Racing at Talladega Superspeedway in the ARCA Racing Series, @23SpeedRacer crossed the line for the white flag while sitting in 14th spot. Being the racer that he is, that wasn’t a finishing position that he was willing to accept. For that reason, he decided to make a move to get to the front.
“I found a hole on the outside on the last lap and got assistance from Tyler Reddick and a couple others, and he pushed me up to third,” Gallagher recalled to POPULAR SPEED. “We about wrecked five or six times, but we made it. That really told me that we got something here to be competitive and do this.”
That success in the ARCA Series led to Gallagher moving up to the Camping World Truck Series. Flash forward to February and running up front with teammate @tydillon at Daytona showed the Las Vegas native he could be one of the front runners.
“That was a really big moment for me,” he commented. “It occurred me about the middle of the race while pushing my teammate to the lead at Daytona that this is probably one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done. Then I had to tell myself to shut up and get back to driving. That was cool in the moment.”
Unfortunately, the second half of the race at Daytona wouldn’t go as he hoped, though, as a wreck resulted in Gallagher crossing the finish line in 21st. He has since bounced back, though, posting a pair of top-15 finishes in the races that followed to put himself eighth in points.
“I think we’re having a pretty good darn season at GMS Racing,” he said. “We’ve had ourselves a pole at Daytona (with Dillon), ran really well there. Ty Dillon, my teammate, ran up front at Atlanta. Had some pretty good times at Martinsville – both myself and Brandon Jones were in the top-10. I really can’t complain about it. There’s always room for improvement to get that win, but I can’t really say that we’ve had a bad one starting out this year. I really like where we’re going with it.”
The success so far this year reflects back on the experience that Gallagher gained last season in running a partial schedule last season. The 26-year-old says last season allowed him to learn how different the trucks drive compared to the ARCA car.
“They’re so much more aerodynamically sensitive,” he explained. “Everything a truck does next to an ARCA car, a truck does five times more when it comes to the air.”
He added that the competition is also much tougher, recalling telling his crew chief Jeff Stankiewicz after Atlanta that it was the hardest that he had ever driven to finish 13th.
Though looking at GMS Racing as a whole, a big part of their growth in success this year has come from having the Dillon brothers – Ty and @austindillon3.
“Teaming with Ty and Austin has been a privilege, really,” Gallagher said. “You want to talk about two of the people that I would argue in the entire garage that the best truck drivers around are those two boys. Richard Childress did right, brought them up through the truck series, and they both had a good amount of experience in good equipment with it. If you want a baseline for a program, those are the guys that you talk to. They’ve been really helpful for us.”
Going into the rest of the season, Gallagher says that they need to keep doing what they’re doing in building the team around him and his teammate Brandon Jones to transform those top-15s into top-10s.
He will get his next shot a top-10 at Kansas Speedway at the beginning of May, which is a race that has him pretty ‘jazzed’.
“I think we’re going to be very competitive at Kansas,” he commented. “It’s a place that I know well personally and am super comfortable with. I know exactly what I need out of a racecar or truck to contend for a win there. I’m really expecting us to run up front.”
Kansas Speedway is a place that has treated Gallagher in the past, being the sight of his first career ARCA win – the moment that told him he could be a professional winning racecar driver.
“That was a huge deal for me,” he said. “That was my first win at the national series level and that really cemented the thought to go truck racing.”
EMAIL ASHLEY AT email@example.com
FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388