Las Vegas native Spencer Gallagher eyes NASCAR Cup Series

Last season, the GMS race team founded by Las Vegan and Allegiant Airlines CEO Maury Gallagher dipped a toe in exploratory NASCAR Cup Series waters.

The idea remains to take a deeper plunge when the time is right.

GMS began as a Truck Series team in 2011 and won the 2016 series championship with Johnny Sauter behind the wheel. The team moved up to the Xfinity Series part time in 2016 before running a full 2017 season with Gallagher’s 28-year-old son, Spencer, as driver.

“The goal at GMS hasn’t changed, and it’s never going to change,” said Spencer Gallagher, who posted a career-high sixth-place finish in the Xfinity season opener at Daytona and finished a solid 10th in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300 at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway wind tunnel.

“For us, it’s Cup or bust.”

Gallagher said he wasn’t sure when GMS would make the big step up the NASCAR ladder.

“When we get there, that’s still up to us to decide,” he said. ”We’re still looking around; we don’t have anything to announce yet. But make no mistake, we’re always looking one eye to the future. We’re always looking to improve ourselves and get into the deep end of the pool and mixing it up with Kyle and Kurt (Busch) on Sunday.

“That’s where you’ve got to be if you want to be on the biggest stage in stock car racing.”

Green, white, checkered

■ She’s not racing here or anywhere else in NASCAR anymore. But Danica Patrick’s name — or at least her car number — came up before Sunday’s Pennzoil 400.

This is what former Las Vegas race winner Kevin Harvick said after he won last week’s race at Atlanta, where the Stewart-Haas team for which he drives had another strong day.

“The thing I took away from it was the No. 10 car and (its new driver) Aric Almirola were more competitive for us,” said the 2014 Cup Series champion who will start Sunday’s Pennzoil 400 from the outside pole.

“That is important for us to have that extra set of notes that we really hadn’t used the last several years because that car hasn’t performed well enough. It hasn’t been competitive enough to really bring anything to the table.”

The No. 10 car previously was driven by Patrick, who retired from NASCAR after the season-opening Daytona 500.

■ Here’s a Twitter post I received from a man named Ronald Pickerel about his new favorite NASCAR driver, Kyle Busch of Las Vegas.

“Something you may not know about this quality guy. I’m a street entertainer on Fremont Street. This man went to each of us (Wednesday) and handed out $100 bills. No NASCAR fan, but I’m rooting for Kyle this week.”

Likewise, former NASCAR competitor Todd Bodine will be pulling for Kyle’s older brother, Kurt.

“Some people have it, some people don’t,” wrote Bodine on his Twitter account this past week. “Went to pay the bill for my birthday dinner (16 people). came in with his wonderful wife (Ashley) for dinner and picked up the tab. Thank you for being a good man and a great friend. I owe you one! #class act”

Some people still don’t like the Busch brothers.

Some people still don’t see the entire picture.

Contact Ron Kantowski at rkantowski@reviewjournal.com or 702-383-0352. Follow @ronkantowski on Twitter.

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