DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – It took less than five minutes for calamity to break out during Thursday’s opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice session at Daytona Int’l Speedway.
Heading down the backstretch as cars began to form up in the first pack of the day, Spencer Gallagher lost a left-rear tire on his No. 23 Allegiant Travel Chevrolet and slowed coming towards Turn 3, where he tried to regain control of his car as it washed out of control.
Unfortunately, he slid down the track and right into the path of Cole Custer’s Ford, which smashed into the left-rear quarter of Gallagher’s machine and caused heavy damage to both entries.
The duo was second (Custer) and third (Gallagher) on the speed charts at the time of the incident, positions which they ultimately held through the end of the 55-minute round and ultimately making the accident even tougher to swallow.
“He was on the apron, and then he went all the way up to the wall trying to save it. Right when I was trying to go up there he covered it, and then he came back down and I just felt like I had nowhere to go,” Custer said of what he saw before the hit. “This is the first speedway car that the team’s hung, and body-wise, it was fast out there. I thought it was going to be pretty good, but it just sucks. Our backup car should be plenty good enough, though, so we’ll just go on to the race.”
Gallagher said after climbing from his car that he didn’t have a lot of warning before he was along for the ride.
“Man, our Allegiant Travel Chevy was fine,” Gallagher explained. “We were sucking along behind the 98 (Casey Mears) and having a good run. … About halfway down the backstretch, I felt it start to wander and I knew something had to be wrong. I tried to get on the brakes, get down the track and get away from people, but the left rear tire was down and everyone saw what happened from there. It’s not terribly easy to control something with no downforce and three tires.”
“I hate like hell that happened to Cole. I feel terrible for him and I’m sorry to him. That’s plate racing for you; sometimes the gods get angry and just take from you.”
Both teams have switched to back-up cars for the remainder of the weekend.
Final practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at Daytona Int’l Speedway is slated for 4 p.m. ET (NBCSN).
About the Writer
Jacob Seelman is the Managing Editor of Race Chaser Online and creator of the Motorsports Madness radio show, airing at 7 p.m. Eastern every Monday on the Performance Motorsports Network.
Seelman grew up in the sport, watching his grandparents co-own the RaDiUs Motorsports NASCAR Cup Series team in the 1990s.
The 23-year-old is currently studying Broadcast Journalism at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C., and is also serving as the full-time tour announcer for the Must See Racing Sprint Car Series.
Email Jacob at: email@example.com
Email Race Chaser Online: firstname.lastname@example.org
Follow RCO on Twitter: @RaceChaserNews