Spencer Gallagher to retire from NASCAR competition

KANSAS CITY — Spencer Gallagher, a charismatic driver who has been a regular in NASCAR national series competition the last four seasons, has announced he will retire from racing at season’s end.

“I will no longer be competing in the NASCAR Xfinity Series; I will be stepping out of that role as a driver and taking on a more managerial role at GMS,” Gallagher said Friday afternoon at Kansas Speedway. “As of right now, we are absolutely intent on continuing our Xfinity effort on, and we aim to win a championship.”

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Gallagher, 28, is competing this weekend in the Xfinity Series’ Kansas Lottery 300 (Saturday, 2:55 p.m. ET, NBC, MRN, SiriusXM).

“It has been an incredible journey getting to watch this team grow and flourish and become something incredible from very humble beginnings. I can’t wait to be there personally. This is not me stepping back from NASCAR. If anything, it’s stepping further into it,” said Gallagher, who will join his father, Maury, on the management team at GMS.

“This has been a big decision; this has been something I’ve been thinking about for a long, long time. GMS started out surrounded around Spencer Gallagher, but since then it has grown to be something so much more and it’s something so much bigger now. I think it’s time to take the next step and really see what this team can do. I think to do that, my greatest utility to GMS lies elsewhere other than the driver’s seat. I think there’s a lot of really talented drivers out there and we have an incredible team. I want to see this team grow and I want to see this team grow to flourish.”

Since making his NASCAR national series debut in 2013, Gallagher has competed in 60 Camping World Truck Series events and 55 Xfinity Series races — all for GMS Racing. The Las Vegas native also made his lone appearance in the Monster Energy Series earlier this year, finishing 35th at Watkins Glen for BK Racing.

The decision was not an easy one for Gallagher, arguably in the prime of his driving career. Gallagher landed his breakthrough Xfinity Series win earlier this year, converting a last-lap pass to prevail at Talladega Superspeedway on April 28. He was suspended four days later for a violation of NASCAR’s substance abuse policy, then reinstated on July 4.

Gallagher’s family life held the most weight in the decision-making process.

“I can share with you on a personal level, candidly, I’ve spent 10 years out here on this coast away from my family,” he said. “A couple months ago it occurred to me that, God forbid, should one of my parents kicks the bucket tomorrow and I’ve spent the last 10 years out here driving race cars … I don’t know if I could ever forgive myself.

“Beyond that, and I’m serious when I say that I think there are big opportunities for myself, for GMS and for all of us within this sport and industry and I intend to pursue them aggressively. Being outside of the driving role allows me to do that further.”

As far as what he expects to bring to the table in his managerial role, Gallagher played coy but promised “big things.” He indicated that his connections in Silicon Valley could play a part in the evolution of motorsports not just for GMS, but NASCAR as a whole.

Gallagher also mentioned that making the move up to the Monster Energy Series is “always on the table for us,” a move that has been rumored since last year.

“The genesis of (the decision) was I started looking at all the cool technologies and opportunities that exist within this industry. I think racing is an incredibly fascinating intersection of the auto industry and the high science and technology industry. And that’s what I come from. For those who don’t know, before I did this, I was a professional nerd, and a good one. And I think a lot of my prior skill sets are transferable to this industry. I can’t talk about any of the stuff I’ll be doing until I’m doing it, but trust me when I say, I’ve got big things planned for GMS and this industry as a whole.”

When pushed for a hint at what he might have in store for the industry moving forward, Gallagher paused, then offered a classic “Spencer-being-Spencer” kind of response.

“I’ve got big plans for us,” he said, smiling.