Byron, Allgaier Lead JRM with Top-10 Finishes at Kentucky

JR Motorsports | 7/8/2017

Axalta Elliott Sadler Hellmann's Justin Allgaier Kentucky Michael Annett News OneMain Pilot Flying J Race Report William Byron XFINITY Series

William Byron and Justin Allgaier led the way for JR Motorsports in the rain delayed NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway.

Race 16 of 33: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy, 83 degrees
Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Byron’s finish: 7th
Allgaier’s finish: 8th          
Sadler’s finish: 12th
Annett’s Finish: 16th     

William Byron

William Byron and the No. 9 Axalta/Mansea Metal Chevrolet crossed the finish line seventh in the Alsco 300 on Saturday afternoon. Byron was the highest-finishing rookie and the highest-finishing NASCAR Xfinity Series regular at the conclusion of the event. Following this finish, Byron remains second in the NXS championship standings and is now 45 markers behind teammate Elliott Sadler.

Weather was a factor Friday night and the Alsco 300 was postponed until Saturday afternoon. The Axalta/Mansea Metal Chevrolet rolled off the starting grid fifth for the 300-mile race in Kentucky. As the field took the green flag to start the day’s event, the caution flag was shown for a wreck. Byron was shuffled back on the start and would restart the race from the seventh position. On lap 19, the No. 9 machine was battling with the No. 41 of Kevin Harvick for the 10th position. 

On lap 25, the competition caution was shown. Byron radioed to the team that his car was really good once he was able to get into clean air. The team elected to stay out on track and maintain their position. Byron was scored in the seventh position at the conclusion of Stage One. Crew chief Dave Elenz called Byron to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment to help free up the car. The No. 9 Chevrolet restarted ninth on lap 52 and within eight laps was scored in the sixth position.

Byron reported on lap 85 that his Axalta machine was a tick free throughout the entire run. At the end of Stage Two, Byron was in the sixth position and radioed to the team that his car was free. After Elenz called Byron to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment, the team restarted sixth. On the restart, Byron gained two positions and under caution on lap 102, reported that his car was free in dirty air. The team stayed out on track and restarted fourth on lap 110.

The seventh caution of the day was shown on lap 130 for fluid on the racing surface and Byron reported that his car got tighter as the run went on. The No. 9 car pulled to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and another track-bar adjustment and restarted fourth on lap 137. Byron remained quiet on the radio during the next green-flag run and when the final caution of the day was shown on lap 168, he told the team that his car needed to be tightened up a little bit. Knowing that fuel would be a factor, Elenz called Byron to pit road for right-side tires, fuel and an adjustment to tighten up the car.

The 19-year-old restarted in the seventh position on lap 173 and would maintain that position to bring home his fourth consecutive top-10 finish this season. Kyle Busch won the 200-lap event and was followed by Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Harvick and Ty Dillon.

William Byron, driver No. 9 Axalta/Mansea Metal Chevrolet team

“It was a pretty good run for us today. I think we lacked a little bit, but I feel like we made really good adjustments all day. We were able to get up there on some of the restarts, but ultimately finished seventh. We lacked a little bit of speed, but overall a pretty good day. We will get ready for New Hampshire and come back strong next week.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the Hellmann’s team had a solid day at Kentucky Speedway, finishing eighth in the Alsco 300. The 31-year-old driver’s eighth top-10 finish of the season allows him to remain third in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, just 58 markers outside of the lead.

Allgaier qualified 13th for the 200-lap race, which was postponed until Saturday afternoon due to rain. A caution came out when the field took the green as several cars spun. The race finally got under way on lap 6 and the No. 7 Chevy was running in the 13th position when another yellow came out on lap 9. Under the yellow, Allgaier reported to the team that so far the Hellmann’s Camaro was pretty good. Once back to green on lap 15, Allgaier began gaining positions on the track, ending Stage One in the eighth position.

Under the stage-ending caution, the team made a pit stop for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment after Allgaier relayed that his Chevy was tight center out at both ends of the track. Restarting in 14th on lap 52, the JR Motorsports driver immediately began working his way back towards the top 10, finding himself in seventh on lap 64. He came over the radio to report that the Hellmann’s Chevy was free in and tight off everywhere, but was able to maintain seventh position for the end of Stage Two on lap 90.

The Hellmann’s pit crew made a fast stop under the yellow for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. Allgaier took the green flag in 10th on lap 100, but was loose to start. Running in 14th on lap 102, the car started coming to him and he was back inside the top 10 on lap 121. The caution came out for possible fluid on the track on lap 130 and the team took the opportunity to pit for two right-side tires, fuel and another track-bar adjustment.

Allgaier restarted in sixth on lap 137 and was up to fifth before the No. 18 of Kyle Busch got by him on lap 138. He was running in seventh when another caution came out on lap 168. The Illinois native radioed to the team that the No. 7 Chevy was tight center out. Opting to come down pit road, the crew made a stop for four tires and fuel. Allgaier restarted in 11th on lap 173 and was able to work his way up to eighth before the checkered flag waved.

Busch won the 300-mile race and was followed by Ryan Blaney and Erik Jones, with Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon rounding out the top five. Allgaier was the second-highest-finishing Xfinity Series regular of the race.                                                                                                            

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Hellmann’s team

“It was a pretty solid day for our Hellmann’s team, which we needed. We weren’t blistering fast, but our No. 7 Chevy had a lot of speed when we felt like we should. When you come to these mile-and-a-half tracks, especially repaves, it’s so hard to hit it just right. Everybody at JR Motorsports was working really hard to try to make that happen and I felt like we were doing that. Overall it was a good day.”

Elliott Sadler

Elliott Sadler and the OneMain Financial team finished 12th in the Alsco 300 on Saturday afternoon at Kentucky Speedway. Following the 300-mile rain-delayed event, Sadler continues to hold onto first place in the driver point standings for the 2017 season.

After starting 18th at the 1.5-mile speedway, Sadler was quick to report tight handling on his OneMain Financial Chevrolet, which had plagued the veteran driver during Rounds One and Two of qualifying on Friday afternoon. By the competition caution on lap 25, Sadler drove his way into 12th place. Brett Griffin, the OneMain Financial team spotter, continued to navigate his driver through the field, after the team opted to visit pit road under yellow and restarted 18th. Sadler was back up to 12th place when Stage One concluded on lap 45.

Under the stage-ending caution prior to the start of Stage Two, the No. 1 Chevrolet came to pit road for fuel and an adjustment to loosen it up. With a quick stop by the OneMain Financial pit crew, Sadler restarted the event in fifth. Throughout Stage Two, Sadler and JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Justin Allgaier battled for the highest running position amongst NXS regulars. The trio raced for sixth place as the end of the stage neared. The OneMain Financial Chevrolet ultimately finished Stage Two in the 11th position after reporting the loss of rear grip.

With the right adjustments following Stage Two, Sadler was able to drive his way back into the top eight. It was after the team’s final pit stop of the day on lap 167 where the OneMain Financial driver began to fall back after reporting a vibration. When the race concluded, the No. 1 team was scored in the 12th-place running position.

Kyle Busch crossed the finish line first, followed by Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillion to round out the top five.

Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 OneMain Financial team

“It was hard to know what to expect going into today’s race. We just missed it this weekend. With the repave and the rain, there were a lot of track changes and we missed adapting. The guys worked hard all day long to find the handling on our OneMain Financial Chevrolet that we needed. We’ll move on to New Hampshire.”

Michael Annett

The key word for Michael Annett’s 16th-place finish in Saturday’s Alsco 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Kentucky Speedway was perseverance. From being peripherally involved in a crash as the initial green flag waved to start the 300-mile event to an unplanned pit stop for a vibration, Annett and his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro faced myriad obstacles throughout, but were in the mix for a top-10 finish on the final restart of the day.

Starting the race, which was delayed by rain Friday night, from the 23rd position, Annett was in the same line as Brandon Jones, Brendan Gaughan and Ryan Reed when those three stacked up in front of him on the initial start. Jones and Gaughan collided in the middle of the track as Annett tried to thread his way through the carnage. He nearly made it, but Gaughan’s wounded car slewed left at the last moment and raked the right-side door and rear quarterpanel of Annett’s No. 5. He pitted for repairs and crew chief Jason Stockert sent him back out 37th for the restart.

Gaughan slapped the wall off Turn 2 on the first lap back to green, giving Annett and the team a moment to catch their breath and come down for some additional body work from car chief Jonathan Davis. He was 34th for the next restart, at lap 15 and raced up to 26th in 11 laps before the competition caution waved on lap 25. Annett reported that he was tight in traffic, but OK when in clean air despite the right-side damage. Coming down pit road for the third time, Stockert added fuel and made a track-bar adjustment to help his tight condition at both ends of the repaved, reconfigured 1.5-mile oval. He restarted 20th and finished 24th at the end of Stage 1.

Pitting yet again, this time for four tires, fuel and an air pressure change, Annett hustled the No. 5 Pilot Flying J Camaro off 27th on the Stage 2 green and improved six spots by lap 62, when he reported to Stockert that he had a loose wheel. He brought the car to pit road and got tires, losing a lap in the process, and once he got back out he lost another as the leaders caught up rather quickly. From there, it was a strategy game of getting back on the lead lap before the end of the event.

He got one back at the end of Stage 2 by taking the wave-around, then pitted a lap later after Paul Menard pounded the Turn 2 wall to bring out the caution. Getting four tires and fuel put him back out 26th, in prime position to get back to the free-pass position, six spots ahead of him in 20th. Annett was sitting 21st when the caution waved again on lap 130, one spot off the free pass. Stockert made the call to stay out and take the wave-around again to get back on the lead circuit, and that put Annett 21st for the restart on lap 137.

Annett kept trying to make up ground on the cars ahead, spending the next 30 laps in the 22nd position. Stockert planned to bring Annett in for fuel and tires at lap 172, but Ray Black Jr.’s spin on lap 168 gave him the option of coming in under caution instead. Getting tires and fuel to the end, Annett rejoined the race in 16th spot. With 28 laps remaining, Annett fired off 16th and three laps later he was 12th, the farthest forward he had been all day. As the race wound down, Annett fought for every position but wound up 16th at the end.

Kyle Busch won the race, followed by Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Kevin Harvick and Ty Dillon. Joey Logano was sixth, followed by JRM’s William Byron and Justin Allgaier, Daniel Hemric and Tyler Reddick. Annett’s finish moved him back into the top 10 in NASCAR Xfinity Series points, just four points out of ninth.

Michael Annett, driver No. 5 Pilot Flying J team

“That was an adventure. I was almost out of that crash at the beginning of the race but got hit at the last minute, and the Pilot Flying J team fixed it quickly and we were able to stay on the lead lap. When we got back to racing, the car got tight from the center off at both ends, and Jason (Stockert) and the team made good adjustments. We just battled today. At the end, we were close to the top 10, which would have been awesome, but there were a lot of guys with more tires coming from the back. It was a tough day, but we finished top-16 and got back to 10th in the points. That’s important as the races tick away.”

 

No. 9 Axalta/Mansea Metal Chevrolet Camaro

William Byron

Start

5th

Finish

7th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

39 (0)

Point Standings (from leader)

2nd (-45)

Status

Running

 

No. 7 Hellmann’s Chevrolet Camaro

Justin Allgaier

Start

13th

Finish

8th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

36 (0)

Point Standings (from leader)

3rd (-58)

Status

Running

 

No. 1 OneMain Financial
Chevrolet Camaro
Elliott Sadler

Start

18th

Finish

12th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

25 (0)

Points Standings (from leader)

1st (+45)

Status

Running

 

No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro

Michael Annett

Start

23rd     

Finish

16th   

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

21 (0)

Standings (from leader)

10th (-244)

Status

Running

Articles

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 30 03:00 PM ET
    Drive Sober 200 presented by the DE Office of Highway of SafetyDover International Speedway
  • October 7 03:00 PM ET
    BLUE CROSS BLUE SHIELD OF NORTH CAROLINA DRIVE FOR THE CURE 300Charlotte Motor Speedway
  • October 21 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway
  • November 4 08:30 PM ET
    O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 Texas Motor Speedway
  • November 11 03:30 PM ET
    Ticket Galaxy 200Phoenix International Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300

Kentucky Speedway | 9/23/2017
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Justin Allgaier (P)20570
2Cole Custer # (P)20570
3Elliott Sadler (P)2055-2
4Daniel Hemric # (P)2052-5
5William Byron # (P)2051-6
6Brennan Poole (P)2047-10
7Matt Tifft # (P)2036-21
8Ryan Reed (P)2034-23
11Michael Annett (P)2022-35