On the heels of the first successful season of Drivers Edge Development, JR Motorsports and GMS Racing jointly announced the program’s six-member Class of 2020 today. The lineup includes four returning drivers – Sheldon Creed, Noah Gragson, Sam Mayer and Zane Smith – along with newcomers Tyler Ankrum and Connor Mosack.
Presented by Chevrolet, Drivers Edge Development is designed to groom the next generation of racing superstars through a tiered competition pipeline and comprehensive off-track education. Drivers Edge Development will continue in the same capacity in 2020 with drivers competing in several series with JRM or GMS-fielded entries all while staying aligned with Chevrolet. JRM offers a regional late model program and entries in the NASCAR Xfinity Series while GMS races in the NASCAR Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series and ARCA Menards Series.
Equally as important as the competition focus, Drivers Edge Development provides added training to enhance participants’ professional growth off the track. Drivers will partake in educational programs presented by industry experts focusing on their physical, mental and technical development. An emphasis is placed on areas such as brand building, social media and digital content, media training and fan relations in addition to support for partner procurement and retention.
Drivers Edge Development 2020 Roster:
- Tyler Ankrum (Gander Trucks driver of the No. 26 for GMS) – A new addition to Drivers Edge Development, Ankrum took home a win at Kentucky Speedway in the Gander Trucks Series and Rookie of the Year honors in 2019. He built on a stout 2018 campaign in the ARCA Series East in which he earned four wins en route to the series title.
- Sheldon Creed (Gander Trucks driver of the No. 2 for GMS) – Creed, the 2018 ARCA Menards Series champion, had a promising 2019 season in Gander Trucks with GMS where he notched four top-five and 11 top-10 finishes, including runner-up efforts at Eldora Speedway and Michigan International Speedway. Creed also made a lone start for JRM with its No. 8 NXS entry in Daytona’s summer event last season.
- Noah Gragson (NXS driver of the No. 9 for JRM) – Gragson comes off a first full season of NXS competition with JRM that netted nine top fives and 22 top 10s – both career-bests – with an eighth-place finish in the NXS championship.
- Sam Mayer (Gander Trucks/ARCA driver for GMS) – Mayer, son of former IndyCar driver Scott Mayer and already a rising star at age 16, also makes a return to Drivers Edge Development in 2020. As part of the program’s inaugural class, Mayer saw a fruitful 2019 campaign with GMS that included the ARCA East championship in addition to four wins, 11 top fives, 11 top 10s and three poles. Mayer’s average finish on the season was a remarkable 3.2. He also made his NASCAR National Series debut in the Gander Trucks at Bristol Motor Speedway in August.
- Connor Mosack (Late Model driver for JRM) – Mosack is the second newcomer to the Drivers Edge Development program this season. In 2019, Mosack raced Late Models at Hickory (N.C.) Motor Speedway, finishing third in points and taking top rookie honors. He earned seven top-five and 25 top-10 finishes in 27 starts at the venue. A Charlotte, N.C. native, Mosack is also actively pursuing a business degree at High Point University.
- Zane Smith (Gander Trucks driver of the No. 21 for GMS) – Following a part-time schedule with JRM’s No. 8 team in 2019, the talented Smith moves into a full-time Gander Trucks seat with GMS in 2020. The native of Huntington Beach, Calif. turned heads among stiff competition last season, claiming two top-five and seven top-10 finishes in only 10 NXS starts. This will mark his first season in Gander Trucks.
The six drivers enrolled in Drivers Edge Development are part of established and successful operations. The JRM late model teams have delivered 48 wins in the last four seasons and own a total of four championships. GMS Racing has nine wins and a championship with its ARCA program and added a 2019 title with its ARCA East team. Its Gander Trucks entries have amassed 27 wins along with a 2016 championship. Over 15 years of competition, JRM’s NXS program lays claim to 46 wins and three championships, including consecutive titles in 2017-18.