Mike Gallo's Top-Five Run At NHIS Ends With Brush With Wall Loudon, N.H. (July 14, 2006) - Mike Gallo, of Sanford, Maine, put on a passing clinic through the middle stages of the New England 125, Friday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch...
Mike Gallo's Top-Five Run At NHIS Ends With Brush With Wall
Loudon, N.H. (July 14, 2006) - Mike Gallo, of Sanford, Maine, put on a passing clinic through the middle stages of the New England 125, Friday's NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch East Series race at New Hampshire International Speedway. Starting 24th, Gallo raced all the way to fifth place as laps started winding down but a brush with the turn two wall after a restart forced his retirement from the event thirty laps early.
The JBR Racing team was making its first appearance of the season, and found itself having to chase the car throughout the opening practice session. The struggles continued in qualifying, where former NHIS polesitter Gallo was only 24th best. The team dug in and worked on the car more in Friday morning's final practice.
"We unloaded junk, but we changed four shocks and four springs, the team worked unbelievably hard getting everything done all weekend long," Gallo said. "I didn't think we were going to compete the way we were going in the first part of the weekend. But we all pulled together, and the guys changed everything. They changed everything but the engine and transmission before the race."
Gallo was part of the majority of the field that pitted on lap 19 for gas and tires, and that was the last time he'd see pit road. He made progress through the field slowly, running twelfth as the race crossed its halfway point. He broke into that territory a few laps later, and wasn't content to stop there. After a lap 84 restart he jumped to fifth place, but caution came out and scoring showed he hadn't completed the pass at the time yellow came out. When the race restarted on lap 89, Gallo tried taking that spot back but ran wide exiting turn two and slapped the backstretch wall. He came to pit road to get checked out, and the damage found was too severe to continue in the race.
"We passed everybody today," he said after the race. "We didn't have anything given to us today, we earned every pass we made. I drove everybody really clean and I think we put on an incredible exciting race out there. I think I passed every car on the outside, which is pretty amazing to be hooked up that good. I saw us settling into fifth, but I overdrove the car through one and two trying everything I could because I thought we had the car.
"I got into the top five and I was pushing for more and got into trouble," Gallo continued. "But if people don't think this race team is for real after today, I don't know what else we can do. We could have come out of here with a top-five. I raced everyone real hard but clean, and we were going."
Gallo took some satisfaction in knowing all the hard work to get the car up to speed paid off with a strong run.
"To wreck running fifth just breaks my heart knowing I just wasn't patient enough," he said. "But I'd rather wreck running fifth than to run around in the back and finish 23rd. We're going to fix this girl and be back here in September. I have to thank everyone on this team because they worked incredibly hard the whole time we were here. I've never seen a team so pumped up even though we came out of here with no finish. We know we had a car today. Nobody came from as far back as we did to run up front. Everyone knows the 88 car was here this weekend, and that's the best we can ask for."