Bill McAnally – owner of Bill McAnally Racing and McAnally-Hilgemann Racing — will be the first person to tell you, that in order to be successful, you need to have a good group of people surrounding you. It’s this wisdom, that has allowed McAnally to take an off-season filled with organizational changes and exert a sense of confidence and optimism.
In 2022, BMR/MHR will see a new relationship forged with Chevrolet, after an extremely successful 14-year relationship with Toyota Racing Development. As part of the changes, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing will expand to a two-truck operation, adding an additional entry, No. 91, for Colby Howard.
With this change, comes a technical alliance with GMS Racing, which will scale its five-truck program from 2021, down to two trucks for the upcoming season, electing to add McAnally-Hilgemann Racing and CR7 Motorsports into their network.
MHR will move into a new shop in Statesville, North Carolina, on the campus of GMS Racing’s operations, allowing for easy access to the team’s state-of-the-art facilities and resources. It’s a relationship that McAnally is proud of, and one that has already begun paying dividends.
“Got a lot working with [GMS Racing], the Chevrolet relationship is strong,” McAnally told TobyChristie.com. “They’re going from a five-truck team to a two-truck team because of their Cup effort, and it was a great time to move in. They’ve got a lot of resources we can utilize because they’re cutting down to a two-truck team, so we’re able to get a lot of good equipment, it’s a great year for us to expand.”
In a January team release, McAnally-Hilgemann Racing said that they have purchased 13 Chevrolet Silverados from GMS Racing, all of which were raced throughout the 2021 NASCAR Truck Series season.
“We’re able to use their fabrication shop, their paint and body shop, chassis dyno, and a lot of knowledge they’ve spent the last six years building,” McAnally continued. “Mike Beam and Maury Gallagher have been fantastic to work with, Tom Ackerman, Billy Wheeler, that GMS program is strong, and we’re glad to be associated with them, and have an alliance and work with them.
“We just went to the Atlanta test with them and got to be a part of everything they were doing there. Even coming back to the shop, we had [post-test] meetings, and it’s a very great opportunity for us to hit the ground running with Chevrolet and GMS Racing.”
BMR/MHR officially re-launched its NASCAR Truck Series team on a part-time basis for the 2018 season-finale, running five races between the 2018 and 2019 seasons. In 2020, the organization went full-time with Derek Kraus, scoring four top-fives and 18 top-10s in the two seasons since, whilst securing a best finish of second.
So, with the team’s new alliance with GMS Racing, do the goals and expectations for Kraus, and now Howard, change? Absolutely, says McAnally.
“Our goal is to get in position. We’ve led laps with Derek, we’ve finished as good as second with Derek, last year we got two poles with Derek in the races we did qualify,” McAnally said. “So, we want to continue expanding on that, we want to finish better than second, which, there’s only one position better than that.
“So, we want to win some races, we want to contend for championships, we want to represent our partners at NAPA Auto Parts and Gates Hydraulics professionally and help them achieve their goals.”
As the organization navigates this significant period of change, McAnally has found some familiarity in the form of veteran crew chief Shane Wilson, who will serve as the crew chief for Derek Kraus’ No. 19 Chevrolet Silverado.
“Shane Wilson, […], he had his very first crew chief job with me back in 2000 with Brendan Gaughan and he built a truck team with me back in the early 2000s that Brendan drove,” McAnally recalled. “We run races at Texas, and he’s coming back, he’s won a championship with Kevin Harvick and races with Clint Bowyer in the Cup Series, we’ve reunited.
“It’s been  years since we’ve been with Chevrolet last, we’ve won championships, we’ve won truck races with them with Brendan in the early 2000s. When we first started truck racing, we bought Rick Carelli’s Chevrolet truck team out of Colorado, and that’s what we built our truck team with, was a lot of the assets we purchased from him when he was getting out of the truck series.
“We were Chevrolet, we were winning Winston West championships with Chevrolet, won one with Sean Woodside, and two with Brendan, and we built that truck team out of Las Vegas, and we actually commuted to all the truck races out of Las Vegas in 2002.
Alongside Wilson, Mark Hillman will continue in his role as general manager for the team, while also serving as crew chief of Colby Howard’s No. 91 Chevrolet Silverado, which will carry sponsorship from long-time associate sponsor, Gates Hydraulics.
“Bringing Shane Wilson back to crew chief with Derek Kraus is great,” McAnally exclaimed. “I’ve got a lot of employees that have worked with me in the past, that are coming to work for us for this two-truck effort. It’s headed by Mark Hillman, he worked with me last year as my crew chief and general manager. The Hillman family, they’re renowned in stock car racing and in NASCAR, very, very pleased to have Mark Hillman have the reigns and have Shane Wilson back as a crew chief, got a lot of great people together, and that’s what it takes, it’s about the people you put together.”
Other notable hires for McAnally-Hilgemann Racing include a pair of former GMS Racing employees, in the form of engineer Mike Thomas, and truck chief Matt Pitt. Josh Wright, the engineer from ThorSport Racing’s No. 88 team, has also joined the organization in a similar role. George Lux and Andrew Migliovvi have both returned to the organization, after pursuing additional opportunities in NASCAR’s top-three series.
On the ARCA Menards Series side of things, the switch to Chevrolet allows the organization to continue their work in the field of driver development but gives said drivers many opportunities for advancement, something McAnally says wasn’t a factor in the move, but rather an added benefit.
“We hope to have some drivers that climb in, there’s lots of avenues in Chevrolet for drivers to move into, in the Xfinity Series, Cup Series, and the Truck Series. There’s a lot of teams out there and a lot of rides, so if we can showcase their talents, give them the equipment, the people around them to go out there and be competitive and win races and contend and win championships, just like Todd Gilliland, and Derek Kraus, and drivers before that.”
As previously announced, Bill McAnally Racing will be working with Austin Herzog in the ARCA Menards Series West, as he runs the first full season in the No. 16 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet SS.
Additionally, McAnally says that Cole Moore and Jolynn Wilkinson will return to the organization’s ARCA West program in some capacity, while the team continues to have discussions regarding development opportunities for other drivers in 2022.
“It’s just a great springboard for them to be noticed, for them to build and develop their talents as a driver, with the media, and sponsors, we work with them on the off-track side of things too, with media training and working with sponsors and building their talents throughout, that they’ll need to move forward.”
When it comes to Bill McAnally Racing, whose 11 ARCA Menards Series West championships are spread across seven drivers, it appears that the team has been able to implement a program, in which, drivers are able to benefit from the people around them, building what has to be considered one of the strongest programs in NASCAR Touring Series history.
“In all of the years that I’ve been doing this, […], it’s about the people, to be successful about this, you have to have good people. So, we’ve worked really hard to get a group of people together.”