Out of Nowhere: Gallagher Shocks for First Career Win at Talladega

Spencer Gallagher won the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway. It’s Gallagher’s first career win, and he led only one lap: the last one. That lap was also Gallagher’s first career lap led in the series. The race featured five cautions, 12 lead changes, and an overtime finish.

At the initial green flag, Daniel Hemric cleared Spencer Gallagher to claim the lead, and was able to keep the field behind him early on. Elliott Sadler, who started from the rear, flew up to the top five in only about six laps, settling in fourth. After about ten laps, the field strung out single file, still led by Daniel Hemric. On the final lap of stage one, Christopher Bell blew a tire, but saved it with no caution. Daniel Hemric won stage one unchallenged.

On pit stops, strategies varied between no tires and two tires, but the frontrunners stayed up front. Ryan Truex was caught for speeding on pit road after finishing third in stage one. On the lap 32 restart, Hemric again took the lead. A few laps later, trouble erupted as Shane Lee got into the back of Dylan Lupton, sending Lupton spinning. The wreck collected Ty Majeski, Chad Finchum, Ryan Truex, and Spencer Boyd, but everyone was okay.

On the lap 41 restart, Hemric got the jump once again, Ryan Reed blew by him and caught him in the middle, dropping Hemric to the rear of the group. Reed, though, didn’t assume the lead. Instead, Elliott Sadler grabbed it, with Reed second. All this mixing of the field brought it single-file once again. Although some drivers attempted to build runs, Sadler held the lead and brought home the stage two in. Under caution, the No. 51 of Jeremy Clements had a mechanical issue, sending him behind the wall. Clements had been dealing with fuel pressure issues all race.

On the lap 57 restart, it was Christopher Bell in the lead, but Sadler drove right by and took the lead back. Bell, though, remained in second. On lap 62, Austin Cindric spun, but was able to avoid contact, bringing out the caution. Under caution, a few drivers pitted, including Ryan Reed, Tyler Reddick, and Justin Allgaier. Most everyone else stayed out.

On the restart, Sadler again took the lead. After a few laps of two and three wide racing, the field went single file again. With 39 to go, some cars pitted, and John Hunter Nemechek spun coming on to pit road, but didn’t hit anything or bring out the caution. Sadler, who came down with Nemechek and sped up to avoid him, was caught for speeding on pit road. Justin Allgaier assumed the lead, since he pitted under the caution for Cindric’s spin. With 16 to go, Matt Tifft had a tire go down, but made it to pit road without incident. With nine laps left, Daniel Hemric had a right front tire come apart, tearing apart the fender and bringing out the caution. Under caution, some cars near the middle and back of the pack pitted, and John Hunter Nemechek and Michael Annett were busted for blend line violations. As they ran under the yellow flag, Justin Allgaier ran out of gas, ending his chances for a victory. David Starr and Kaz Grala also ran out under yellow, adding laps to the caution and sending the race to overtime, kicking up the nerves for new leader Austin Cindric, who pitted at the same time as Allgaier.

On the overtime restart, Austin Cindric ran out of gas, but they went green anyways. Tyler Reddick grabbed the lead, but Spencer Gallagher challenged as they made it to the final lap. Gallagher got by Reddick and won his first career race.

The NASCAR XFINITY Series will be back on track on Saturday May 5, when they head to Dover International Speedway for the OneMain Financial 200.

Here are the results for the Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway:

  1. Spencer Gallagher
  2. Brandon Jones
  3. Justin Allgaier
  4. Noah Gragson
  5. Elliott Sadler
  6. Ryan Sieg
  7. John Hunter Nemechek
  8. Tyler Reddick
  9. Cole Custer
  10. Garrett Smithley
  11. JJ Yeley
  12. Christopher Bell
  13. Jeff Green
  14. Michael Annett
  15. Shane Lee
  16. Chase Briscoe
  17. Vinnie Miller
  18. Tommy Joe Martins
  19. BJ McLeod
  20. Kaz Grala
  21. Joey Gase
  22. Ryan Reed
  23. Daniel Hemric
  24. Alex Labbe
  25. Matt Tifft
  26. Josh Williams
  27. Timmy Hill
  28. Josh Bilicki
  29. Jennifer Jo Cobb
  30. Austin Cindric
  31. Joe Nemechek
  32. David Starr
  33. Mike Harmon
  34. Ross Chastain (Suspension)
  35. Jeremy Clements (Fuel Pump)
  36. Dylan Lupton (Crash)
  37. Ty Majeski (Crash)
  38. Ryan Truex (Crash)
  39. Chad Finchum (Crash)
  40. Spencer Boyd (Crash)

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