Categories
XFINITY

Spencer Gallagher Reinstated by NASCAR

NASCAR announced on Wednesday afternoon that Spencer Gallagher has been reinstated and may return to competition.

Following his victory at Talladega Superspeedway, the GMS Racing driver was indefinitely suspended for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy, per section 19 of the NASCAR XFINITY Series rulebook. Gallagher received his reinstatement after completing the Road to Recovery Program.

“I want to assure everyone in the NASCAR community this one time error in judgement will never happen again,” Gallagher said on May 2 in a statement. “I would like to say I am sorry to all of the GMS organization for my actions, especially my team and team owner, who have worked so hard this year and have put faith in me. I also want to apologize to NASCAR, Chevrolet, and my fans for letting them down. I have not upheld the behavior that is expected of me. I promise you all here and right now, I will do whatever it takes to make this right.” 

Gallagher will return to the No. 23 Camaro beginning next weekend at Kentucky Speedway. GMS Racing contracted Chase Elliott for this weekend’s race at Daytona International Speedway, as well as Bristol Motor Speedway in August, following the suspension and that agreement is set to remain in place. Elliott, along with Justin Haley, Johnny Sauter, and Alex Bowman have driven the car in his absence.

Prior to his suspension, Gallagher had scored two top-fives and five top-10’s. Although the win would have put Gallagher in the post-season playoffs, he will not be granted a waiver.

 

Gallagher currently competes with his father Maury Gallagher’s GMS Racing team. 

“The whole GMS organization is very proud of Spencer for getting reinstated after completing NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program,” GMS Racing president Mike Beam said in a statement.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Spencer Gallagher Suspended from NASCAR

NASCAR announced on Wednesday morning that Spencer Gallagher has been indefinitely suspended for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy.

Covered in Section 19 of the rule book, the NASCAR XFINITY Series driver was found in violation on May 1. 

“I recently have had a positive result in a NASCAR drug screen which has violated NASCAR’s substance abuse policy,” Gallagher released in a statement. “I want to assure everyone in the NASCAR community this one time error in judgement will never happen again. I am taking the steps to enroll in the Road to Recovery program supported by NASCAR. I would like to say I am sorry to all of the GMS organization for my actions, especially my team and team owner, who have worked so hard this year and have put faith in me. I also want to apologize to NASCAR, Chevrolet, and my fans for letting them down. I have not upheld the behavior that is expected of me. I promise you all here and right now, I will do whatever it takes to make this right.” 

The news comes following his first career victory on Saturday at Talladega Superspeedway, where he only led a single lap en route to winning the Sparks Energy 300. He currently ranks seventh in the point standings with two top-fives and five top-10’s. Although the win would have put Gallagher in the post-season playoffs, he will not be granted a waiver per the sanctioning body if he does return before the season is over.

Gallagher currently competes with his father Maury Gallagher’s GMS Racing team. 

“GMS Racing was notified that driver Spencer Gallagher gave a positive result from a NASCAR drug screen,” Mike Bream, President of GMS Racing, released in a statement. “GMS fully supports NASCAR’s policy on substance abuse and we do not condone this type of behavior. First and foremost, our entire organization wants to apologize to NASCAR, our sponsors, teammates and fans due to this policy violation. Spencer has agreed to participate NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program. A substitute driver will be announced at a later date.” 

The Road to Recovery Program is a requirement for drivers to fulfill before being eligible to be cleared to race again.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway

The NASCAR XFINITY Series has put on some of the best shows over the past couple of weeks, and the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

Although having a reputation for tearing up a whole bunch of equipment at the race’s conclusion, this year did not see a repeat of that as everybody managed to hold on to their cars. That said, it wasn’t boring by any means either with a classic battle between Spencer Gallagher and Tyler Reddick for the top spot. One ill-timed block by Reddick was all that Gallagher needed to get by, and score the win.

Notably, Gallagher has only led a single lap in the XFINITY Series to date – the last lap that won him the race at Talladega, giving GMS Racing their first win as an organization. It’s no secret that the driver of the No. 23 Chevrolet struggled last year, but this season has seen him run up front on a weekly basis, and he could easily turn what some may call a lucky win into a championship challenge.

RELATED: Mitchell Bruer recently detailed the turnaround for Gallagher 

On the flip side, Reddick will chalk this up to another race in where one decision kept the No. 9 out of victory lane, something that has seemed to be a common theme since his triumph at Daytona International Speedway. But his loss for JR Motorsports isn’t the focus, but rather his teammates’ days. 

Elliott Sadler had once again put himself in a position to win on a restrictor plate track, but a penalty for speeding on pit road had him restarting deep in the field late. The infraction is widely debatable, as he said he only sped to avoid the spinning John Hunter Nemechek. NASCAR has allowed drivers to speed through pit lane previously when avoiding an incident, but supposedly this one didn’t fall under that category. JR Motorsports’ problems did not end there as Justin Allgaier had to make a late-race pit stop after running out of fuel.

However, the team managed to rebound in stellar style, with both drivers charging through the field to score a pair of top-fives, with Sadler taking home the $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus for the second straight week in a row. The charge by the pair was certainly fascinating to watch, whether running the high-line three-wide, to dipping down low at the last minute. One more lap with the momentum they had on their side, compared to the others being shaken up, and there may have been a different driver in victory lane. The way they were able to rebound, though, is why they have consistently led the series standings over the past couple of years, including a championship with William Byron in 2017. 

It would’ve also been interesting to see what Daniel Hemric would’ve been able to do if he was in the thick of the action late as he ran up front through the event until a tire issue in the late stages. They say tires aren’t important at restrictor plate tracks, but trying to run on the same right-side rubber all event didn’t pay off.

So far at Talladega Superspeedway, there have been two races – the ARCA Racing Series and the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Even with debate surrounding the rules for ARCA in finishing under green conditions, both events have produced exciting finishes with battles right down to the checkered flag. Hopefully the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series doesn’t disappoint on Sunday. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Gallagher Surges at Talladega for First Win in NASCAR Overtime Finish

TALLADEGA, Ala. – Taking advantage of an overtime restart and a fuel shortage that hampered some of the race’s strongest cars, Spencer Gallagher grabbed the lead on the final lap and held on to win Saturday’s Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway.

In claiming the first NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of his career, Gallagher crossed the finish line .152 seconds ahead of runner-up Brandon Jones. Justin Allgaier recovered to finish third after running out of fuel under the Lap 105 caution that set up the overtime.

The only lap Gallagher has ever led in 49 Xfinity Series starts was the final one at Talladega on Saturday. He’s the ninth different winner in nine races in the series so far this year, and now he can count on competing in the postseason Playoff.

Noah Gragson came home fourth a week after running second in his Xfinity Series debut at Richmond. Elliott Sadler rebounded from a pit road speeding penalty – after he accelerated to avoid John Hunter Nemechek’s spinning car – to claim fifth place and his second straight $100,000 Dash 4 Cash bonus.

“The only thing that was going through my mind was ‘I hope to hell this works,’” Gallagher said after surging past Tyler Reddick and Christopher Bell into the lead and blocking for all he was worth on the final lap. “Gosh, I’m so happy right now. GMS Racing (owned by Gallagher’s father, Maury Gallagher) brought such an incredible car here. To qualify this thing third and to race like we did all day, I knew we had some speed.

“Man, it didn’t seem real for a while there. For that whole last lap it was kind of a dream. You hear your spotter talking to you in the background, but all you’re really doing is looking in your mirror. It’s always wild, the last lap at Talladega, but we brought it home, baby! Got it done…

“We’re going home and party like it’s 1999.”

Ryan Sieg, Nemechek, Reddick, Cole Custer and Garrett Smithley completed the top 10. Sadler expanded his series lead to 40 points over second-place Reddick, 47 over third-place Allgaier and 49 over fourth-place Bell, who was shuffled back to 12th at the finish.

Jones second-place finish was a career best, and he got it by hustling in the bottom lane after the final restart, as the race went two laps past its scheduled distance of 113 laps.

“We all backed up pretty big on the bottom lane (after the restart), and I was really trying to work my side drafts there at the end, and I was pretty weak on that all day,” Jones said. “I knew at the very end there I needed to do that as best as I could, and it was starting to pull that top lane back a little bit, so I thought that was working pretty well.

“And then some guys jumped in front of me and caused me to suck up and pull that bottom down. If I could have got to the 23 (Gallagher), I think we could have sucked him back a little bit with the side draft, but we just didn’t have the opportunity to do it there at the end.”

Emblematic of the hazards of restrictor-plate racing was the misfortune of Ryan Truex, who sped on pit road under caution for the end of Stage 1, restarted from the rear of the field and had his No. 11 Chevrolet collected in a seven-car accident on Lap 32.

The melee started when Shane Lee turned the No. 28 Ford of Dylan Lupton to trigger the wreck. That contact also turned the No. 60 Ford of Ty Majeski into the outside wall and into the path of Truex, who T-boned Majeski’s car.

“On that restart (on Lap 32), the outside line got going really well, and we were moving forward, and I think the 3 car (Lee) was behind us and was pushing me a little bit through that high side,” Lupton said.

“And then once we started losing banking on the straightaway, he pushed a little too much and pinched me sideways, and at that point I was just a pinball holding on. It’s a disappointment being out so early, but we get to go racing again next week, and we’ll try to rebound from this.”

Gallagher, on the other hand, won’t have to rebound. He’ll just have to survive the party.

Categories
XFINITY

Gallagher Showing Growth in Sophomore Campaign

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.

Categories
XFINITY

5 Drivers On The Rise In The XFINITY Series

The first five races are in the books for the XFINITY Series, and so far, it hasn’t been kind to its regulars.

Four of those events have been dominated and won by full-time Monster NASCAR Cup Series drivers. While Tyler Reddick was victorious at Daytona, they led 115 of 143 laps in that race.

Now, it seems the men of NASCAR’s second-tier have struggled in 2018. That’s not the case. Yes, they haven’t been winning races but, there are still regulars finding themselves with impressive starts to the year. Here are a few that have slipped under the radar.

Elliott Sadler

There are only two drivers in any of NASCAR’s top three series that have finished every race in the top-10. Johnny Sauter in the Camping World Truck Series, and Sadler in the XFINITY Series.

The 42-year-old veteran, coming off a season where he was close to his first championship, hasn’t suffered any setback from his disappointment last November. Despite starting in the top-10 once this year, he only finished worse than fifth once, Phoenix (ninth).

As the Dash 4 Cash program starts next month, expect Sadler to remain a contender for wins during the four-race stretch, as he has been on a weekly basis.

Tyler Reddick

Yes, Reddick won the season-opener at Daytona which may make it seem like he’s not an “underrated” type of driver, but his move to JR Motorsports has seen more success than just a win.

After all, taking over the No. 9 is taking over one of the best rides the series has. Look at the fanfare that surrounded Chase Elliott and William Byron after being in the seat (both of whom won the championship in their first year).

Despite having big shoes to fill, Reddick has had the almost perfect transition with the team. He’s second in points, has four top-10’s, and is locked in the playoffs, something no other regular can say right now.

Spencer Gallagher

While GMS Racing has proven to be a dominant force in trucks, the transition up the ladder hasn’t been a smooth one. Last year in their first full-time season, the team had only one top-10 and failed to make the playoffs.It seems 2018, on the other hand, has gotten off on a much better foot.

With Gallagher returning as the driver, GMS already has two top-10’s, and, has zero starts or finishes outside the top-15. Solid runs put together early in the season could prove to be vital later, as they look to be a part of the title hunt.

Kaz Grala

In a move not a lot of people expected during silly season, Grala left the truck series after one successful season with the eventual championship winning organization, GMS, to move a lesser-funded XFINITY Series team in JGL Racing.

To his credit, he’s made the move work. Sure, he may not be winning races as he did a season ago, but he is making the most of the opportunity given to him. He started off the year with a fourth-place finish at Daytona, and since captured three top-20 finishes, including a 12th at Phoenix and a 14th last weekend at Auto Club Speedway.

So far, Grala is showing that his past success wasn’t a fluke, and the talent is there, which is essential for a young driver like him to do to make a name for himself.

Ross Chastain

In the past two seasons, an underdog team has made the XFINITY Series’ playoffs. 2016, it was Ryan Sieg, in 2017, Jeremy Clements; could 2018 be Chastain and JD Motorsports?

It is possible with the way they have performed early, as Chastain has already equaled his 2017 total in top-10’s (two) and hasn’t finished outside the top-20. However, the most prominent sign of improvement came at Fontana.

The team qualified well, ran near the front during the entire race, and finished tenth. A day that isn’t typically associated with Chastain unless if at restrictor plate track.

If the No. 4 can continue to have days like this, they will be a playoff team.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

Gallagher Gets New Crew Chief

Spencer Gallagher will have a new face calling the shots atop the pit box come Daytona in February as GMS Racing has hired Chad Norris to take over for Joey Cohen.

“Chad will bring a lot of good and solid knowledge to this XFINITY program,” said General Manager Mike Beam. “Spencer showed a lot of improvement last season and I feel like Chad can take him to the next level. With Chad’s veteran knowledge and experience I know Spencer and this No. 23 team will succeed and excel.”

Norris has been atop pit boxes dating back to 2005 in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, spending several years with Roush Fenway Racing before crew chiefing for Brennan Poole the past two seasons at Chip Ganassi Racing. Last year, he led Poole to 17 top-10’s en route to placing sixth in the standings.

“I am really excited to join GMS Racing for the 2018 season,” said crew chief Chad Norris. “We have all of the assets to build this XFINITY team into a top-tier competitor every weekend at the track. With Mike Beam and myself there is a lot of veteran knowledge to continue to not only help Spencer to grow as a driver but the XFINITY program as a whole.”

In his first full year of XFINITY competition, Gallagher scored 13 top-20 finishes, including a season-best 10th at Richmond Raceway.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement

Categories
Commentary

Stealing the Spotlight – 5 Drivers You’ll Hear About Next

NASCAR has done a lot – and rightfully so – to showcase the youth movement that is currently underway. As Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart and (possibly) Carl Edwards and Greg Biffle move onto the next chapter of their lives, talented youngsters like Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Erik Jones and William Byron have arrived on the scene.

The roster of young drivers is indeed impressive as another wave could be set to arrive in the wake of Elliott, Larson, Jones and Byron. 

Check out five drivers – only two of which have Cup team affiliations – who may be appearing more in the headlines as they win races and compete for championships.

John Hunter Nemechek

When people hear the name Nemechek, they still think of former Cup star, Joe Nemechek. But that is changing as son John Hunter Nemechek continues to make his name in the Camping World Truck Series. Racing since the age of five, John Hunter has a resume that includes the 2012 Allison Legacy Series Championship, a victory in the 2014 Snowball Derby and experience in a variety of series including ASA, UNOH and NASCAR’s K&N Pro Series East.

Nemechek began competing in the Camping World Truck Series in 2014 and, a year later, captured his first of three wins in the Truck Series at Chicagoland, coming 16 years to the day after father Joe won his first Cup race.

Voted the Truck Series Most Popular Driver in 2015, he found himself mired in controversy a year later. After a win at Atlanta, Nemechek won his second race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park. Nemechek bumped Cole Custer for the lead, and the two battled door-to-door and off-track to cross the finish line, resulting in a post-race brawl.     

Nemechek made the Truck Series’ inaugural Chase but was eliminated in the Round of 8. At the age of 19, Nemechek has already collected 28 top 10 finishes to go with three wins in the Truck series.      

Spencer Gallagher

No less than Dale Earnhardt, Jr has commented on Spencer Gallagher’s entertaining interviews, and the 27-year-old XFINITY Series rookie who drives for GMS Racing has the on-track skills to back it up.  After coming up through the ranks of Bandoleros, Legends and Late Models, Gallagher has also competed in the K&N Pro Series West and East and ARCA series.

The 2014 ARCA 98.9 at Kansas Speedway was the last race of the season, but it served as Gallagher’s first win. Meanwhile, sharing a truck ride with Max Gresham at GMS Racing, Gallagher finished third at Talladega.

After full seasons in the Camping World Truck Series in 2015 and 2016, Gallagher also ran select XFINITY Series races. He scored five straight top 10 finishes and a second-place finish at Talladega but failed to make the inaugural Truck Chase.

While he will still run in the Truck Series part-time, Gallagher has graduated to the XFINITY Series, driving the No. 23 for GMS Racing. Currently best known for a scuffle with John Wes Townley during last year’s Camping World Truck Series race at Gateway (a rematch from a 2014 battle at Iowa), Gallagher is ready to grab the spotlight away from his competitors on and off the track.   

Ryan Sieg

Rarely has any driver done so much with so little than Ryan Sieg. Driving No. 39 for a family-owned team with limited sponsorship, Sieg continues to compete in the XFINITY and Truck Series.

He began his NASCAR career in 2009 in trucks, running nine races for his family’s team following a one-off with Gunbroker Racing. He finished in the top 20 in six of those races, including a ninth-place finish at Gateway.

A year later, he competed in all 25 races in the Truck Series, finishing in the top 10 at Kentucky and Dover and finishing 15th in the points. All this despite no major sponsorship.

In 2013, while still running a full schedule in trucks, Sieg made his XFINITY debut, substituting for the suspended Jeremy Clements. A year later, he began to focus on NASCAR’s second-tier division, scoring two top 10 finishes at Daytona: a ninth and a third. 

In 2015, he finished eleventh in the points, the highest ranked driver not affiliated with a Cup team. Consistently running in the top 20, Sieg’s best result was an eighth-place result at Kansas.

In 2016, he made the XFINITY Series Chase. Eliminated in the Round of 12, he finished ninth in the point standings.

Brennan Poole

Brennan Poole almost won the XFINITY race at Talladega in 2016.  As Joey Logano wrecked behind him, Poole crossed the finish line first but was told Elliott Sadler had been leading when the caution flag flew. Despite the disappointing outcome, the race helped put Poole on the map.

Poole, a 2002 National Champion in quarter-midgets and 2011 UARA Late Model Champion, made a major splash with a win in his ARCA debut in 2011 at Salem Speedway.  He ran a full schedule in 2012 for Venturini with two wins and a third-place finish in points. After running two years on a part-time schedule, Poole left ARCA for NASCAR, having secured six wins in 35 career starts.

Moving to NASCAR’s XFINITY Series in 2015, Poole shared driving duties on HScott Motorsports No. 42 with Ganassi Racing’s Larson. Including a ninth-place finish in his debut at Las Vegas, Poole scored two top 10s and ten top 15s in 17 starts.

His results were good enough to score a full-time ride with Ganassi in 2016.  To date, the win has eluded him, but he has scored 19 top 10s.

Chase Briscoe

Chase Briscoe is following up his 2016 ARCA Championship with a ride in Brad Keselowski Racing No. 29 Ford in the Camping World Truck Series.

Briscoe competed in quarter-midgets and 410 sprint cars growing up and competed in the K&N Pro Series West in 2013. After contacting his friend Christopher Bell in 2015 about a contract with Roush Fenway Racing, Briscoe completed some ARCA tests for Cunningham Motorsports at Mobile International Speedway and Fairgrounds Speedway in Tennessee.

Briscoe ran a pair of ARCA races later that year, finishing tenth at Lucas Oil Raceway at Indianapolis and fifth at Salem Speedway. In 2016, he all but dominated the ARCA series with six wins including four consecutive, en route to winning the championship.

In his Truck Series debut, Briscoe finished third at Daytona.

These are just five drivers out of the many competing in the XFINITY and Truck Series. Aglance at the other development to series, you could say the future is bright for NASCAR, but there may be even more youngsters to come. 

 

EMAIL: john.milner@popularspeed.com

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

XFINITY Rookies Have Rough Debuts as Full-Timers at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — It was a tough day to be a rookie in the NASCAR XFINITY Series on Saturday.

Cole Custer, Spencer Gallagher, William Byron, Matt Tifft, and Daniel Hemric all made a name for themselves in the 2016 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series campaign, but all five had a dismal debut as full-time XFINITY drivers.

Custer and Gallagher’s days ended early in the first big wreck on Lap 23. Six laps later, another “big one” occurred and among the drivers swallowed in the melee was Hemric and Tifft.

Byron had the best finish of all the Rookie-of-the-Year contenders by salvaging a ninth-place result, but his race was far from clean as well.

In the final stage of the event, his JR Motorsports No. 9 experienced a battery issue, forcing him to pit, putting him a lap down. He got back on the lead lap after a debris caution late in the race but was then involved in another accident with Ray Black Jr.

Aside from the aggressive racing, the ROTY racers commented on the difference of XFINITY cars from the trucks.

“They’re better-handling than the trucks because they don’t move around as much in the air,” Custer told POPULAR SPEED. “It was fun to drive, but we were in the wrong place at the wrong time.”

Gallagher said he understood “where Cole is coming from” about the car’s driveability, but he had a different opinion after the race.

“I actually found these cars to be more wobbly,” the GMS Racing driver said. “The trucks punch such a big hole in the air that I think they move more. That doesn’t necessarily mean they are out of control, although it does feel pretty unnerving as a driver.

“With trucks, you can get a lot more adventurous about pushing because you can push harder.”

Byron, although involved in multiple accidents throughout the day, said post race:

“We just got into so many things tonight. [The cars] are pretty stable, they just go faster overall. I went through a lot of grass, but it handles a little better, so it was just more aggressiveness.”

The competition for ROTY honors will be tense this year. Having five talented rookies in competitive racecars will be an intriguing storyline throughout the season.

“It’s kind of like when you go from third grade to fourth grade, and everything is new, but you still have your buddies to come up with you,” Gallagher said. “It’s going to be stiff competition all throughout the year.”

The XFINITY rookies finished as follows:

P9: Byron

P11: Tifft

P31: Hemric

P36: Gallagher

P37: Custer

EMAIL JOHN AT john.haverlin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or staff. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
News

Gallagher, Elliott Kick off GMS’ “All-Star” Truck Team

In addition to their three full-time trucks, GMS Racing is set to field a fourth truck throughout the season. Dubbed the “All-Star Team”, the No. 23 Chevrolet Silverado will see different drivers behind the wheel throughout the season, including the first two races.

Spencer Gallagher will drive the No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet next Friday night at Daytona International Speedway, prior to kicking off his first full season of XFINITY Series competition. In three career starts at the superspeedway, Gallagher has scored a best finish of eighth. This past season, Gallagher ran the full Truck Series schedule and finished 12th in points with eight top-10s, highlighted by a runner-up at Talladega Superspeedway.

The team will also enter the second race of the truck series season, with 2016 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year Chase Elliott behind the wheel at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The Dawsonville, Georgia native has scored a win and eight top-10 finishes in 11 career starts to date, but notably this will mark his first truck race at his home track. Currently racing in the Cup Series for Hendrick Motorsports, Elliott qualified for the Chase in his rookie season, scoring 17 top-10s to finish 10th in points.

The pair of drivers will work with Jeff Stankiewicz, who led Kyle Larson and Grant Enfinger to victories last season as the crew chief for the No. 24 GMS entry. In 108 events atop the box, he has scored a pair of wins, 15 top-fives and 40 top-10s.

GMS Racing stated the rest of the drivers will be “announced at a later date”.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.