STATESVILLE, N.C. — GMS Racing announced Thursday that reigning NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series champion Brett Moffitt will join the organization for the upcoming season.

The 26-year-old Grimes, Iowa native will defend his championship title in GMS’ No. 24 Chevrolet, alongside veteran crew chief Jerry Baxter.

Moffitt replaces Johnny Sauter, who was confirmed to be out of a ride with GMS earlier in the week.

The addition of Moffitt completes GMS’ two-truck lineup for the new year. Rookie Sheldon Creed will pilot the No. 2 Chevrolet as a teammate to the defending champion.

“I’m excited to be given the chance to defend my 2018 championship,” Moffitt said. “I have to thank the Gallagher family and everyone at GMS for this opportunity. I can’t wait to start working with Jerry and the guys to kick off the season at Daytona in a few weeks.”

Moffitt won the Truck Series championship with six victories last season, including one in the finale at Homestead-Miami (Fla.) Speedway to secure the title. In his first full season competing in the Truck Series, Moffitt earned 13 top-five finishes and led 269 laps.

In 2017, Moffitt competed in seven Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series races, one Xfinity event and five Truck Series races. He has seven career wins in the Truck Series and was the 2015 Monster Energy Cup Series Sunoco Rookie of the Year.

“Brett will be an excellent addition to the GMS organization,” said Mike Beam, team president. “Last year he showed the racing world the amount of talent and determination he has, especially while facing some adversity throughout the season. We look forward to helping him win his second championship and ours as well.

“We have a strong driver lineup in every series we’ll compete in this year. Maury Gallagher has given us the tools and personnel we need to compete for several championships.”

Thursday’s news confirms comments that Sauter made to SiriusXM NASCAR Radio, channel 90, on Wednesday that Moffitt would be replacing him at GMS Racing.