By Luis Torres, Staff Writer
Spencer Gallagher’s NASCAR driving career will come to an end at the end of 2018 season, with a plan to shift into a managerial role in family-owned GMS Racing.
In a Friday news conference at Kansas Speedway, the Xfinity Series winner from Talladega announced that after competing in NASCAR’s national series since 2013, it was time to allow other drivers to shine at GMS, specifically its No. 23 Chevrolet Camaro that will make them championship contenders.
“As of right now, we are absolutely intent of continuing our Xfinity effort,” Gallagher said. “We aim to win a championship with the quality stuff we are able to build and the talented people that surround us at GMS.”
The announcement meant Gallagher becomes the latest driver to call it a day in the sport after this season, joining the likes of Wendell Chavous, Justin Fontaine, Kasey Kahne, and Elliott Sadler.
Since GMS Racing joined NASCAR in 2013, the team has become one of the top-tier teams in the Camping World Truck Series, winning the 2016 championship with Johnny Sauter, who has also won 12 races for the organization. Other notable drivers to have won at GMS include Austin Dillon, Grant Enfinger, Justin Haley, and Kyle Larson.
Gallagher said he’s been proud of seeing the team grow from revolving around him to a team where other drivers can thrive, as seen with Enfinger, who won an ARCA championship for them in 2015 and is now fighting against Haley and Sauter for the Truck Series championship.
“It has been an incredible journey getting to watch this team grow and flourish, and become something incredible from very humble beginnings, and I can’t wait to be there personally,” Gallagher said. “This is not me stepping back from NASCAR. If anything, this is me diving in further, but has been a big decision. It’s been something that I’ve been thinking for a long time.
“GMS started out surrounded around Spencer Gallagher, but since then it has grown into so much more and something so much bigger. I think its time to take the next step and see what this team can do.”
As for Gallagher himself, his whirlwind career consisted of two full-seasons in Trucks, highlighted with three top-fives and 15 top-10s in 55 starts before becoming full-time in Xfinity last season. From there, he’s competed in 55 races with a win at Talladega this season and 10 top-10s to his name with only four races to go.
However, while he’s had some success, Gallagher’s driving career has been overshadowed with two incidents.
The first coming in June 2016 when a two-truck crash at Gateway Motorsports Park led to a bush league wrestling match as he and John Wes Townley got into it in Turn 1 before NASCAR officials separated the fight.
Fast forward to May 2018, when days after scoring his biggest win of his life, NASCAR suspended him indefinitely for violating the substance abuse policy, leading to a plethora of drivers racing including Sauter, and both Bill and Chase Elliott.
Gallagher was later reinstated and has only ran six NXS races since Kentucky in July, alongside his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series debut at Watkins Glen and a return in Trucks at Talladega last Saturday.
The 28-year-old from Las Vegas said in order for GMS to make their next step successful, stepping away from the driver’s seat will serve a better interest to the team.
“My greatest utility to GMS lies elsewhere than the driver’s seat,” Gallagher said. “I think there’s a lot of really talented guys out there, and I think we have an incredible team. I want to see this team grow and flourish, and I think there’s so much opportunity inside this industry, inside sport we love, and I’m eager to chase it.
“We’re still going to be continuing our efforts forward. We aim to continue the pattern and saga of success that we’ve been able to see since we got into our Truck Series and beyond.”