(TOLEDO, Ohio – March 5, 2015) – The inaugural ARCA Mobile 200 in 2012 got off to a storybook start when Mobile, Alabama’s Cale Gale wheeled his way into the winner’s circle. It was exactly what the hometown crowd craved – one of their locals in victory lane in an ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards national tour event.
It was also the last time we saw Gale suited-up in an ARCA car.
“Right now, I’m kind of out of the big racing picture,” Gale said from the family business in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. “I’ve taken a role in our company with by dad’s business: Gale Force Suspension. We build a coil-over tool called the Coilover Load Pro. My dad invented it in 2009…we’ve sold right around 600 units. We’ve done business all over the United States, Canada, Australia…all over. As a matter of fact, your ARCA Midwest Tour champion Ty Majeski uses one.”
Many race teams are accustomed to going on a stationary Pull Down Machine in the shop, which puts the car and suspension under the desired load, thus reflecting actual race conditions. Gale Force Suspension figured out a way to accomplish many of the same things on the road and/or at the track.
“It’s basically a portable Pull Down in your trailer. You pull the shock off and run the spring through the suspension travel. That’s the majority of the business. We’ve got some other products…a laser alignment tool (Strut Wheel Pro) and a big springs application to change springs without going back to the wheel scales. There is a lot of potential at this company…lots of options.”
That doesn’t mean that Gale isn’t thinking about getting back behind the wheel of a racecar. He knows the clock is ticking. If fact, Gale, on this very day (March 5), celebrates his 30th birthday. And while he remains very active in the family business, he’s not ruled out the “big racing picture” in the future.
“If the opportunity came along, I’d definitely go racing again. The way we have our business set up, my father can run the organization with or without me. It’s increased our business with me here…It's been good overall. I’m doing what I have to do to keep a roof over my head.”
With the next generation already in the house, Gale needs that roof over his head more than ever these days.
“I have a son, Camber, that’s 19 months old…just like camber on a racecar. I love being a dad. It’s been an awesome experience, and I enjoy him as much as I can. It’s nice being around more.”
Fortunately, Gale still gets a racing fix every now and then, racing in the local divisions at nearby Bowman Gray Stadium.
“I’ve been fooling around with a tour modified at Bowman Gray every now and then…some late model racing. It’s hard not to be in the big picture like we once were…I still want to be behind the wheel. I did some crew chief stuff with Brandon Jones in 2013. We helped him get going…trained him early on. But Brandon is obviously doing very well on his own now…getting himself prepared for the next stages of his career. He’ll be good at Mobile.”
Gale was good at Mobile in his day too, winning two track championships – the first in 2001 in the Super Stock division, and the second in the Super Late Model division in 2002. The Gale name goes way back at Mobile.
“My dad (Bubba Gale) was a seven-time late model champion at Mobile. He still races a little bit actually. Two years ago, I won two late model races at Bowman…my dad ran eight races and won a race in the late model class. But he was as good as anyone ever was at Mobile, and I’d say better than most.”
Like his father before him, Gale enjoyed his own success behind the wheel, winning at the highest levels of the sport. In addition to his win in the ARCA Mobile 200, he won his first ARCA race at Gateway Int’l Raceway in 2006, his rookie season. In 11 career ARCA starts overall, he rarely finished outside the top-10, and most often inside the top-five when you add the runner-up runs at Nashville Superspeedway and Kentucky Speedway in 2007, and again at Iowa Speedway in 2011, and the fourth place finish at Nashville and the fifth at Kansas Speedway. Through it all, he led 310 laps led overall, and won two Menards Pole Awards presented by Ansell at Nashville and Michigan Int’l Speedway.
Considering his storybook start at his home track in 2012, Gale bookmarked that same season with a storybook ending too – winning at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series in the season finale. Both of Gale’s wins in 2012 – in ARCA and NASCAR – were driving for ARCA championship team Eddie Sharp Racing.
Gale also drove for Kevin Harvick in 2008 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, earning career-best finishes of fourth at Bristol Motor Speedway and sixth at Lucas Oil Raceway.
“I learned a lot driving for Kevin (Harvick)…ran 10 races for him that year. My dream was to be the next Jeff Gordon…thought I had the ability, but you learn in a hurry that there are a lot of talented drivers at that level who race every Sunday for a living…put on as much as 500 to a thousand miles a weekend. It’s tough doing it part-time at that level, but I learned so much doing it…learned to push myself harder. Made me a better race driver overall.”
Gale credits much of his success in motorsports back to his short-track training at Mobile.
“At the NASCAR level, you have to be aggressive every lap, and Mobile teaches you a lot about being aggressive without wrecking. It’s a fast track. In fact, I didn’t realize how fast it was until we started traveling a little bit. Mobile’s a racetrack you can be really aggressive at. You’re not necessarily 100% every lap, but, once you’re in the clear, you can drive around at 80% or more. It teaches you to be fast and smooth. You can give Mobile everything you got, and it’ll take it… a lot like Bristol in that sense.
“By the time we got to Bristol (he won two poles there in 2008 and 2012), it felt like being at home because you have to run so wide open there, which is how I learned to do it at Mobile. The difference is…in a late model race at Mobile, on the same set of tires the whole race, you learn to pace yourself till the end. But in a NASCAR race, there’s no pacing. You run the race as if you’re on a qualifying lap every lap, and that takes some time to get accustomed to. You’re flat out all the time because you run 40-50 laps, then you’re in for tires and right back out pushing it as hard as it’ll go. It’s a different mentality. It’s no wonder that those guys at the NASCAR level are the best in world. The racing lends itself to that.”
For now, it’s back to the family business to earn a living.
“I do enjoy the challenge of it (family business). I get a lot of satisfaction out of it. It’s definitely not the same as winning races…it’s a different adrenaline rush. But this feels good…you can see what you’ve done, what you’ve accomplished and feel good about it.
“But I’d love to get back behind the wheel in that big racing picture. Who knows…maybe someone will read this article, and, who knows….”
NOTE: The storybook chapters contintue for the locals at Mobile Int'l Speedway. Following Gale's win in the first ARCA race, Fairhope, Alabama's Grant Enfinger followed up with back-to-back ARCA wins at Mobile in 2013 and 2014. As this year's Lucas Oil 200 ARCA winner at Daytona - the same way he started last season - Enfinger comes to Mobile with momentum. Enfinger drives for GMS Racing, which also fields NASCAR Truck teams for Spencer Gallagher and 2011 ARCA national champion Ty Dillon and his brother Austin.