BNS: Dover: Mike Gallo race notes

Mike Gallo forced to retire top ten car from Dover Race, finishes 24th. Mike Gallo, from Sanford, Maine, impressed many during the weekend of the MBNA All American Heroes 150 at Dover International Speedway. On Thursday, Gallo was near the front...

Mike Gallo forced to retire top ten car from Dover Race, finishes 24th.

Mike Gallo, from Sanford, Maine, impressed many during the weekend of the MBNA All American Heroes 150 at Dover International Speedway. On Thursday, Gallo was near the front of the speed charts in practice and qualified eighth fastest with his Fred and Elaine Skaff-owned Woodworks/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus. Staying fast through the final practice and in the race, Gallo was running in the top ten when contact with the outside wall broke rear suspension parts, forcing his retirement from the event.

Gallo, driving a different car from the one that finished fifteenth at New Hampshire International Speedway the previous weekend, had the services of NASCAR Busch Series veteran crew chief Steve Bird to coach the team through practice and the race. Bird's discipline found the team working harder than ever, and the results showed as Gallo was the fourth fastest car in the first practice. In qualifying, Gallo continued to impress with his being eighth on the starting lineup. In the final practice, the team worked on finding a compromise setup for the long race. They did so while setting the sixth fastest time.

"Qualifying could have been better, it's a shame we didn't contend for the pole," Gallo said before the race. "I don't know where I messed up but I'm sure I did because the car was there. I did a 52 lap run in the final practice and the car was flawless, it didn't fall off much and we were on 90-lap old tires. I think we have a really good chance to run up front all day and impress some people, which is what we're looking for to close our year out, and hopefully sign on for next year. That's all we're looking to do. We need a good run. I'd like to thank Steve Bird, a good friend of the team, for being here with us, and my team for working so hard."

The Woodworks Ford took the green flag on Friday and fell into line running ninth, moving up to eighth before twenty laps were in the books. Before fifty laps were run, Gallo had moved up to seventh and as the long green-flag run went on, he only got stronger and was running down those in front of him.

Caution came out on lap 64 and Gallo followed the same pit strategy as the top three drivers, pitting once for left-side tires and a second time for right-sides. He returned to the race in twelfth, behind many drivers who had opted to stop only once. When green came out he was on the charge, moving into the top ten and putting away drivers with fewer fresh tires. The good run ended, though, when Gallo brushed the outside wall coming out of turn four and bent components in the rear suspension. He kept the car under control and drove it to the pits, but the damage was deemed unrepairable and he was forced to retire from the event in 24th.

"The car was on rails," a disappointed Gallo said afterwards. "Coming out of four, I don't know what happened. I lost it, I don't know, something happened. They're thinking it was the panhard bar that broke after I got shot into he wall, which I'm blaming myself for.

"We were perfect, I had a perfect race car that ran on a rail," Gallo continued. "I was chasing them down to be the man. I don't think there was anyone we couldn't have run with today. It's a drastic improvement for this race team and I hate it for the guys. The car was fast. We don't know on impact what happened, but we'll go through it all and make sure it's right for the next time."

Gallo rounds out his six-race NASCAR Busch North Series schedule with his best finish of the year being a fourteenth place run at New Hampshire International Speedway in May. For more information on the team, visit its website at http://www.woodworksracing.com.

-ajc-

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