Through the first 5 events of the season, it’s beginning to look like a two horse race for the Ocean Speedway Hobby Stock championship, as the father and son team of Joe and Robert Gallaher have begun to distance themselves from the rest of the field. One of this season’s more pleasant surprises so far has been the improvement of the elder Gallaher, Joe, who has put a rough 2018 behind him with a strong start to the 2019 campaign.
Joe has been impressive to say the least, posting 3 Top 5’s in his first 5 starts. The lone 2 finishes outside the Top 5 were both no fault of his own, as he suffered tire failures to take him out of contention. Friday night, Joe again looked to have a shot at the win, but one mistake on a late race restart would shuffle him back to 3rd.
Friday night started off with both Gallaher Racing cars in the 1st of the division’s 2 heat races, with Rob starting 3rd and Joe starting 7th. Joe was noticeably fast from the start, moving up 3 spots to 4th behind Rob in the first 2 laps. Both drivers would move up another spot a lap later to take 2nd and 3rd respectively. Though Joe was able to reel in Rob with 3 to go, he wouldn’t be able to complete the pass, as Rob and Joe finished 2nd and 3rd.
For the feature, Rob would roll off 3rd, while Joe started 5th. After the initial start was called back, Rob would be moved up to the front row for the next attempt. Rob would briefly hold the lead for the first lap, but a big shove up the track allowed DJ Keldsen to move to his inside and take the lead.
While Rob had his hands full with Keldsen, Joe had moved into 3rd in the opening 2 laps, and was quickly pulling in the Top 2. After a lap 4 caution, Joe used this opportunity to pull to the inside of Rob to challenge for 2nd. The two would remain side by side for the next 4 laps, before Joe was finally able to clear Rob and set his sights on Keldsen.
Though Joe was running quicker lap times than the leader, he just couldn’t find a way around until another caution waved with 8 to go. On the restart, however, Joe slightly over drove the first turn, dropping him back to 6th as a result. Meanwhile up front, Rob found his way around Keldsen for the lead with 6 to go. While Rob did all he could to hold off Keldsen, Joe had quickly sliced his way back up to 3rd.
Joe was able to get back to the bumper of the front 2 drivers but just ran out of time, as Rob picked up his 3rd win of the season to extend his points lead over Joe.
After the race, Rob had this to say: “The last restart helped me big time, because Keldsen and my dad had started to pull away a little, causing me to panic and over drive the car a bit. I wasn’t the fastest car on the track, (Joe was putting down laps 2/10ths faster than my car) but I was able to get In to the right lane at the right time and block a hard charging Keldsen. I felt him a few times but knew he would have to wreck me or go on the outside of me to beat me. I knew if I could just stay down on the bottom I would be able to fend him off until the checkers came out.”
Gallaher Racing would like to thank all of their sponsors and supporters, including:
1 Hour Drain
Express Car Wash
Built by the Captain
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