s beginning. Jones’ role has expanded after only driving at Martinsville and Phoenix in 2014 for GMS.
Jones is not running a full season this year but has attainable goals.
“I want to finish in the top five and top 10 consistently,” he said.
He looks forward to the experience of racing on a 1.5-mile track this year for the first time. As a student at Lake Norman High, it takes extensive communication and involvement with school officials to achieve academic requirements.
For Jones and Gallagher, this is the next step to being a successful championship team. GMS has hired a lot of great people, and this is one more step with the acquisition of this building, Jones said.
Gallagher’s goal for this season is to place top five in points. He is confident that his team is capable of putting together a top-five season.
Both drivers have been a part of what is going on under GMS’s new roof, and it is some pretty exciting stuff, Gallagher said.
“We ain’t been slouching in the offseason.”
Gallagher and Jones are excited about their new isolated location, and they have plans for their new surroundings.
“I’ve only driven through Statesville so far, but I look forward to exploring around the town,” Gallagher said.
The drivers plan to have RC Car drift races in their new shop and maybe on the airstrip across the street.
“When no one is around to look,” he said, “you can try out all the stupid ideas you ever want.”