The driver carousel started turning immediately after Moffitt won the 2018 title in November using Hattori Racing Enterprises. That team had difficulty battles last season and had been in danger at times of never making it to the trail. Even with winning the title, the team needed a driver that brought financial backing so Moffitt was let go and substituted by Austin Hill.

The sudden release came one day before Moffitt has been hired.

Photo by Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

Moffitt, that is 26, won six races last year in their own underdog rush to the title. Sauter, who turns 41 this season, also won six races each season but finished fourth in the championship contest. Sauter won the Truck Series title in 20-16, have not finished lower than fourth the previous six months and won 13 days in three seasons together with GMS.

The team thanked him because of his gifts to GMS — he also gave the company its first championship — but turned its attention toward Moffitt.

“Brett will soon be a superb addition,” said GMS Racing President Mike Beam. “Last year he demonstrated the rushing world the amount of talent and determination he’s got, especially while facing some adversity during the season. We look forward to helping him win his second championship and ours as well”

Sauter was blindsided by the GMS driver shift and told SiriusXM NASCAR Radio he had been advised Wednesday he had been out of a ride. He assumed he had been released because Moffitt is bringing a exemptions into the team.

“If he is bringing something, it’s more than I am bringing. “If I had that sort of money, I would be rushing something different. It’s late in the match, Daytona will be a month off, there is not a hell of a whole lot I could do on it. That is the nature of the beast. It’s an expensive game. Owners want money not just from sponsors today, but drivers as well.”

Moffitt has dropped around NASCAR’s three national show and has been finally able to show what they could reach last year at the Truck Series if he landed a ride using fledgling Hattorri Racing. That company had to patch together funding annually and Moffitt’s occupation was never stable.

Even as Moffitt led in to the season finale with the championship on the line, he knew he would likely be released, win or lose, because of finances.

Moffitt won the Homestead-Miami Speedway finale to maintain the title — Sauter was one of those contenders he overcome — but the celebration was bittersweet because he was not sure if he would have even work at 2019.

“I am eager to get the opportunity to defend my 2018 championship,” Moffitt said Thursday while devoting team proprietor Maury Gallagher for its job. “I can’t wait to get started working”