Spencer Gallagher

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GMS Racing names Chad Norris as Spencer Gallagher’s crew chief in Xfinity Series

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Chad Norris has been named crew chief of Spencer Gallagher‘s No. 23 Chevrolet in the Xfinity Series next year, GMS Racing announced Thursday.

Norris, who has spent the last two seasons as crew chief for Brennan Poole at Chip Ganassi Racing, replaces Joey Cohen.

In Gallagher’s rookie season, the 28-year-old driver recorded one top 10 (Richmond I), eight DNFs and finished 19th in the standings.

Norris and Poole earned four top fives and 17 tops 10s in each of their two seasons together. The No. 48 team advanced to the second round of the playoffs this season and finished sixth in the standings.

“Chad will bring a lot of good and solid knowledge to this Xfinity program,” said General Manager Mike Beam in a press release. “Spencer showed a lot of improvement last season, and I feel like Chad can take him to the next level. With Chad’s veteran knowledge and experience, I know Spencer and this No. 23 team will succeed and excel.”

Norris has been a crew chief for 215 Xfinity races since 2005, working with drivers including Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray, Trevor Bayne, Travis Pastrana and Darrell Wallace Jr. He’s earned three wins. The most recent was with Bayne in the fall 2011 Texas race.

“I am really excited to join GMS Racing for the 2018 season,” Norris said in the press release. “We have all of the assets to build this Xfinity team into a top-tier competitor every weekend at the track. With Mike Beam and myself there is a lot of veteran knowledge to continue to not only help Spencer to grow as a driver but the Xfinity program as a whole.”

Alex Bowman triumphs at Charlotte for first career Xfinity victory

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CONCORD, North Carolina — Alex Bowman, making his first Xfintiy Series start of the season, took the lead with 32 laps left and won Saturday night’s rain-delayed race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

While Bowman, who will take over Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s No. 88 Cup ride next season, celebrated his first career Xfinity win, four the 12 playoff contenders were eliminated from title contention.

Ryan Reed held on for the eighth and final transfer spot to the next round, beating Brendan Gaughan by one point. 

Advancing to the next round of the playoffs are Justin Allgaier, William Byron, Elliott Sadler, Cole Custer, Daniel Hemric, Brennan Poole, Matt Tifft and Reed.

Eliminated from title contention were Brendan Gaughan, Jeremy Clements, Blake Koch and Michael Annett.

MORE: Race results

More: Points report

Sam Hornish Jr. finished second. Ryan Blaney, who won the May race at this track, placed third.

Rain delayed the start of the race more than five hours.

That didn’t matter to Bowman, who scored his first series win in 51 starts.

To get my first win here in my second home at Charlotte means so much,’’ Bowman told NBCSN.

Stage 1 Winner: Erik Jones

Stage 2 Winner: Daniel Suarez

Who else had a good race: Sam Hornish Jr. started 31st in just his fifth start of the season. He was up to second at the beginning of the final stage and ran in the top five most of the rest of the night, finishing second. … Brennan Poole placed fifth, ranking as the highest-finishing playoff driver. It marked his third consecutive top-five finish.

Who had a bad race: Blake Koch battled power steering issues, losing a lap before the opening stage ended. He fell a second lap down and never recovered, finishing 25th.  … Angela Ruch brought out the first two cautions for incidents and finished 36th. … Justin Allgaier hit a battery from Ruch’s car after her crash and that caused cooling issues. His engine later expired and he finished 33rd. … Spencer Gallagher had a tire go down and it caused too much damage to repair. He finished 34th. … A slow pit stop and then a penalty for an uncontrolled tire in the final 40 laps cost Daniel Suarez a chance for the win. He finished eighth.

Notable: The cars of Matt Tifft and Blake Koch failed inspection after the race. Both cars were too low. The infraction is likely an L1 penalty. A similar infraction earlier this year in the series was a 10-point penalty. Tifft advances to the next round by 16 points, so a 10-p0int penalty wouldn’t alter the eight playoff contenders if that’s the penalty. 

Quote of the night: “That’s what you do in playoffs, that’s what the best playoff teams do in any sport no matter who much you’re down, no matter how much you need, you just find a way,’’ Ryan Reed on advancing by one point to the next round of the playoffs.

What’s next: The series is off until Oct. 21 at Kansas Speedway.

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NASCAR drivers from Las Vegas raise funds for shooting victims

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Several NASCAR drivers and media personalities who are either natives of or live in Las Vegas are getting behind a new effort to raise money to help the victims and families of those killed and injured in last Sunday’s mass shooting.

DriversForVegas.com is partnering with Las Vegas-based Zappos to raise money via a crowdsource effort on Crowdrise.com. As of 1 pm ET on Friday, the effort has raised nearly $200,000 in its first three days.

In addition, Zappos has announced it will match 100 percent of the donations made up to $1 million.

Among marquee names behind the effort are NASCAR drivers Kurt and Kyle Busch, Brendan Gaughan, Spencer Gallagher, Noah Gragson and Jamie Little of Fox Sports.

They have also joined together to form DriversForVegas.com, where individuals can buy t-shirts, stickers or simply make a donation (the website is expected to be live early next week).

Here’s what some of those involved are saying:

Spencer Gallagher: “We are asking the NASCAR family to come together and help the great city of Las Vegas by visiting DriversForVegas.com to purchase a shirt or sticker, or simply make a donation. Las Vegas has always been there for and supported us, and this is a great opportunity for us to give back and be there for them.”

Kurt Busch: “It was horrific what happened in our hometown and we all send our thoughts and prayers to everyone affected by the tragedy in Las Vegas. It really hit home to all of us and as Nevada natives, we hope everyone supports our efforts.”

Kyle Busch: “Like most Americans, I was devastated to hear about Sunday’s tragic events in my hometown. As a group of racers from Las Vegas, we wanted to find a way for ourselves, along with our race fans, to help the victims and families of this unthinkable act.”

Brendan Gaughan will carry this message on the hood of his No. 62 Chevrolet Camaro this weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Brendan Gaughan: “With so many NASCAR drivers from Las Vegas, I feel like it’s the least we can do to ask our racing community to band together in helping those who have bee affected by this tragedy. Thank you to all those who have already helped. I have never been more proud to say that I am #VegasStrong.”

Noah Gragson: “When Spencer (Gallagher) called me with this idea, I was all in to help do anything to try to heal our community.”

Jamie Little: “This is a great initiative that Spencer has started. Our Las Vegas NASCAR contingent is small but we’re mighty. All of us, along with your help, will give to the families and victims involved and help lift some of the burden they have endured.”

On another front, Gaughan will have a special paint scheme (above) honoring the Las Vegas victims in this weekend’s racing action at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Gaughan’s No. 62 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet will carry a hood that will feature “#VegasStrong” on it.

 

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Erik Jones tops final Xfinity practice in Chicago

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Erik Jones was fastest in the final practice session for the Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jones and his No. 20 Toyota posted a top speed of 173.310 mph during his 28 laps around the 1.5-mile track.

Jones was followed by Spencer Gallagher (172.381), Daniel Suarez (172.320), Cole Custer (172.276) and Ryan Blaney (172.249).

Brennan Poole, ninth fastest, recorded the most laps in the session with 41.

Darrell Wallace Jr. was 20th fastest, just as he was in the first session.

The session was stopped once for Matt Mills getting into the wall in Turn 1.

Click here for the full practice report.

Six Xfinity teams will lose practice time Friday at Chicagoland Speedway

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JOLIET, Illinois – Seven Xfinity teams will be docked 15 minutes of practice Friday at Chicagoland Speedway for inspection issues last weekend at Richmond Raceway.

The teams of Ross Chastain, JJ Yeley, Spencer Gallagher and Josh Bilicki will miss 15 minutes because they were late for inspection at Richmond.

The teams of Erik Jones and Mike Harmon will miss 15 minutes because they failed template inspection twice before qualifying at Richmond.

Xfinity teams practice Friday from 2-2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN and 4 – 4:50 p.m. ET on the NBC Sports app and online.