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Talladega Xfinity winner Spencer Gallagher suspended for failing drug test

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NASCAR has suspended Xfinity Series driver Spencer Gallagher for a violation of the sport’s substance abuse policy.

Gallagher won Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega. It was the first win of his career and qualified him for the series’ playoffs. Until Wednesday, anyway. He’ll be suspended until he completes NASCAR’s substance abuse recovery process and the sport reinstates him.

“I want to assure everyone in the NASCAR community this one time error in judgment will never happen again,” Gallagher said in a statement. “I am taking the steps to enroll in the Road to Recovery program supported by NASCAR. I would like to say that I am sorry to all of the [Gallagher Motorsports] organization for my actions, especially my team and team owner [father Maury Gallagher], who have worked so hard this year and have put faith in me. I also want to apologize to NASCAR, Chevrolet and my fans for letting them down.”

Maury Gallagher is the CEO of Allegiant Airlines. His company sponsors his son’s car.

According to NASCAR, Gallagher’s positive test means his Talladega win is no longer good for the playoffs. Playoff drivers must attempt every race in the season, though NASCAR can grant a waiver in certain circumstances. There will be no waiver for Gallagher and therefore he won’t be eligible to make the playoffs.

Not giving Gallagher a waiver is the right move. NASCAR has been way too liberal with its use of a playoff waiver, most notably when granting Kurt Busch a waiver after he was suspended for the first three races of the season after domestic abuse allegations in 2015.

Busch denied the allegations and there was no evidence for criminal charges in the matter. While the decision to grant Busch a waiver might have been NASCAR’s admission that it screwed up in suspending him, the sanctioning body should have done its due diligence before issuing the suspension in the first place if that was the case.

Gallagher, 28, is in his second full-time season competing in the Xfinity Series. He had one top-10 finish in 33 races in 2017 and has four other top-10 finishes to go along with his win through the first nine races of 2018.

Before advancing to the Xfinity Series Gallagher ran two full-time seasons in the Truck Series. He scored 15 top 10s in 59 career Truck Series starts and his best finish in the points standings was 10th in 2015.

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Nick Bromberg is a writer for Yahoo Sports.

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