This Friday Night at Richmond, four drivers will compete in the second round of the XFINITY Series’ Dash 4 Cash program, in hopes of winning $100,000.
Among those eligible are a couple of drivers you’d expect to see in Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric, and Elliott Sadler. After all, all three drive for the dominant teams in RCR Racing (Hemric) and JR Motorsports (Sadler, Allgaier), and made the Championship 4 last year. However, it is the fourth and final driver that may be a surprise to some.
Spencer Gallagher, who secured his first top-five of his XFINITY Series career last weekend at Bristol, secured the final spot in the Dash 4 Cash after finishing fifth.
While he hasn’t won anything yet, having his name in that picture is huge for him and his team, GMS Racing. Especially after having a disappointing rookie season last year.
Now, there were no big expectations for Gallagher in 2017, after not winning a race during his time in the Camping World Truck Series. However, there was still reason to believe the team would still be successful. After all, GMS, who was also competing in their first full season in the series, had just won the Truck Series championship the year prior, so the intrigue was there to see if they could carry the momentum up.
Ultimately, it was a forgettable 33 races for the team. They only scored one top-10 with 20 finishes of 20th or worse, failed to make the playoffs, and Gallagher placed 19th in points. All this though, makes what they’ve already accomplished this season even more impressive.
While it may be a surprise they are in the Dash 4 Cash, this is a unit that has quietly had an impressive start to the year, scoring four top-10’s and, qualifying and finishing 15th or better in every race.
GMS and Gallagher have done what they needed, and that is take advantage of the clean slate. If this team can keep this up, they will be in the playoffs, and maybe more, as they proved in Bristol.
While the track will not be in the playoffs, it did represent what the format will be like come September, as there was no full-time Cup drivers, and Gallagher made a statement. They are not the same team from a year ago; they have improved, and could be a contender for a championship.
After all, this is an organization that didn’t light the world on fire when they first entered the Truck Series either but, as they slowly got better and eventually, turned into the powerhouse that they are today.
It is too early to say whether that will be the case in XFINITY but, GMS and Gallagher have become a team to watch as the season continues.