By Toby Christie, Editor — Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie
FORT WORTH, Texas — What a difference a year makes. Spencer Gallagher and GMS Racing have gone from a mid-pack NASCAR Xfinity Series operation, to a top-flight contender on the verge of battling for wins. Gallagher secured his third top-10 finish in six starts in Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 at Texas Motor Speedway.
However, it wasn’t smooth sailing for Gallagher, 28.
The Las Vegas product worked his way from the 14th starting position to a solid top-10 running position. But then, while battling with Ryan Reed in Stage 2 on lap 71, Gallagher went for a spin down the front stretch at TMS. Somehow, Gallagher skillfully missed slamming into the outside retaining wall, and he tightened the belts back up to attempt another run toward the front.
Gallagher would climb back through the ranks methodically, and when the checkered flag was displayed the No. 23 Camaro had worked itself into 10th place. After climbing from his car, Gallagher was approached by Austin Cindric who showed displeasure with a move that Gallagher made at the end of the race.
When asked about the conversation with Cindric, and his own comments about Reed on his radio after their lap 71 incident, Gallagher refused to stir the pot.
“That’s racing,” Gallagher said, “I’m going to keep those opinions to myself and we will see how that goes into the next couple of weeks.”
Gallagher was too happy with his race team to be upset with run-ins with other drivers, and he credited the GMS Racing organization for giving him what he needs to succeed on the race track.
“You know that just speaks to the speed of this Allegiant Travel Chevy. These GMS guys have done a fantastic job bringing this thing to the track, getting it ready, making sure we have great speed in practice,” Gallagher explained, “Had to come from the back a couple of times today, but when you have good speed like this, that makes life a lot easier. This is a tough place to pass, tough place to get around people, but by god we kept in it all day and came home tenth. That’s a great finish for our boys.”
GMS Racing, which has been a mainstay and championship caliber team in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series for years, opted to open a NASCAR Xfinity Series team last year with Gallagher as the full-time driver. Things didn’t go so well.
Through 33 races, Gallagher had only recorded one top-10 finish in the 2017 campaign. A year later, they’ve tripled that total after just six events. Unselfishly, Gallagher credits the folks at the shop, and his new crew chief that was acquired in the offseason.
“You know, I put that down to talent and experience. It’s the talent of the people who are here at GMS. They’re some of the best bunch in the garage, I love each and every one of them, they bust their butts. And it’s the experience of being together as a team for two years now,” Gallagher stated emphatically, “Getting to work with Chad Norris our crew chief has been a tremendous boost this year. I think he has been hugely beneficial to how the cars are performing and I’ve been trying to step up my game as well and make sure I’m giving these guys everything I can on the track and it’s showing up for us.”
Gallagher finished 19th in last season’s championship standings. Through six races, he now sits eighth in the 2018 standings. Gallagher will continue to try to build a resume worthy of most improved as the series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway next weekend.
Photo by Sarah Crabill/Getty Images