After a suburb ending to 2013 and a long offseason of preparation, Spencer Gallagher couldn’t wait to get back in the driver seat of his Allegiant Travel Chevrolet and on track at Daytona International Speedway. Year after year, the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards season starts with the biggest event of the 20-race schedule at the legendary 2.5-mile superspeedway, and the GMS Racing team was ready for the action to begin.
Gallagher started the 80-lap race from the rear of the field and decided to remain in the back to let his fellow competitors settle into a rhythm. The action in the pack started to heat up around lap 10, and three circuits later, a multi-car accident forced Gallagher to maneuver his way through the grass to dodge the carnage. Crew Chief Jeff Stankiewicz called his driver to pit road numerous times during the yellow flag period for damage repair, fuel, four fresh tires, and a track bar adjustment.
The field restarted on lap 24 with Gallagher scored in the 24th position. One short lap later, a car cut a tire directly in front of Gallagher and the No. 20 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet sustained left front damage. The 24-year-old returned to pit road for repairs, but the water temperature was quickly increasing under caution. With one lap to go before returning to green flag conditions, Gallagher pit for the crew to check the grill and ductwork. The suspicion was correct, as a piece of debris had fallen in front of the radiator, not allowing the engine to cool properly.
As the field saw the green flag, Gallagher was still making efforts to get to the pack, not allowing the Las Vegas, Nevada, native to be in the draft with the leaders. With no cautions during this period, Gallagher fell one lap down on lap 45.
The third and final caution slowed the pace on lap 66, and Gallagher returned to the attention of his GMS Racing pit crew for additional repairs to the left front, as the team made an aluminum patch to help the car’s handling. Gallagher restarted from 20th-place on lap 74 and as the checkered flag flew, the Allegiant Travel Chevrolet crossed the finish line in the same position.
“It was a rough afternoon,” said Gallagher after the race. “The No. 20 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet sucked up in the draft much better than I thought it would and I’m proud of the effort the GMS Racing team put into this weekend and today’s race. I thought if we could have made it through that wreck, we honestly could have been competing up front and in contention for a top-five finish.”
The next ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards event will be held at Mobile (Ala.) Speedway on Saturday, March 22nd.
GMS Racing PR