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Two months ago at Gateway Motorsports Park, Spencer Gallagher climbed out of his No. 23 Chevrolet ahead of a confrontation that ultimately led to a fight with John Wes Townley. However, when Gallagher made his way out of his No. 23 and ran towards Christopher Bell’s crashed truck at Michigan International Speedway, it was out of concern, not anger.
“I can’t tell you the relief I felt when I found out he was okay,” Gallagher said.
Bell and Gallagher were each eliminated from the race, but unhurt after suffering a vicious crash in the closing stages of Saturday’s Careers for Veterans 200 at Michigan.
Bell was challenging Cole Custer for the race lead on lap 73 of Saturday’s 100-lap event when the two-time Camping World Truck Series winner lost control of his No. 4 Toyota going into turn 3. Bell spun up the track helplessly, where he was hit on the drivers side at upwards of 180 mph by Gallagher. The two machines then slid up into the outside wall before sliding to a stop in the infield.
“I felt like I drove a really smart race there, was just kind of buying my time,” Bell said. “Maybe it was a little too early to go for it, but I had the opportunity and I was going to take it.”
Both drivers quickly lowered the safety nets on their machines, but it was Gallagher that caught people’s attention when he climbed out of his No. 23 on the frontstretch and began jogging towards turn 1, where Bell’s truck laid.
By the time Gallagher reached Bell’s truck, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver had walked with track workers and climbed inside of an ambulance. Gallagher found Bell and joined him for a ride to the infield care center, where both drivers were deemed injury-free.
Climbing from a vehicle before emergency personnel arrive and moving down the racing surface are both penalizable offenses following rules implemented in 2014, but Gallagher says his actions were warranted.
“It shook me,” Gallagher said of the wreck. “I apologize to the safety crew for getting out and running, but for my own sanity’s sake I needed to know he was okay. I was afraid for the life of a fellow competitor there.”
Bell and Gallagher went on to finish 24th and 25th, respectively, after their crash. Brett Moffitt passed Timothy Peters and William Byron on the final lap to claim the race win.
About the author
A graduate of Ball State, Aaron rejoins Frontstretch for his second season in 2016 following a successful year that included covering seven races and starting the popular "Two-Headed Monster" column in 2015. Now in his third year of covering motorsports, Aaron serves as an Assistant Editor for Frontstretch while also contributing to other popular sites including Speed51 and The Apex. He encourages you to come say hi when you see him at the track.
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