By Toby Christie (Follow on Twitter @Toby_Christie)
Back in November, I caught up with Spencer Gallagher for an extensive interview. During it, he was reflective of his career as a race car driver (Gallagher has retired from driving as of the end of the 2018 season). He also talked about the epic fight with John Wes Townley a few years ago and he weighed in on if GMS Racing would ever be open to running Bill Elliott in one of their cars again.
I hope you enjoy this fun one-on-one interview.
Toby Christie: You’re closing in on the end of your driving career. How do you feel about your journey behind the wheel?
Spencer Gallagher: It’s been nothing short of incredible. This journey I’ve had behind the wheel is kind of been followed in parralel by the journey that we’ve taken as a team at GMS. From starting with nothing and running ARCA and trying to figure our way around. Winning a championship in the truck series. Running well in the Xfinity Series and winning in every NASCAR Series that we get into. It’s really been the experience of a lifetime and I’m looking forward to continuing it.
TC: You’re moving on to a new role. Are you excited for your new position with the team?
SG: I’m thrilled. This will give me bigger and better opportunities to be out there developing GMS every single day. Bringing home great deals and great things to the guys who work there and build our amazing race cars.
TC: So what exactly will you be doing? Getting sponsorship for the team?
SG: My official title is whatever Mike Beam needs help with. That kind of encompasses a lot of things. It’;s talking to drivers, coaching them on the weekends, going out and trying to find sponsors, speaking to corporate partners. Trying to find ways that we can leverage our expertise and talents as a race team to go forward and better ourselves.
TC: Talk to us about the history of your family team.
SG: We got into this really competitively in ARCA back in 2012 I want to say. We spent a couple of seasons there, then we got hooked together with Mr. Joey Coulter. Started running some truck stuff. He brought in a lot of insight and knowledge.
At the end of 2014, we hired Mike Beam on. He was really — you can’t understate how transformative that guy was to our organization. He really took us to the next level starting with the getting the truck program right. We got Johnny [Sauter] going into that season, I think 2015. That was a big big deal for us getting to sign Johnny. We knew that we could turn our trucks around. At that moment we weren’t that competitive we really needed help.
We got our equipment turn around we got Johnny in. We started picking up wins and from that moment on cementing the legacy that is GMS. And it’s been a wild ride since then.
TC: You’ve been one of the more interesting personalities since you entered the sport. Everyone loves a Spencer Gallagher interview. You’re not going to be a driver any more, but have you thought about opening up your own podcast or doing any media stuff?
SG: I’ve been told I need to do a podcast sometime, but I have no idea what I would do it over. But any time anyone is dumb enough to stick a camera in front of my face, I will be dumb enough to talk to it. That’s the way I like to think about it.
TC: You were involved in one of the most awkward odd battles outside of race cars with John Wes Townley have you guys talked since the epic fight?
TC: Not at all?
SG: I don’t speak chicken, so I don’t know what to say to him.
TC: That solves that. But you have gained a lot of fans with the way you handled your suspension. Can you talk to us about the Road to Recovery program and how great NASCAR has been on that side of things?
SG: It was good working with NASCAR. They’re very informed. They keep you in the loop. They get you a clear timeline what needs to be done and what they expect of you. And how exactly you can get back into your racecar. Worked with them went through the Road to Recovery program completed all of their steps and just happy to be back out here.
TC: Another cool thing about your team is that you had Awesome Bill Elliott out there this year. Is that something you’re looking at doing again in the future?
SG: If he’ll step up and get in the car we are all about it. Awesome Bill brings the fans out and it’s great having him around. It’s always an experience and an honor to get a talent like that behind the wheel of your stuff.
TC: He was having a good run too until a late race spin.
SG: He was doing fantastic. It was great to watch him. That’s a legend right there.
TC: What do you think of the new Silverado and Camaro bodies for the Xfinity Series and Truck Series next year?
SG: I like them a lot. I think they’re mean you know. The Camaro on the streets is a real bitchin’ machine and I’m glad we can mirror that on the track. Now I think the trucks look great as well.
TC: One last question, I know you won Talladega earlier this year, but what in your opinion is the greatest race you’ve ever driven?
SG: I think it would have to be that. Getting to bring home my first checkered flag for GMS Racing and in an Xfinity Series race. I think that’s a pretty huge deal for all involved. It’s a huge deal for myself. It’s a day that I will cherish for the rest of my life. That’s definitely the coolest moment I’ve ever had behind the wheel of a racecar.
TC: I just remember the victory lane photo, I’ll never forget that. You couldn’t even take the HANS device off you were so excited.
SG: Yeah, no I was throwing caution to the wind man.
*Note if you would like to hear this entire interview in it’s entirety it is available in audio form on episode No. 546 of The Final Lap Weekly Podcast. You can listen to that episode in the player below: