Photo: Chris Owens/ASP, Inc.

Sauter Replaces Suspended Gallagher at the Monster Mile

By Luis Torres, Staff Writer

It has been a monstrous week for GMS Racing’s Xfinity Series program. The single-car operation went from climbing on top of the world after Spencer Gallagher captured his maiden win at Talladega Superspeedway last Saturday, to rock bottom Wednesday when NASCAR indefinitely suspended Gallagher for violating the sport’s Substance Abuse Policy.

While a playoff berth has been snatched away, the team will soldier on at Dover International Speedway with their Camping World Truck Series driver and points leader Johnny Sauter strapping in the No. 23 Allegiant Airlines Chevrolet.

It’ll be Sauter’s first Xfinity Series start since July 2014 at Daytona, and his first at Dover in a decade.

GMS Racing released a statement regarding Sauter filling in at Dover Thursday: “Due to the recent incident, Johnny Sauter will fulfill the GMS Racing NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) No. 23 entry at Dover International Raceway. We will release more information at a later date.”

Gallagher will participate in the Road to Recovery program and issued an apology for his actions.

“I recently have had a positive result in a NASCAR drug screen which has violated NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. I want to assure everyone in the NASCAR community this one time error in judgement will never happen again,” said Gallagher. “I am taking the steps to enroll in the Road to Recovery program supported by NASCAR. I would like to say that 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 know, I will do whatever it takes to make this right.”

In 205 Xfinity Series starts, Sauter has three career wins, with two at Richard Childress Racing and one at Phoenix Racing.

Since 2009, Sauter has run full-time in Trucks, scoring 18 wins and captured the racing family’s first ever NASCAR title in 2016.

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From the Pacific Northwest, Luis is a University of Idaho graduate with a Bachelor's degree in Broadcasting and Digital Media. Ever since watching the 2003 Daytona 500, being involved in auto racing is all he's ever dreamed of doing. Over the years, Luis has focused on writing, video and photography ranging from Idaho athletics to auto racing with ambitions of having his work recognized.