NASCAR announced Wednesday that it has suspended Talladega Xfinity winner Spencer Gallagher indefinitely for violating the sanctioning body’s substance abuse policy. The penalty will cost him a spot in the playoffs.
NASCAR stated that “on May 1, Gallagher was found to have violated Section 19 (NASCAR’s substance abuse policy) of the 2018 NASCAR rule book.”
NASCAR stated that Gallagher has agreed to participate in the Road to Recovery Program.
“I recently have had a positive result in a NASCAR drug screen which has violated NASCAR’s substance abuse policy,” Gallagher, 28, said in a statement from GMS Racing. “I want to assure everyone in the NASCAR community this one time error in judgement will never happen again. I am taking the steps to enroll in the Road to Recovery program supported by NASCAR. I would like to say that I am sorry to all of the GMS organization for my actions, especially my team and team owner, who have worked so hard this year and have put faith in me. I also want to apologize to NASCAR, Chevrolet and my fans for letting them down. I have not upheld the behavior that is expected of me. I promise you all here and know, I will do whatever it takes to make this right.”
GMS Racing stated Wednesday that a substitute driver for the No. 23 car will be announced at a later date.
Mike Beam, president of GMS Racing, also issued a statement Wednesday: “GMS Racing was notified that driver Spencer Gallagher gave a positive result from a NASCAR drug screen. GMS fully supports NASCAR’s policy on substance abuse and we do not condone this type of behavior. First and foremost, our entire organization wants to apologize to NASCAR, our sponsors, teammates and fans due to this policy violation. Spencer has agreed to participate in NASCAR’s Road to Recovery program. A substitute driver will be announced at a later date.”
Gallagher scored his first career Xfinity victory this past weekend at Talladega, taking the lead on the last lap. That would have put him in position to make the playoffs but this suspension will cost him that opportunity. No timetable has been set for his return, but he is expected to miss multiple races. The series is at Dover this weekend and doesn’t compete again until May 26 at Charlotte.
NASCAR will not grant a waiver for Gallagher for the missed races.
Section 126.96.36.199.a of the Xfinity Rule Book states the requirements to be eligible for the playoffs: “Unless otherwise authorized by NASCAR, driver(s) and Team Owner(s) must start all championship Events of the current season to be eligible for the Playoffs. If a starting position was not earned, then the driver(s) and Team Owner(s) must have attempted to Qualify for the Race.”
Also, Gallagher qualified for the Dash 4 Cash $100,000 bonus this weekend at Dover based off his Talladega performance. He will be replaced by Ryan Sieg, who finished sixth. Noah Gragson, who finished fourth, is not eligible for the bonus, allowing Sieg to get the spot.