Gallagher's Cup debut a first step back from suspension

Image by Cantrell/LAT

Gallagher's Cup debut a first step back from suspension

NASCAR

Gallagher's Cup debut a first step back from suspension

Spencer Gallagher says the weight is off his shoulders and that it’s great to be back racing again.

“I’ve got my life back,” Gallagher told RACER. “When you’re a driver, so much of that consumes who you are and what you do every day that when you wake up one day and you’re not doing it, you don’t know what to do with yourself. You’re like Ricky Bobby, you don’t know what to do with your hands. It’s terrible.

“But we’re out of those woods now and I get to strap the helmet back on and get back to doing what I love. So, that’s a great source of joy in my life right now. That I get to come and do this again.”

This weekend, Gallagher is indeed going to race — but not in the Xfinity Series or his normal No. 23 car. Instead, Gallagher will make his Monster Energy Cup Series debut in the BK Racing No. 23 Toyota as he gets set for the Go Bowling at The Glen on Sunday afternoon (2:30 p.m. ET, NBC).

“This is the first step down a long road,” Gallagher said of the opportunity. “But you know, we’ve had a lot of first steps down long roads through our career in this sport, so I’ve kind of gotten used to taking them by now. I’m just extraordinarily grateful to [GMS president] Mike Beam and the folks at BK Racing for helping get this deal together. It’s super cool. I like the Cup cars a lot, they drive great.

“I had a lot of fun today just getting up to speed and learning it. We brought a good car here so I’m trying to keep it shiny side up and keep it pretty for the race. But, man, it’s been a wild ride and to come here and make my debut Cup start at the Glen, this is one of my favorite places so I couldn’t think of a better venue.”

It’s not a coincidence that Gallagher is making his debut with the team Beam currently has a bid on to buy. Gallagher said because of the impending sale of BK Racing the two sides were in the same room for talks and BK Racing made it known they had an opening for this weekend.

“And we said, well, why not?” Gallagher said. “Don’t threaten me with a good time.”

“I would definitely want to finish somewhere in the top 30 obviously, but man, these guys at BK Racing, they’ve put together a good car for us,” Gallagher continued. “I think if we can get a top 20 it would be a stellar day for us, but I just want to get out there and turn laps and run with these guys. I’m going to be walking on eggshells. First freaking start, I’m not trying to ruin anyone’s day especially at a road course where points are all important. I’m just going out there to have fun tomorrow. That’s my goal.”

Eventually Gallagher will get to have fun full-time again with his Xfinity team. Even though he was not behind the wheel Saturday, Gallagher said he was going to finish up the interview and go see his team on pit road before the start of the race. Because racing again is one thing for Gallagher, but to be back and ingrained with his team is even better.

“It’s great,” Gallagher said. “They’ve loved having me [back] and I’ve missed those guys so much. It feels like the family is back together, you know? Everyone was kind of waiting and waiting for me to come back and now that I get to be back it’s a big difference in my life.

“I think the thing that hurt more than anything [being suspended] was not being able to be at the racetrack with them on race day. You spend so much time with those guys, they’re your family. You miss your family. So, getting to be back with them is really special. That’s as meaningful to me as being back in the car.”

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