BNS: New Hampshire III: Mike Gallo race notes

Mike Gallo comes back from late spin to finish fifteenth in New Hampshire 125. Mike Gallo, driver of the Woodworks/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus on the NASCAR Busch North Series, made his fifth start of the season in Saturday's New Hampshire...

Mike Gallo comes back from late spin to finish fifteenth in New Hampshire 125.

Mike Gallo, driver of the Woodworks/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus on the NASCAR Busch North Series, made his fifth start of the season in Saturday's New Hampshire 125 held at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. Gallo's race was on a pace to yield a top ten finish, until contact with a lapped car left him spun in turn two just ten laps from the end of the race. He finished fifteenth.

Gallo switched gears for the third race held at NHIS this year, and took the Fred and Elaine Skaff-owned team's intermediate track car rather than the superspeedway car that finished fourteenth and twenty-seventh in two previous races. The intermediate car, which Fred Skaff drove at Thompson and finished seventeenth, and Gallo drove at Adirondack and finished sixteenth, has a body that produces more downforce than the other car's. It also has a different front chassis than the other, and the team was looking to that to improve handling on the flat track.

The change in cars seemed to work in Gallo's favor. He put up the twelfth best time in the first practice session, and the eighteenth best in the second. In qualifying, he took the eighteenth starting position after turning a time trial lap of 30.875 seconds (123.362 MPH).

"This car was in race trim, fully gassed, and all we did was tape it up," he said. "I couldn't be more excited about our chances because we qualified in race trim. We didn't do one thing for qualifying. No lightweight oil, we didn't pump the gas out of it to change the front end percentage. Being in race trim and coming out with an eighteenth place start, I'll take it. We're going to take the final practice and hopefully get this car where it's got to be for the race. And I have no doubt that this car is going to be running up front. I really think that we have it together and that this is the right car to bring to this track.

"I'm really happy with this front end," Gallo continued. "It's got a little different geometry than our other car, a little different drop. This car seems to be going very well. It's balanced well in the corners, and the engine's running well thanks to Ernie Elliott."

In the final practice, Gallo showed more improvement as he was eleventh fastest.

The New Hampshire 125 started with a long green flag run that saw Gallo settle into fifteenth place and get a feel for the car and any changes that would be needed on the pit stop. A pitting opportunity came on lap 38 and Gallo joined the rest of the field on pit road, taking fuel only. A quick check of tires during the stop revealed that the right-side tires were blistered, so Gallo was brought back to pit and the crew replaced those tires. This left Gallo restarting the race near the rear of the field.

"The car was really tight but we kept driving, giving it our all," he said. "We blistered the right side tires but when we came in we didn't know we needed tires. We were going to go all the way so the crew did a gas and go. We came in a second time to take on tires and restarted dead last on the field, then came up through the field with a real tight race car."

When the race resumed, Gallo started working his way to the front. Sixty laps into the 125-lap distance, he was up to fifteenth. With twenty-five laps to go, he was thirteenth and running down those cars in front of him. Picking his way through lapped traffic, he encountered trouble with a lapped car and he spun high in turn two. Before he could get going, he was passed by the leaders and was no longer on the lead lap.

"I was raced in the corner by a lapped car that was at least two or three laps down," he said. "It pushed up and cleaned me out."

The race finished with a series of short runs as late cautions extended the race distance to 137 laps. Gallo wound up finishing fifteenth.

"We came back through with a top fifteen finish," he said. "I'll take it, I just hate it for the guys. My crew did such a good job all weekend. It should have been a much better run. We had a chance to really do well today because a lot of the good cars were off. We're going to go to Dover and get em.

"I'd like to thank Archer Corporation, Robin Phillipson and The Woodworks, Don Black, Skaff Refrigeration, and my owners Elaine and Fred Skaff," Gallo continued. "We had a pretty decent day today, and we'll have a good week at Dover."

Gallo will race next Friday at Dover International Speedway, the high-banked one-mile superspeedway in Dover, Delaware. He ran well there last year, until a mechanical problem sidelined his effort after 32 laps with a 30th place finish.

-ajc-

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