HOLLYWOOD, Fla. -- Moments after accepting the trophy for fourth place in the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series standings with his former team, Johnny Sauter shed light on who would fill an important role for his new team. Sauter said that Marcus Richmond will move over to become his crew chief as he transitions to GMS Racing ahead of the 2016 season. Richmond spent the last two seasons with Red Horse Racing, helping guide Timothy Peters and the No. 17 Toyota to three victories during that span. "Obviously, we've already got things set in motion," Sauter said Monday night at the series' annual awards banquet. "As far as people and personnel, we've still got a couple guys that we're trying to assemble to make it what we want it to be, but obviously Marcus Richmond's going to come over and be the crew chief and he's got some key people that he thinks are going to help the program. … Lot of work to be done in a few short months, but they're working hard." GMS announced on Oct. 15 that Sauter would become a teammate to Spencer Gallagher after spending the last seven seasons driving the ThorSport Racing No. 98 Toyota. On Monday, Sauter revealed another key piece of the puzzle. Peters closed out the season with a change atop the pit box, with veteran Butch Hylton replacing Richmond for the finale. Though their work partnership may have ended, Peters said his long-running friendship with Richmond -- with roots all the way back to childhood years -- would endure. "Hate the circumstances for sure, but it was a mutual decision to part ways with Red Horse and Marcus," said Peters, who finished fifth in the season-long truck series standings. "Definitely, he and I are still best friends and wish him well."
John Wes Townley and Johnny Sauter run into each other on pit road during pit stops at Talladega Superspeedway.
Longtime ThorSport Racing driver Johnny Sauter has decided to leave the organization at the conclusion of the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series season, the veteran confirmed Thursday evening on FS1's NASCAR Race Hub. Sauter , who picked up 10 series wins since taking reins of the No. 13 ThorSport truck full-time in 2009, will join GMS Racing to drive a Chevrolet Silverado starting next season at Daytona. "Very excited about the move and I've had a great time with ThorSport in the past, but looking forward to 2016," Sauter said on Race Hub. The 37-year-old driver is currently fourth in the Truck Series standings. GMS picked up its first team win two weeks ago with Austin Dillon behind the wheel of the No. 33. The team currently fields two full-time trucks -- the No. 23 for team owner Maury Gallagher's son, Spencer Gallagher , and also the No. 33 in which Austin Dillon , Ty Dillon and Brandon Jones split seat time.
John Hunter Nemechek gets into the back of Johnny Sauter , turning him loose into the wall causing major damage to the No. 98 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
ThorSport Racing veteran looks to take aim of ending teammate's title reign RELATED: Full schedule of season previews Team: ThorSport Racing No. 98 Toyota Rank in final 2014 standings: 4th Wins: 1 ( Michigan International Speedway ) Strides: Sauter's consistent start to the season -- with top-10 finishes in 12 of the first 14 races -- helped him carry the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series points lead into September. Notably, the steady start came during a stretch of turnover for the ThorSport No. 98, which used three different crew chiefs -- Eugene Wachtel, Dennis Connor and Jeff Hensley -- through the season. Besides the time spent atop the standings perch, Sauter also thwarted a personal nemesis by conquering Michigan International Speedway , a track that had yielded zero top-10s in his previous five tries before his breakthrough victory. It was a triumph made even sweeter upon the realization that his father, Jim -- who died in October -- cherished racing at the two-mile track in the next state over from his family's Wisconsin home. "Winning Michigan, it's been for whatever reason historically a difficult race track for me," Sauter said, "and now the way things are, that was probably one of my dad's favorite race tracks, so it even means more to me now than it ever did before. That's a huge feather in my cap because it's just one of those places that he loved and I didn't, and now we've got a win there and that's pretty cool." Setbacks: Sauter won the Keystone Light Pole Award at Chicagoland Speedway in September, but dipped out of the points lead after a 14th-place finish. After another midpack finish at Las Vegas, engine failure at Talladega Superspeedway sent him tumbling to fourth in the standings with four races left. While the rare mechanical breakage halted the No. 98 team's momentum, Sauter suggested that the team's ability to compete for checkered flags needs a boost in 2015. "Talladega was a tough one … but me, personally, I didn't think we ran well enough all year to be a championship deal," Sauter said. "We were consistent at times and we did a good job of finishing races, but we need to go out and lead laps and win races, in my opinion, and the points will take care of themselves. It was a good year and consistent year, it just wasn't a great year and there's a lot of little things I can point to to say that we need to do better to be better ultimately." Quoteworthy: "There's a lot of things we're looking at, and it's funny because a lot of people say well, you've got to do this or got to do that, and it's really just a lot of little things that you have to do different. It's not one big thing that sticks out like a sore thumb that says, 'Hey, you've got to fix this and you'll be the best.' It's probably eight or 10 little things, and it's all different aspects." What's next: ThorSport has indicated that the No. 98 team's flotilla of sponsors -- Nextant Aerospace, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff, Curb Records and Carolina Nut Co. -- will return for 2015. Sauter will work with veteran crew chief Doug George, whose most recent tenure was spent at Turner Scott Motorsports helping four-time Camping World Truck Series champion Ron Hornaday Jr . and Ben Kennedy , the 2014 Sunoco Rookie of the Year in the series. Sauter carries an impressive streak of notching at least one victory in each of the last six seasons, plus a solid run of top-five results in the series standings in four of the last five years. While ThorSport teammate Matt Crafton has hoisted the series crown the past two seasons, Sauter says he's ready for a taste of the championship laurels by visiting Victory Lane on a more regular basis. "It's weird because I still ultimately always go back to this, and maybe my strategy is flawed and that's why I haven't won a championship: I think if you win races, the championship will take care of itself," Sauter said. "In 2011, we came really close to winning a championship and just didn't get it done. We just had too many bumps in the road. It would be awesome. … To win a NASCAR championship in the truck series, I don't know that you would really know what that would feel like until you did it." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff extends partnership with No. 98 entry Registration for NASCAR Fantasy Live is now open! Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and Pouches has extended their partnership with ThorSport Racing and Johnny Sauter for the 2015 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, the team announced on Tuesday. The partnership is for eight races beginning with the season opener at Daytona International Speedway , the NextEra Energy Resources 250 on Friday, Feb. 20 (7:30 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1). "Smokey Mountain has been a huge supporter of our series, and every year they are able to increase their presence in NASCAR," Sauter said in a team release. "I'm honored they have chosen not only to extend their partnership with myself and ThorSport Racing in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, but to have also increased their presence in 2015. This kind of partnership is hard to find these days, so I'm honored to be carrying their colors and representing their brand again this season." In addition to the opener at Daytona, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff and Pouches will serve as the primary sponsor for both races at Martinsville Speedway (in March and October), the May races at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Dover International Speedway , the August race at Bristol Motor Speedway , the October race at Talladega Superspeedway and the November race at Texas Motor Speedway . Last season, Smokey Mountain Herbal Snuff was a primary sponsor for Sauter in six of the series' 22 races. In the 2014 season, Sauter scored a win at Michigan International Speedway and finished fourth in the final standings, driving the No. 98 Toyota Tundra for ThorSport Racing. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Sauter's strong start to 2013 was bookended by a solid late rally into the top five in points
Sauter has won two of the last three spring Truck Series races at Martinsville
Johnny Sauter spins out after contact with AJ Allmendinger, bringing out a caution at Daytona.
Johnny Sauter and his Carolina Nut Toyota celebrates victory lane at Talladega and captures his third win of the 2013 season.