Mike Gallo Finishes NHIS Busch North Race Sixth After Starting Last (Loudon, N.H. - July 15, 2005) - The last two times Mike Gallo, of Sanford, Maine, took to the racetrack in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series competition, he ...
Mike Gallo Finishes NHIS Busch North Race Sixth After Starting Last
(Loudon, N.H. - July 15, 2005) - The last two times Mike Gallo, of Sanford, Maine, took to the racetrack in NASCAR Grand National Division, Busch North Series competition, he posted a fifth place finish at New Hampshire International Speedway and then a sixth at Dover International Speedway on consecutive weekends last fall. In his first action of 2005, he continued his hot streak by finishing sixth at NHIS on Friday afternoon despite having to start last in the 36-car field.
Gallo's weekend started with trouble in Thursday's practice session as the engine in the JBR Racing Ford wasn't pulling as well as the team liked, so they made the call to change engines. A thunderstorm blew in to rain out qualifying, leaving Gallo, who had no points yet this season, lined up 35th on the starting grid.
While Gallo had raced his way into the top twenty in the race's first twenty laps, pit strategy also paid off. Pitting with the majority of the field under a lap 26 caution, he picked up twelve positions by only taking on gas. Twelve cars had not pitted at all, so Gallo restarted nineteenth.
When the race returned to green on lap 30, Gallo continued his charge. In only four laps he was tenth, and three laps after that he was seventh. He was sixth when that run ended with a lap 61 caution and inherited a top-five position when one car ahead made its pit stop. He went back to sixth on the restart, but engaged in a long battle with all-time leading NHIS race winner Brad Leighton for fifth, taking that spot on lap 98 of 125. In the late going, Gallo had to give up that fifth spot to Andy Santerre, but successfully held off Mike Olsen through the closing laps to finish sixth.
"I started dead last and we never looked back," he said. "Near the end of the race we got a lot of clouds over turns three and four and that made the car tight. We were going to go another inch or so on some of our adjustments, but we thought we loosened it up enough, I guess we could have gone a little bit more. That's the first time I ran the same tires the whole race, we just did a gas-and-go for our pit stop, and only a couple of the guys who finished ahead of us did the same thing.
"We backed up what we did last year and it's really proving what these guys on this team are capable of," Gallo continued. "Things are looking up, and if we got a little financial backing I think we could run up front every week. Coming from dead last and passing more cars than anybody else did today is awesome. Todd Graffam, Steve Bird, Jim Burgess and my entire race team did an amazing job all weekend, changing the engine in the pouring rain and dealing with technical difficulties that we didn't even know about. Starting dead last today, I didn't know what to expect. We just threw a setup in the car because we barely got any practice yesterday and it worked great. I'm just so happy with these guys and I hope they're just as happy with me."
Gallo and the unsponsored JBR Racing team will return to action when the Busch North Series returns to NHIS in September.