Gallagher steps out of seat of GMS Racing in Xfinity Series
By DAVE SKRETTA
KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) Spencer Gallagher is ready to be a professional nerd again.
The former Silicon Valley software engineer-turned-driver announced Friday that he is stepping out of the Xfinity Series car owned by his father, Allegiant Air chief executive Maurice Gallagher Jr., and into a supervisory role with their GMS Racing Team next season.
"This has been a big decision. It's something I've been thinking about a long, long time," Gallagher said Friday at Kansas Speedway. "GMS started out surrounded by Spencer Gallagher but it's so much more. It's time to take the next step and see what this team can do."
The team has fielded entries in the Truck Series and has had aspirations of competing in the Cup Series, but Gallagher said those endeavors and his Xfinity ride will be left to other drivers.
In fact, the team is already reaching out to candidates for next season, though Gallagher intends to start Saturday's race at Kansas and the remaining races on the schedule.
"It's kind of been a slow, ongoing burn. A couple months back I started sitting down and looking at all the cool technologies and opportunities that exist within this industry," the 28-year-old Gallagher said. "Before I did this I was a professional nerd, and a good one, and I think a lot of my skillsets translate well to other areas of the industry."
Asked what job that entailed with GMS Racing, Gallagher declined to put a title on it.
"My position at GMS is one of servant. My existence there is to being other success," he said with a smile. "You want to give me a title, feel free to invent one."
Invent one? Gallagher is supposed to be the one with the chops for invention.
"A professional nerd," he explained, "is responsible for any and all technical wizardry. It's not one skill set, like learning to weld. It's more like a fabricator. It's knowledge to get things done."
Gallagher will run his 56th race in the Xfinity Series this weekend as he wraps up what has been a memorable season on several fronts. He won for the first time at Talladega, one of his 10 career top-10 finishes in the Xfinity Series, and he made his Cup Series debut when he started in the No. 23 car for BK Racing on the road course at Watkins Glen.
Those highs came amid an embarrassing low: Gallagher was suspended by NASCAR in May for violating is substance-abuse policy, just three days after his victory in Alabama. He went through the Road to Recovery program and was reinstated in time to race at Kentucky.
Gallagher said the suspension had nothing to do with his decision to leave the driver's seat. His priority was to spend more time with his family and immerse himself in other parts of the motorsports industry, two things he couldn't do as a full-time driver.
"It's been an incredible journey watching this team grow and flourish and become something incredible from very humble beginnings," he said. "We're going to continue our efforts forward and continue our pattern and saga of success that we saw in the Truck Series and beyond."
Updated October 19, 2018