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Racer Profile: Tommy Gale
October 25, 2007
By Allen Madding
Born September 10, 1934, McKeesport, Pennsylvania’s Tommy Gale made his first appearance in the NASCAR Grand National Division (which would later become the Winston Cup Series) in 1968 at the age of 33 driving Lyle Stelter’s No. 56 Mercury in the American 500 at Rockingham. A crash on lap 172 relegated him to a 30th place finish.
Gale landed a deal to drive Don Culpepper’s No. 76 Ford in the 1969 Daytona 500 Speedweeks. Gale finished 12th in the second Twin 125 qualifier but did not make the starting grid for the Daytona 500.
Gale returned to the Grand National circuit in 1970 driving Walt Valerio’s No. 03 Fords and Mercurys. He qualified 29th for the Daytona 500 but lost an engine on the 70th lap. Gale started 24th in the Motor State 400 at Michigan but again lost an engine this time only 6 laps into the event. Gale qualified 18th for the Schaefer 300 at the 1.5 mile asphalt Trenton Speedway in New Jersey and finished tenth 16 laps down to the leader. Gale qualified 30th for the Mason Dixon 300 at Dover, Delaware and finished 27th after another engine failure.
Gale returned to competition in 1971 driving Larry Jackson’s No. 03 Mercury in seven NASCAR Grand National events and the Giachetti Brothers’ No. 44 Ford in one event. He recorded an 11th place finish in the Yankee 400 at Michigan with the Giachettis.
Gale teamed up with Frank Vasko to drive the No. 03 Mercury in the 1972 season. He quickly recorded an 11th place finish in the season opening Daytona 500 making a total of 6 starts for the year.
Gale returned to NASCAR competition in 1973 campaigning his own No. 03 Mercury. In five starts for the year, his best finish was a 13th in the Winston 500 at Talladega. Gale was unable to put anything together for the 1974 season, but returned in 1975 driving Elmo Langley’s No. 64 Ford in the Daytona 500 and then driving Bill Champion’s No. 10 Ford in 4 additional starts.
Elmo Langley fielded his No. 64 Ford for Gale in 11 Winston Cup events in 1976. The car carried the sponsorship of Stamey’s B-B-Q in the first six events. Gale also drove Henley Gray’s No. 19 Belden Asphalt Chevrolet in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona that year. His highest finish for the season was a 15th place showing in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham.
In 1977, Gale was back behind the wheel of Elmo Langley’s No. 64 Ford with sponsorship from Sunny King Ford and Honda. He qualified for 18 of the year’s 30 events finishing 14th in the Talladega 500 and 15th in the Winston 500 at Talladega and in the American 500 at Rockingham.
Gale drove the No. 64 Sunny King Ford and Honda sponsored Ford in 25 NASCAR Winston Cup Series events in 1978 and wheeled Bobby Wawak’s No. 74 Chevrolet in the Dixie 500 at Atlanta. During the season, he recorded a 13th place finish in the Southern 500 at Darlington, a 14th place finish in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham, and a 15th place finish in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona.
Gale returned to the wheel of Langley’s No. 64 Sunny King Ford in the1979 NASCAR Winston Cup Series competing in 27 of the 31 events. He finished 7th in the Winston 500 at Talladega, recorded a 12th place finish in the American 500 at Rockingham, and 13th place finishes in the Carolina 500 at Rockingham and in the Sun-Drop Music City USA 420 at Nashville, a 14th place finish in the Champion Spark Plug 400 at Michigan, and 15th place finishes in the Volunteer 500 at Bristol and in the CRC Chemicals 500 at Dover.
Gale wheeled the No. 64 Sunny King Ford in 29 of the 31 events on the 1980 Winston Cup schedule. He charted an 11th place finish in the Old Dominion 500 at Martinsville, a 12th place finish in the Mason Dixon 500 at Dover, 13th in the Busch Volunteer 500 at Bristol, and 15th place finishes in the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 at Darlington, the Music City 420 at Nashville, and in the Atlanta Journal 500.
Gale competed in 30 of the 31 events of the NASCAR Winston Cup Series in 1981 driving Langley’s No. 64 Sunny King Ford, Junior Miller’s No. 79 Oldsmobile, and D. K. Ulrich’s No. 40 Buick. He finished 11th in the Winston 500 at Talladega, 12th in the Budweiser NASCAR 400 at the two-mile Texas World Speedway in College Station, Texas, and 13th place finishes in the Old Dominion 400 at Martinsville and in the American 500 at Rockingham, 14th place finishes in the Mason Dixon 400 at Dover and in the Holly Farms 400 at North Wilkesboro, and 15th place finishes in the Valleydale 500 and the Busch 500 both at Bristol.
In 1982, Gale qualified for 28 of the 30 NASCAR Winston Cup events driving Langley’s No. 64 Sunny King Ford and James Hylton’s No. 48 Palatine Auto Parts Buick. He recorded an 11th place finish in the Warner W. Hodgdon Carolina 500 at Rockingham, a 12th in the CRC Chemicals Rebel 500 at Darlington, a 13th place finish in the Mason Dixon 500 at Dover, and 14th place finishes in the Firecracker 400 at Daytona and in the CRC Chemicals 500 at Dover.
In 1983, Gale started 28 of the 30 Winston Cup races driving Langley’s No. 64 Sunny King Ford, D. K. Ulrich’s No. 64 Buick, and Bud Reeder’s No. 02 Pontiac. He logged a tenth place finish in the Warner W. Hodgdon Carolina 500 at Rockingham, a 13th place finish in the Winston 500 at Talladega, and a 14th place finish in the Transouth 500 at Darlington.
In 1984, Gale qualified for 16 of the season’s 30 NASCAR Winston Cup events behind the wheel of Elmo Langley’s No. 64 Sunny King Ford. He recorded an 11th place finish in the Busch 500 at Bristol.
Gale did not compete in the 1985 NASCAR Winston Cup Series but returned for one last running in 1986 for the Winston 500 at Talladega finishing 25th.
Gale founded Tommy Gale Trailer Sales offering a complete line of custom-built trailers for cars, motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATV’s and other applications. Gale soon established himself as the nation’s largest dealer of Haulmark trailers.
Tommy Gale died September 30, 1999. He was inducted in 1998 into the Pittsburgh Circle Track Club Hall of Fame.
You can contact Allen Madding at .. Insider Racing News
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