Spencer Gallagher announced Friday morning he is stepping out of the No. 23 GMS Racing Xfinity Series ride after this season to take on a managerial role with the organization.
“It has been an incredible journey getting to watch this team grow and flourish and become something incredible from very humble beginnings,” Gallagher, the son of team owner Maurice Gallagher, said Friday at Kansas Speedway. “This is not me stepping back from NASCAR. This is me diving in further. But this has been a big decision, something I have 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 something so much bigger. I think it’s time to take the next step and really see what this team can do and I think to do that, my greatest utility to GMS lays elsewhere than the driver seat. I think there are a lot of talented guys out there and we have an incredible team.”
The 28-year-old won his first career race earlier this season at Talladega Superspeedway but was suspended the following week after a failed drug test derailed his chance at competing for the championship. He returned to the seat at Kentucky Speedway in July.
The suspension did not play a role in the decision.
“Candidly, I’ve spent 10 years out here on this coast away from my family and a couple months ago it kind of occurred to me, God forbid one of my parents kicks the bucket tomorrow and I had spent the last 10 years out there driving racecars being away from them, I don’t know if I’d ever forgive myself,” said Gallagher.
“Beyond that, I think there are big opportunities, for GMS and for all of us, within this sport, within this industry, and I intend to pursue them aggressively and I think being outside of a driving role allows me to do that further.”
He did not close the door on competing in select races in the future, mentioning he does enjoy the restrictor-plate events in the Camping World Truck Series.
Asked who will drive the No. 23 next season, Gallagher said, “We’re interviewing several capable candidates right now. But, I want to let everyone know, as of right now the seat is open season. I believe we have excellent stuff and we’re taking auditions.”
GMS Racing also fields multiple teams in the Truck Series. The organization won last weekend with Timothy Peters at Talladega, its eighth win of the season between its teams. GMS Racing won the 2016 championship, its first, with Johnny Sauter.
In a statement, GMS Racing president Mike Beam wished Gallagher well and said he looked forward to what the future holds for the organization.
“We will continue to build our Xfinity Series program into a championship caliber team like our trucks,” he said.