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NASCAR docks seven Cup cars practice time at Las Vegas

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LAS VEGAS – Martin Truex Jr. and Daniel Suarez will be penalized 30 minutes each in the first practice Friday at Las Vegas Motor Speedway for inspection issues last weekend at Indianapolis. They are among seven Cup cars that will be penalized.

Truex and Suarez are being docked practice time for failing pre-race inspection three or more times at Indy.

The cars of Austin Dillon and Reed Sorenson will miss 15 minutes each in the first practice for failing pre-race inspection. Dillon’s team failed it at Darlington and Sorenson’s team at Bristol.

Also missing 15 minutes of the first practice is Kyle Larson (late to inspection), B.J. McLeod (late to inspection) and Ross Chastain (missing the rookie meeting).

Opening Cup practice is from 2:05 – 2:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

In the Xfinity Series, two cars will be docked 30 minutes of practice in the first session and 10 cars will be docked 15 minutes each of the opening practice.

Penalized 30 minutes will be the teams of Brandon Jones and Spencer Gallagher for failing pre-race inspection three or more times.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice will be the teams of Matt Tifft, Justin Allgaier, Max Tullman, Joey Gase and David Starr for being late to inspection.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice for failing inspection twice are the teams of Ryan Truex, Ryan Preece, Austin Cindric and Ross Chastain.

Missing 15 minutes of Xfinity practice for inspection interference after a race is the team of Cole Custer.

Xfinity practice is from 3:05 – 3:55 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Chase Elliott returns to GMS Xfinity car at Darlington, Indianapolis

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GMS Racing announced that Spencer Gallagher‘s injury will sideline him from the next two races in the Xfinity Series. The team will put Chase Elliott in the No. 23 Chevrolet at Darlington Raceway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

The team announced last week that Gallagher reinjured his shoulder during a workout, replacing him in the Camping World Truck Series race Sunday with Timothy Peters.

After winning the April 28 race at Talladega Superspeedway, Gallagher missed seven races after being suspended for a violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. He since has started two Xfinity races, finishing 20th at Kentucky Speedway and eighth at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Elliott has made five starts in GMS’ No. 23 this season, most recently finishing eighth at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“Due to Spencer Gallagher’s shoulder injury, Chase Elliott will return to the No. 23 Chevrolet beginning this weekend at Darlington Raceway as well (as) next week at Indianapolis Motor Speedway,” GMS Racing president Mike Beam said in a statement released Tuesday. “As Gallagher continues to work with his doctor back home in Vegas, we do not have an exact time frame of when he will return to the seat.”

Timothy Peters to drive for Spencer Gallagher this weekend

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GMS Racing announced Friday morning that Timothy Peters will replace Spencer Gallagher for this weekend’s Camping World Truck Series race at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park after Gallagher re-injured his shoulder Thursday.

Peters, a 10-time winner in the Truck Series, has competed in one race this season. He placed seventh at Martinsville. Peters was a full-time driver in the series from 2009-16, finishing as high as second in the points in 2012.

“From a preexisting shoulder injury, Spencer Gallagher will not be in the seat of the No. 25 this weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park after re-injuring his shoulder during a Thursday workout session,” GMS Racing President Mike Beam said in a statement. “Going to such a technical course, a driver requires full mobility. Gallagher will return to Las Vegas to work with his personal physical therapist. Timothy Peters will climb behind the wheel this weekend in Canada with further information regarding the No. 25 Chevrolet being released at a later date.”

Said Peters: “I really appreciate Mike and everyone at GMS Racing giving me a call to fill-in for Spencer. I do hate the circumstances that he is not able to get behind the wheel this weekend, but I do appreciate the call. It’s nice to know that there are people out there that believe in my abilities and I have a shot to come over and drive top-of-the-line equipment this weekend for GMS.”

 

Dalton Sargeant out at GMS Racing, Spencer Gallagher to fill-in ‘until the issue is resolved’

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Citing an “unfortunate circumstance” with Sargeant Motorsports, GMS Racing President Mike Beam announced Wednesday that Dalton Sargeant would not drive the team’s No. 25 Chevrolet for the rest of the season and that Spencer Gallagher will take his place “until the issue is resolved.”

Gallagher will take over the No. 25 beginning Sunday at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park.

“Due to a(n) unfortunate circumstance with Sargeant Motorsports, Dalton Sargeant will no longer compete with GMS Racing full-time in the Truck Series for the remainder of the 2018 season. Until the issue is resolved, Spencer (Gallagher) will serve as the fill-in driver of the No. 25 Chevrolet entry beginning this weekend in Canada. We hope a solution can be agreed upon and to see Dalton back racing GMS equipment in the near future.”

The move comes with seven races left in the season and the series beginning its playoff this weekend. Sargeant is not one of the eight playoff drivers.

Sargeant, 20, is in his first full-time season in the Truck Series. He ended the regular season 10th in the standings after earning one top five and four top 10s.

Sargeant released the following statement on Twitter, but did not add any details regarding the “unfortunate circumstance.”

Sunday’s race will be Gallagher’s first Truck start since the 2017 season opener at Daytona.

This is the second significant driver shakeup for GMS Racing this season. The first involved Gallagher in the Xfinity Series when he was placed on indefinite suspension on May 2 for violating NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. 

Gallagher was reinstated on July 4 after completing the Road to Recovery program. Gallagher has only made two Xfinity starts since the reinstatement.

His No. 23 Chevrolet has been driven by Johnny Sauter, Alex Bowman, Chase Elliott, Justin Haley, A.J. Allmendinger and Casey Roderick. Hall of Famer Bill Elliott will pilot it Saturday at Road America (3 p.m. ET on NBCSN).

Spencer Gallagher reflects on return to racing after ‘long, hard ordeal’ of suspension

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CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Spencer Gallagher was all smiles Tuesday at the NASCAR Hall of Fame.

The 28-year-old was unveiling his throwback paint scheme for the Sept. 1 Xfinity race at Darlington Raceway, a tribute to Davey Allison’s 1985 ARCA car, or as Gallagher calls it, “The Beautiful One.”

He did so as GMS Racing also revealed Bill Elliott’s car for next weekend’s race at Road America.

After the unveilings, Gallagher playfully approached a group of kids in attendance with a sharpie in hand. Pictures and autographs ensued.

On Aug. 14, 2018, life was good for Gallagher. He had something to smile about.

That wasn’t the case on May 2.

Three days after he earned his first career NASCAR win in the Xfinity race at Talladega, Gallagher received a phone call.

He was told he had failed a drug test and violated NASCAR’s substance abuse policy. He was given an indefinite suspension.

“I’m pretty sure they had to get an excavator because my heart dropping through the building left a crater,” Gallagher told reporters Tuesday.

Three months later, and more than one month after his reinstatement upon completion of NASCAR’s Road to recovery program, Gallagher won’t say what he tested positive for and when he took his drug test.

But he did talk about what he learned from the experience, which saw drivers Johnny Sauter, Chase Elliott, Alex Bowman, Justin Haley, Casey Roderick, AJ Allmendinger and now Hall of Famer Bill Elliott take his place in the No. 23 Chevrolet.

“I like to think I’ve grown up a lot in that time. Not that I didn’t before,” Gallagher said. “I spent time at GMS like it was my life because it is my life. I’m here and dedicated to making this race team everything I possibly can. With guys like (President) Mike Beam on it, I’m very confident in what we’re going to be able to accomplish.”

Gallagher, the son of team owner Maury Gallagher, has made two Xfinity starts since his reinstatement, on July 13 at Kentucky and last weekend at Mid-Ohio, where he finished eighth.

Gallagher views his wading back into competition as a benefit to how he views his race team.

“You always enjoy being in the seat week in, week out,” Gallagher said. “But it’s been really nice getting back into the garage, being with the team. I just get to sit on the box and play owner for a couple of races, I look at it, observe from the outside what’s going on, where we need to improve, where we can improve and how well we’re doing. That’s a role you don’t often get to take on as a driver.

“You have such blinders on trying to get the car to go faster and faster, you don’t get the time to stop and look around and see what’s happening … I relish the opportunity for that and look forward to being back in the seat full-time. But I’m definitely taking advantage of the times that I can when we got another talent behind the seat.”

That talent includes the Cup Series’ latest first-time winner and 2014 Xfinity champion Chase Elliott and a road course expert in Allmendinger.

Elliott will be back in the car this weekend at Bristol Motor Speedway.

“I get a couple of amazing drivers to have as sounding boards,” Gallagher said. “You can’t help but learn, you can’t help but develop and grow and get better as a driver. That’s something honestly that I really like seeing, is getting that Cup level talent because it’s good for you as a driver. You get to learn how to improve yourself and your race craft, but it’s also great for the team. They get an outside pair of eyes that knows exactly what they’re doing that does this at the highest level you can and they get to evaluate yourself and tell you what they think is going on. I’m not a selfish guy, I’ve always been one for second opinions. Anytime we were out testing I always welcomed people to jump in my car and tell me what they think. The first thing I know is I know nothing. I always welcome another pair of eyes.”

Gallagher called his return to competition at Kentucky “the end of a long, hard ordeal.”

“Getting back out there and dropping it in fourth (gear) and holding it wide open, that felt really good,” said Gallagher, who started 15th and finished 20th. “That’s kind of one of those things that (shows) your life is back together and back on-track.”

Gallagher has received one other chance at significant track time since his reinstatement.

He made his Cup debut in the Aug. 5 race at Watkins Glen, driving the No. 23 owned by BK Racing, a team whose assets GMS Racing’s Beam is trying to bid on.

Gallagher qualified 34th and finished 35th, 17 laps down after mechanical problems, a result of running through grass.

“Teething issues, that happens,” Gallagher said. “As it turns out, engines don’t like it when you have to run them at 310 degrees because they’re full of grass.”

Would he be ready to go run full-time in Cup should GMS Racing’s Beam be successful in its pursuit of BK Racing’s assets?

“Something I’ve learned through my progression in this business is I’ve effectively been thrown in the deep end of every series that I’ve ever participated in just because I started out late in this game,” said Gallagher, who made his first laps on an oval at 19. “My entire career has been one long chain of ‘Sink or swim, kid.’ I haven’t sunk yet.

“I know it’s going to be a challenge if that’s what it comes to. We’re not just jumping in the deep end of the Cup Series, you’re jumping in the ocean. Let us remind ourselves these are some of the best drivers on planet earth, period. And that’s what you have to run against every Sunday. If I get the call, I’ve kind of inoculated myself against that fear of the unknown.”

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