Article/Photo by: Brad Newman
Cale Gale may be a household name for some, but not all. To your average spectator, Saturday’s Truck race at Martinsville is just another race where a rich kid can buy a seat and try to compete at a short track. For Cale Gale, this time, it’s something different. Gale hasn’t sat in the seat of a Camping World Truck since the 2013 season, since then he has raced in just about everything BUT the NASCAR’s top three series.
Cale Gale got the call from Shane Huffman, MDM Motorsports and his longtime partner Rheem about a month ago asking him if he’d like to pilot the #99 machine around the paperclip for the Fall Martinsville race. Of course, Cale said yes. But let’s rewind a bit to the 2012 NCWTS Season where Cale had a full-time ride with ESR with Rheem has his exclusive sponsor. He ran well that season, it wasn’t his first shot in the NWCTS, but, it was his first full-time season. In the final event of 2012 Cale and crew chief Jerry Baxter pulled off an amazing strategy call, which earned Cale his first and last NCWTS victory. Cale Gale beat Kyle Busch in his own playground, at his own game that night. And, unfortunately even with an emotional victory lane speech and an excellent showing of talent on the track, Gale remained in limbo for the 2013 season.
During the next calendar year, Cale competed almost full time at the famed Bowman Gray Stadium running Sportsman, and winning races. While doing this he also had the birth of his first child, Camber Gale. Cale continued to crew chief and mentor Brandon Jones in ARCA and K&N, while juggling a newborn and helping his father Bubba run their business, Gale Force Suspension Management. He started a couple NCWTS races near the end of the year and had great showings, finishing thirteenth at Kentucky, sixth at Phoenix and tenth at Homestead. But even with having an entire year off, hopping in and showing he can still compete at NASCAR’s highest level, nothing came of it.
Since that 2013 season, Cale has run everything from a 602 Super Limited all the way to a NASCAR Whelen Modified. I had a chance to ask him what exactly is the learning curve from driving all different types of race cars compared to a NASCAR Truck, “A tour type modified does everything it’s supposed to do. Got big ole tires, a real low center of gravity, nice and wide tread width, lightweight, and plenty of motor. A truck is more sluggish. Higher center of gravity, heavier, smaller tires.” But this task is nothing Cale can’t handle, he assured me. During these off years, Cale was hired by Roush Fenway Racing as a shock-man, which as many of you know has Gale written all over it. But recently Cale has been kind of the five-tool player of the RFR shop doing everything from simulations to testing with the team at the track.
Gale told me at this point in his career, he hasn’t raced for points in much of anything since 2003. With that being said, he would love the opportunity to compete for a championship in whatever it may be that he races next. He has pondered the idea of possibly running for a championship at the famed quarter mile, Bowman Gray. But, like most things in his racing career, this isn’t set in stone. He had the chance to tell me it’s “truly humbling and unbelievable to be the guy that can still get that call or text in today’s time.” I asked him if he exceeded expectations this weekend, did he believe anything could come of this opportunity. He simply said, “I do have a slight hope that if I do my job that is possible.” And in today’s racing world, that’s all you need…..one opportunity.