Mike Gallo, driving the Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus, recorded his best finish of his limited 2003 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series schedule when he finished eleventh in Saturday night's Dealmaker 150, held at...
Mike Gallo, driving the Woodworks Racing/Archer Corporation Ford Taurus, recorded his best finish of his limited 2003 NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series schedule when he finished eleventh in Saturday night's Dealmaker 150, held at the half-mile Adirondack International Speedway.
Gallo, who finished sixteenth at Adirondack last year when the series made its first appearance at the two-year old track, struggled through practice with the car. Numerous changes were made throughout the two afternoon sessions, though it still wasn't quite up to speed during the qualifying session. Gallo started the race in the 21st place position.
With many cars being late through pre-race technical inspection and being penalized to the rear of the starting lineup, Gallo didn't have much trouble moving into the top fifteen in the race's opening laps. He started the longest green flag run in fourteenth position, but faded to eighteenth and had the leader of the race approaching to lap him. A timely caution kept Gallo on the lead lap, and he brought the Woodworks/Archer Ford to the attention of the crew on pit road for adjustments. Gallo's crew came through on pit road, picking the team up five positions to restart in thirteenth.
Following the next run of green flag racing, Gallo returned to pit road and the crew fitted fresh right-side tires on the car, and he thought he was set to go the distance. But the last half of the race was filled with spins, cautions, and close calls, and Gallo wound up going off-course once and damaging the front valance of the car. Two more pit stops were required to attend to the air dam and radiator ductwork behind it, but he remained on the lead lap.
Through the final laps of the race, Gallo's strategy turned to survival and that paid off with his finishing eleventh, despite having some concerns that his car would overheat and not be able to finish.
"This is our third consistent lead lap finish," he said after the race. "I totally messed up in qualifying, I apologize to the team for that. But we made a race of it. We ran over a banking and tore the whole nose off the car, overheated the engine to 280 degrees, but we stayed in it like a trooper. I bet we had a good shot at a top ten but I just wanted to protect where I was, and we still ended up picking one off more position with two to go. We were driving around for ten pace laps with the engine overheating, and we still passed some good guys. We passed the some of the guys who run well in this series every week, when we don't run full-time.
"I have to thank Archer, Woodworks, Don Black, Skaff Refrigeration, and the whole entire team for doing a great job because it was a really tough day," Gallo continued. "We changed everything under the sun in the car. We were horrible in practice, but we kept working with it. This is one of the hardest tracks to run as a driver, and I didn't do my job very well tonight. It was more of a survival run. But we hung in there, and that's what I'm proud of. This is my third lead lap finish of the year, and that makes me feel really good. We're going to have some strength on our side going to Loudon and Dover. We're using two separate cars with two different engines, and we're going to be strong with both of them."
Gallo and the Woodworks Racing team will return to the track on September 13th for the running of the Sylvania 125 at the one-mile New Hampshire International Speedway. For more information on the team, visit its website located at www.woodworksracing.com.