No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Spencer Gallagher, driver of the No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Camaro, overcame his biggest challenge of the season Saturday afternoon in TheHouse.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway. Gallagher was forced to start from the back of the field for the final race of the regular season after brushing the wall in practice, forcing the team to make repairs before the 200-lap race.
Gallagher, who finished second in Friday’s final practice session, gained five spots after taking the initial green flag and continued to advance his position to sit 23rd on lap 10. As the end of stage one approached, he reported that he was dealing with a loose-on-entry condition as he battled for position within the top 20. When the green and white checkered flag waved on lap 45, Gallagher was scored one lap down in the 19th position.
He visited pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment, returning to the track in the same position, as the first car one lap down. The second stage stayed green for all 45 laps and Gallagher maintained his position ahead of the other lapped vehicles to become the lucky dog and rejoin the lead lap for the final stage. Though his Allegiant Chevrolet had become too tight, Gallagher had enough speed to pass lead lap cars, so during the break the team only made a minor air pressure adjustment as they pitted for four tires and fuel.
Starting 18th for the final 110-lap stage, Gallagher patiently waited for the opportunity to gain ground, entering the top 15 on lap 137. As the leaders began green flag pit stops, the No. 23 team provided Gallagher with four tires and fuel, with the driver asking for no adjustments for his 14th-place Camaro.
With the checkered flag approaching, the field was brought to under yellow for two quick cautions and Gallagher took advantage of the restarts to work his way into the ninth position. On the last restart with 15 laps to go, Gallagher began to fall back outside of the top 10, telling the team he got way too tight over the final 10 laps.
The No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet crossed the finish line in the 14th position in Gallagher’s Chicagoland Speedway NXS debut, after starting from the back of the 40-car field.
“This was a really great day for our GMS Racing team. I hated that I put everyone in the position of having to repair our Allegiant Camaro after qualifying but Joey (Cohen, crew chief) and the boys gave me a great car and we were able to pick up spots with no problem. I really wish we could have finished with a top 10, but it was just a little too tight at the end. Overall, I think this was one of our best races of the season. We overcame a lot today as a team and had a really fast Allegiant Chevy, so I’m excited to see what we accomplish over these last seven races.”
– Gallagher is in the 19th position in driver points.