Donate to Racing to End Alzheimer's now, and start changing lives!

Donate Now!

Home is Where the Track Is

Posted on: May 5, 2022

In Categories: News & Updates Race results Updates

2022 IMSA Michelin Pilot Challenge
WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca 120
Monterey, California
Saturday, April 30, 2022

This past weekend, the Racing to End Alzheimer’s/Hardpoint team joined the rest of the IMSA racing world as it descended upon Monterey’s WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca. For many, the track is yet another challenging stop on a circuit designed to test the best drivers in the world.

But for Nick Galante, this sun-soaked asphalt that winds through rolling California hills is more than that. It’s a place that he’s returned to year after year, race after race, victory after loss. It’s where his driving career began, and where he has achieved some of the highest points of his career. For Nick Galante, Laguna Seca is home, and he showed us what that means this weekend.

Blistering Ascent

During qualifying, Galante put in a very respectable run, laying down a lap fast enough for a 10th place start. However, a miscommunication caused the team to turn in the data stick for the No.22 car late, leading to a post-qualifying penalty levied by IMSA officials. The costly error put the Racing to End Alzheimer’s/Hardpoint car in last place for Saturday’s race. Standing between the No.22 and the podium would be the entire GS field.

Starting the race from 28th, Nick rocketed off the line like he had no time to waste. Confidence on this track translated into perfect turns, high-speed straightaways and 4 positions picked up in just the first lap. 20 minutes into the race, a full course caution flag came out and a number of teams went into the pits. Electing to stay out on the track, the No.22 jumped 9 places coming out of the caution.

From 8th place, Galante bore down hard. He passed 3 more cars on his way to 5th, a feat made even more impressive given his unenviable position on the track. Due to the decision not to pit, the No.22 was running off sequence in relation to many of the class leaders. This built up a train of four cars on Galante’s heels, all challenging him on faster tires.

It was high-speed, high stakes racing at its finest, and Nick’s prowess shone through. After holding his pursuers off for the last leg of his stint, Galante tore into the pits to hand the car off to Sean McAlister.

Racing Against Time

Sean McAlister emerged from the pit lane with just an hour to work the No.22 up from 19th place. Almost immediately, he found himself in the mix. With cars aggressively screaming into the brake zones all around him, McAlister kept his composure and consistency. His methodical driving picked up a few positions before he emerged from a pitched battle with a spin at the Corkscrew. Though not disastrous, the spin cost the No. 22 some hard-earned spots, and the team finished the race in 19th position.

The weekend ended with the team feeling as though it just needed a little more time on the track. After a hobbled start, there was a distinct sense of progress and possibility with each passing lap.

Both drivers put in quality runs, and the No.22 was breathing down the necks of the rest of the field when time just ran out. Though the two heart-pumping hours at Laguna Seca didn’t produce a podium finish, the momentum being built by this scrappy team is palpable.

Stay tuned for the race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on May 14. We think it’s gonna be a good one.

Next up: Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, Mansfield, OH, May 14