Sadler Takes Points Lead and Top-Five from Atlanta; Allgaier Follows in Sixth

JR Motorsports | 2/24/2018

Cessna Elliott Sadler Justin Allgaier Michael Annett Nationwide Children's Hospital News Pilot Flying J Race Report Rinnai Tyler Reddick XFINITY Series

Elliott Sadler took home the points lead after a fifth-place finish in Saturday's race at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Justin Allgaier followed close behind in sixth.

Race 2 of 33: Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.54-mile quad-oval / 163 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick

Sadler’s Finish: 5th
Allgaier’s Finish: 6th
Reddick’s Finish: 19th
Annett’s Finish: 20th

Elliott Sadler

Elliott Sadler and the Cessna team brought home a solid top-five finish in the Rinnai 250 on Saturday afternoon at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After claiming a seventh-place and fourth-place finish, respectively, in the first two stages of the race, Sadler has taken over the points lead in the NASCAR Xfinity Series driver standings.

After advancing into the third and final round of qualifying at the 1.54-mile speedway, Sadler started the day’s event in 10th place. The Emporia, Va., native was quick to report his Cessna Chevrolet as “loose off” just five laps into the 163-lap event. Driving through the tough-handling condition, the No. 1 driver made his way into fourth place by the lap-37 caution. Under yellow, the team elected to pit for four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. With multiple cars opting to remain on track, Sadler restarted in 12th place. With one lap remaining in the first stage, the Cessna Chevrolet drove its way to seventh place—the position in which it would take the green and white checkered flag.

Throughout Stage Two, Sadler battled for a position inside the top three. On lap 72, while running in the fourth position, the veteran driver reported neutral handling of his Camaro and overall likeness. Following the caution-free stage, the Cessna Chevrolet came to pit road for four tires and fuel from the fourth position.

With a quick stop, Sadler restarted the race for the final stage in fourth. Throughout the long green-flag run, Sadler found himself getting loose once again. The Cessna team made a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 126 for fresh tires, fuel and another wedge adjustment. After the pit stops cycled through, Sadler was in fourth place. Remaining focused, Sadler raced among the top five for the final laps of the Atlanta event. When the race concluded, the Cessna team was in fifth, claiming their second top-five finish of the season.

Kevin Harvick took the NXS checkered flag, followed by Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek and Sadler to round out the top five.

Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 Cessna team

“Atlanta is always a challenge trying to manage your tires—it’s fun and it’s slick. My team did a great job of getting my Cessna Chevrolet to where it needed to be with all of the challenges and track changes. We got ourselves points in both stages and a solid finish. With two top fives to kick off the season, my team and I have great momentum heading into Las Vegas.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier powered the No. 7 Rinnai Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish in the Rinnai 250 NASCAR Xfinity Series race on Saturday afternoon. The Illinois native moved up to seventh in the NXS point standings with the team’s solid effort at Atlanta Motor Speedway.

Qualifying 17th for the 163-lap race, Allgaier was trying to begin moving his way up the field when the caution came out on lap 10. He relayed to the team that his Chevy was free in, free off and tight center. Restarting 17th on lap 17 he finally got the chance to work his way closer to the top 10, running in 12th on lap 33. Just a couple laps later another caution flag waved. Crew Chief Jason Burdett called the driver of the Rinnai Camaro down pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. He took the green in 19th and maneuvered his way to 10th by the end of Stage One on lap 40.

When the race got back underway for Stage Two, the 31-year-old driver was scored in the seventh position on lap 48. He slid back to the ninth spot on lap 55, but was able to work his way back up to sixth by the end of the caution-free second stage. Under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier radioed that the Rinnai Chevy was tight on entry into the center and was free center off. The team opted to make a pit stop for fuel, four tires and a wedge adjustment.

The field took the green for the final stage on lap 89 and Allgaier was in the sixth position. He reported he was free off on corner exit and was still racing inside the top 10 when green-flag stops ensued. Burdett had Allgaier come to pit road on lap 126 for four tires and fuel. He was back to the eighth spot once stops had cycled through and began setting his sights on the cars in front of him. Allgaier knocked off two positions to settle into sixth on lap 136, where he remained until the checkered flag waved.

Kevin Harvick won the Rinnai 250 and was followed by Joey Logano and Christopher Bell, with John Hunter Nemechek and Elliott Sadler rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Rinnai team

“Overall it was a solid day. We had a really good Rinnai Camaro SS and obviously wanted to be in Victory Lane, with Rinnai being on the car and also being the entitlement sponsor of the race. After last week and getting crashed, we were trying to rebound on some points and have a good, solid day. We battled our way through. I’m really proud of all the guys back at the shop. They did a great job. We’re going to Vegas with a lot of momentum.”

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 9 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Chevrolet Camaro, ran inside the top 10 throughout the first two stages of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway, earning valuable regular-season points in both stages before sustaining a flat right-rear tire during a long green-flag run in the final stage, ultimately leading to a 19th-place finish.

Reddick took the green flag for the scheduled 163-lap event from the 11th position and wasted little time charging forward, moving into the top 10 for the first time on lap 2 and up to the seventh position before the first caution of the day came out on lap 10. Reddick then used a lap 16 restart to drive into the top five and maintained in this track position until the caution came out once again on lap 37. Crew chief Dave Elenz decided to take advantage of this opportunity to bring the driver of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Camaro to pit road for four fresh tires and a chassis adjustment. Taking the restart with one lap to go in the opening stage in 17th, Reddick improved 12 positions to end Stage One in fifth, earning six valuable stage points.

The Corning, Calif., native continued to fight for position inside the top five throughout the caution-free second stage, running as high as fourth before a tight-handling condition made it difficult to run the yellow line rolling through the corner. Despite being tight, Reddick took the green and checkered flag at the end of Stage Two on lap 80 in the fifth position and once again scored six more valuable stage points.

After pitting for four tires and fuel before the final stage, Reddick took the lap 88 restart in fifth but ultimately settled in to the sixth position before the first round of green-flag pit stops began on lap 126. Returning to the track in sixth, Reddick steadily began to move forward before a flat right-rear tire forced the driver of the Nationwide Children’s Hospital Camaro to make an unscheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 138.

As a result of the unscheduled stop, Reddick returned to the track off of the lead lap in 21st but after utilizing a never give up attitude, rejoined the top 20 in the closing laps to take the checkered flag in the 19th position.

Kevin Harvick went home with the victory with Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemecheck and JR Motorsports teammate Elliott Sadler rounding out the top-five.

Tyler Reddick, driver No. 9 Nationwide Children’s Hospital team

“I want to thank all my guys on this JR Motorsports team for their hard work this weekend. They did a great job all day today with our Nationwide Children’s Hospital Camaro. It’s unfortunate that that flat tire got us. But we will keep fighting and get ready to get after it again next week.”

Michael Annett

A flat tire early in the race and some nose damage later on derailed Michael Annett’s progress in Saturday’s Rinnai 250 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Atlanta Motor Speedway on Saturday. The end result was a 20th-place finish for the Iowa driver in his No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet for JR Motorsports.

After starting 21st, Annett had worked his way to 17th and was on the verge of cracking the top 15 when he called crew chief Jason Stockert on lap 31 to report a “bad vibration” on his Chevrolet. Two laps later, the right rear tire went down and he was forced to pit under green. Annett hit pit road to get more rubber, losing a lap in the process, before NASCAR put out the yellow flag. It worked out OK for the team, however, as Annett got the free pass to get back on the lead lap for the restart, and he finished Stage One in 27th place.

Having already pitted, Annett stayed out during the break and wound up starting Stage Two in 19th place, only to see a bevy of cars get past in the first couple of laps. Annett said earlier that the car lacked grip at both ends of the 1.54-mile Atlanta oval, home to the second-oldest pavement in the series, and it just kept getting looser. Nine laps into Stage Two, Brandon Jones had a similar incident to Annett’s and nearly collected Annett and two other drivers with a quick juke down to pit lane. Annett narrowly missed the collision.

In the meantime, battling in the middle of the pack, Annett clipped the wall in Turn 3 and did damage to the right front of his Pilot Flying J machine. That would prove problematic as the laps wound down. Near the end of Stage Two, leader Kevin Harvick put Annett a lap down with just three laps remaining, and Harvick added another car before it ended to deny Annett the free-pass position. Stockert called his driver to pit road for four tires, wedge and air pressure adjustments on the break, and Annett rejoined the field in 20th spot, still a lap in arrears.

Over the 83-lap final stage, Annett battled an ever-looser car. He was still 21st when he hit pit road again, under the green flag on lap 123, for tires, fuel and air-pressure changes. He rejoined in 27th as green-flag stops continued and shook out in 20th on lap 129. Four laps later, Harvick put him down another lap, and Annett reported that the balance was no better with the changes. Teammate Tyler Reddick had a tire go down with 25 laps to go while running in the top 10 and that advanced Annett to 19th for several laps, but Reddick regrouped and passed Annett for position with 12 laps remaining in the race to put him back to 20th at the finish. Harvick lapped all the way to seventh place by the time the checkered flag waved.

Harvick led 141 of the 163 laps on the way to victory, followed by Joey Logano, Christopher Bell, John Hunter Nemechek and JRM’s Elliott Sadler in the top five.

Michael Annett, driver No. 5 Pilot Flying J team

“It wasn’t the day we expected or wanted here at Atlanta. We had some trouble early with the tire going down and getting us behind, and then we nicked the wall in traffic and did some damage to the right front of the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. We were really loose after that and couldn’t get it any tighter. We’ll take it back to the shop and see what the damage can tell us, and get ready to go to Las Vegas.”

 

No. 1 Cessna Camaro
Elliott Sadler

Start

10th

Finish

5th

Laps Completed (Led)

163 of 163 (0)

Points (Bonus)

43 (0)

Points Standings (from leader)

1st (+4)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 7 Rinnai Camaro
Justin Allgaier

Start

17th

Finish

6th

Laps Completed (Led)

163 of 163 (0)

Points (Bonus)

37 (0)

Point Standings (from leader)

7th (-32)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 9 Nationwide Children’s Hospital Camaro
Tyler Reddick

Start

11th 

Finish

19th 

Laps Completed (Led)

161 of 163 (0)

Points (Bonus)

30 (0)

Point Standings (from leader)

2nd (-4)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 5 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro
Michael Annett

Start

21st    

Finish

20th

Laps Completed (Led)

161 of 163 (0)

Points (Bonus)

17

Standings (from leader)

29th (-62)

Status

Running

 

 

Articles

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300*

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/17/2018
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Daniel Hemric (P)4033-7
4Christopher Bell # (P)4026-14
5Elliott Sadler2255-1785
6Matt Tifft2254-1786
7Justin Allgaier2251-1789
14Michael Annett632-3408