Mike Gallo's Sixth Place Dover Finish Is Second Straight Top-Ten (Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - After struggling to find success in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series competition, Mike Gallo has found it with his fledgling JBR...
Mike Gallo's Sixth Place Dover Finish Is Second Straight Top-Ten
(Dover, Del. - Sept. 24, 2004) - After struggling to find success in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series competition, Mike Gallo has found it with his fledgling JBR Racing Team, finishing fifth last Monday at New Hampshire International Speedway and backing that up with a sixth on Friday afternoon at Dover International Speedway.
Gallo knew he would have a fast car for the MBNA America 150 at the high-banked concrete track, setting the fastest time in the first practice session on Thursday morning. But at the end of that session, the Panhard bar mount broke, meaning the team had to skip the second session while making repairs. This hurt the team's qualifying effort, which was only good enough for eighth on the starting grid.
"That second practice was where we were going to fine-tune our qualifying setup," he said. "I had shocks and all kinds of stuff to try for qualifying, and we didn't get to test that out so I wound up going out there with the wrong gear and other things that could have been better. We'll take eighth and go from there. We're going to have a great car for the race. It was perfect in qualifying, I just didn't have the right gear in it. We'll show them tomorrow."
Friday's race started off with a 26-lap stretch of green flag racing that saw Gallo battling hard for the eighth and ninth positions with series champions Kelly Moore and Brad Leighton. The second stretch of green flag racing took the race past its halfway point, while the leader put many cars a lap down. When the caution came out, Gallo was still on the lead lap: one of only twelve cars to do so. He pitted twice for fresh tires and gas on laps 83 and 84, and that was the last he'd see his pit crew for the balance of the event.
Back to racing in tenth place, Gallo remained in that position until there were just 26 laps left to run. He took ninth from Eddie MacDonald, and was up to seventh following a lap 135 restart. He took what was to have been a green-white-checker restart to finish the race in sixth, and survived a jam-up on that restart with damage to his nose and hood. He stayed on the track for another green-white-checker finish and ran to the race's end in sixth place.
"I don't even know how we finished with this car," he explained. "There was a big pileup on a late restart and we bent the nose in pretty bad. But overall I can't say enough about this JBR Racing team. We had good pit stops, and I just tried to drive clean today. We beat a lot of guys fair and square. I want to thank this whole team: Jim Burgess, my car owner; Steve Bird, Bird Motorsports Bodies; and the entire crew for what's been a great two weeks. I definitely think that people know that this team will be around next year."
Gallo and the JBR Racing team called it a season after Dover. Running three races with Gallo as the driver, they recorded three top-tens including the fifth place NHIS race last Monday. With Bryan Wall driving at the two road courses, their best finish was sixteenth at Watkins Glen International in August.