Reddick Sixth at Phoenix, Clinches Championship 4 Berth

JR Motorsports | 11/10/2018

Brandt BurgerFi Elliott Sadler Hunt Brothers Pizza Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Phoenix Pilot Flying J Playoffs Tyler Reddick XFINITY Series

Tyler Reddick brought home a sixth-place finish Saturday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix and will represent JRM in the Xfinity Series Championship 4 next Saturday at Miami.

Race 32 of 33: Whelen Trusted to Perform 200 at ISM Raceway
Track Specs: 1-mile oval / 200 laps
Weather: Sunny; 77 degrees
Race Winner: Christopher Bell

Reddick’s Finish: 6th
Sadler’s Finish: 11th 
Annett’s Finish: 16th
Allgaier’s Finish: 24th

Tyler Reddick

Tyler Reddick, driver of the No. 9 BurgerFi Chevrolet Camaro, clinched a position in the Championship 4 for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs following a sixth-place effort in Saturday afternoon’s event at ISM Raceway. Reddick, who has now finished in the top 10 in six of the last seven races, enters next weekend’s winner-take-all season-finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway as one of just four drivers with an opportunity to win the NXS championship, joining Christopher Bell, Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer. Under the current playoff format, the highest finishing driver among Reddick, Bell, Hemric and Custer at Homestead will earn the championship.

Reddick took the green flag for the penultimate race of the 2018 season from the 14th position after advancing to the second round of knockout qualifying on Saturday morning. After a quick caution on the initial start of the 200-lap event, Reddick took advantage of the long green-flag run that followed to methodically move into the top 10 and up to the ninth position by the completion of Stage One on lap 45. With the stage result, Reddick earned two valuable stage points.

While under the stage-ending caution, crew chief Dave Elenz made the decision to bring the driver of the BurgerFi Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of alleviating a tight-handling condition that had developed. Returning to the track in sixth, Reddick continued to fight for position inside the top 10 throughout the caution-free second stage, despite continuing to fight a slight tight-handling condition rolling through the corner. Although not handling to his liking, Reddick took the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage Two on lap 90 in the seventh position, earning an additional four valuable stage points in the process.

Prior to the beginning of the final stage, Elenz brought Reddick back to pit road for four tires and another chassis adjustment, sending the 22-year old driver back out for the lap 97 restart in the sixth position. The Corning, Calif. native maintained his top-10 track position until a lap 135 caution period provided Elenz with another opportunity to adjust the BurgerFi Chevrolet on pit road. Returning to the track in the fourth position following the stop, Reddick battled with teammate Justin Allgaier and fellow competitor John Hunter Nemechek for position for a number of laps before sustaining some slight damage to the right-front fender while avoiding an incident on lap 144.

After quickly surveying the damage, the decision was made to keep Reddick out on the racetrack in fourth for a lap-149 restart. Then, after getting forced three-wide heading into Turn 1, Reddick slid back to the sixth position and would remain there for much of the green-flag run that followed as Elenz continued to keep the driver of the BurgerFi Chevrolet up-to-date on the ever-evolving points situation.

In the closing laps, with the points situation looking in favor of the No. 9 team, Reddick patiently navigated the 1-mile course, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the sixth position and solidifying the JR Motorsports driver’s place in the Championship 4 next weekend in Homestead.

Heading into next weekend’s season-finale at Homestead, Reddick can clinch the second-consecutive NXS Championship for JRM by being the highest-placed finisher among the Championship 4 contenders.

Bell earned the victory with Hemric, Matt Tift, Austin Cindric and Ryan Preece rounding out the top five.

Tyler Reddick, driver No. 9 BurgerFi team

“I’m really happy for everyone on this BurgerFi team. To accomplish what we set out to do at the beginning of the year and make it to Homestead says so much for everyone here and at the shop at JR Motorsports. We battled hard today and never gave up and did what we needed to do to ensure our place in the Championship 4 next week at one of my favorite tracks. I had been saying since Daytona that if we can just get to Homestead we would have a really good shot to win this championship. I’m really looking forward to getting there and having this opportunity to win the championship.”

Elliott Sadler

Elliott Sadler and the Hunt Brothers Pizza team took the checkered flag in 11th place on Saturday afternoon at ISM Raceway in the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200. With playoff contender Christopher Bell taking the checkered flag, who was originally below the Championship 4 cutline, Sadler was bumped into the fifth position in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings.

After advancing into the third and final round of qualifying, Sadler started at the 1-mile oval in sixth. It was only 13 laps into the event that the veteran driver reported ill-handling on his No. 1 Chevrolet.  Remaining focused, the Hunt Brothers Pizza driver held onto the top 10 before contact was made with the No. 40 car, causing right-front damage to Sadler’s Camaro. It wasn’t until the stage end that the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet came down pit road four tires, adjustments and repairs. When the first stage did conclude, the No. 1 team was in the 11th-place running position.

Stage Two brought a similar fight for Sadler and his JR Motorsports team. The Virginia native was able to make his way back into the top 15 after handling improvements and repairs to the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet following the two pit stops made between stages. However, on lap 72, Sadler reported his Chevrolet was beginning to grow tighter and tighter as the run continued. Crew chief Kevin Meendering responded with words of encouragement and informed his driver that his team was going to take a bigger swing at the adjustments. When the stage-ending caution was displayed on lap 90, Sadler was in 16th place.

Before the final stage of the race began, Meendering made the call to bring Sadler down pit road for the teams planned adjustment, fresh tires and fuel. With a quick stop, the Hunt Brother Pizza team restarted 15th and raced their way back into the top 10 by lap 153. Through a series of cautions, Sadler remained on track, holding his position. The Hunt Brothers Pizza team relayed to Sadler that they were one point to the good if the No. 20 of Bell did not win. Sadler did what he needed to do, staying in his current points position, but with Bell earning the victory the driver fell below the cutline. Ultimately, when the race concluded, Sadler and the Hunt Brothers Pizza team were scored in the 11th position.

Bell won the Round of 8 finale and was followed by Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, Austin Cindric and Ryan Preece to round out the top five.

Elliott Sadler, driver No. 1 Hunt Brothers Pizza team

“I’m really disappointed. My guys deserve to be there at Homestead in contention for the championship. JR Motorsports did a great job all season long, putting great work into our Chevrolets. We’ll still go to Homestead and fight for the win in our last race as a team. Missing this year’s championship run, it’s on me.”

Michael Annett

Michael Annett was on pace for a top-10 finish Saturday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix until contact with the wall on the exit of Turn 2 at the newly reconfigured 1-mile oval on a late restart derailed his day. After starting 13th in the Pilot Flying J Chevy, Annett came home 16th in the Whelen Trusted to Perform 200, the penultimate race of the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series season.

Battling a loose condition early, Annett showed strength and consistency throughout Stage One. The Iowa driver fell back to 14th after an early restart but maintained the spot throughout the 45-lap opening stage before bringing his Camaro to pit road at the conclusion of Stage One. The Travis Mack led crew raised the trackbar by one round and bolted on four new tires and filled the car with fuel and sent Annett on his way.

He would restart the second stage in 13th after gaining a spot on pit road and reported the adjustments were a bit too much from the previous pit stop, now reporting his Chevy was a bit too tight and needed help rolling through the corner. Annett moved up to 11th by the end of the second stage on Lap 90 before coming to pit road for tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment. His Pilot Flying J crew picked up two spots during the stop, vaulting him to 9th for the start of the final stage.

Annett would maintain a spot in the top-10 over the next 50 laps before his day took an unfortunate turn. On a Lap 149 restart, Annett got out of the groove exiting Turn 2 and made contact with the wall, suffering damage to the right side of his Camaro and falling back to the 23rd position.

Mack brought Annett to pit road to assess the damage and pull the fenders away and sent him back on track hoping to gain as many positions possible before the race’s conclusion. Annett would climb back to 16th by Lap 180 where he would eventually take the checkered flag.

Christopher Bell won the race, followed by Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, Austin Cindric and Ryan Preece. JRM teammate Tyler Reddick, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer, John Hunter Nemechek and Spencer Gallagher rounded out the top-10 finishers. The 2018 season concludes next Saturday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Michael Annett, driver No. 5 Pilot Flying J team

“Our finish today doesn’t show how good the Pilot Flying J Chevy really was. Our guys had a great day on pit road today and picked up a bunch of spots throughout the race. We got out of the groove there and got into the wall and that set us back late. I’m proud of what we’re doing and proud to carry the red, white and blue colors here on Veteran’s Day Weekend. We’ll go to Homestead and finish the season strong.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the No. 7 team had a fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway, sweeping the first two stages and leading 69 laps. However, right-front damage sustained during the final stage and subsequent brake issues forced the team to a 24th-place finish, putting an end to their bid for a spot in the Championship 4 for the NXS Playoffs.

Entering Saturday, the No. 7 team was 12 points below the cutoff line for the final round of the NXS Playoffs and they knew that they needed a near-perfect race in order to advance. The day started off on the right track with Allgaier qualifying fourth for the 200-lap race. With the race underway, Allgaier was running in second on lap 7 when he reported that the No. 7 Chevy was a little free. Still, he continued his surge forward, taking over the lead on lap 21 from the No. 42 of John Hunter Nemechek. He remained there to win Stage One on lap 45. Under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier relayed that the BRANDT Chevy was tight through the center and loose on entry. The team called the JRM driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.

Taking the green for Stage Two on lap 54 from the second position, Allgaier wasted no time retaking the lead. He continued to pace the field for the remainder of the caution-free Stage Two to claim his second stage win of the day. Allgaier had relayed during the run that the BRANDT Camaro was free into Turn 3, tight through the center of the turns and lacking grip off of Turn 2, so crew chief Jason Burdett called him to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment.

Allgaier started the final stage in fifth on lap 98 and was up to third by lap 127. He reported to the team that he was starting to lose overall grip and was running in fourth when the caution flag waved on lap 136. Allgaier came down pit road for four tires and fuel, but the sun made it hard for the driver to see and he had trouble sliding into his pit box. The incident caused him to lose spots on pit road and he restarted in eighth on lap 143. He was working his way towards the front when the No. 42 slid sideways across the track, making contact with the BRANDT Camaro and causing heavy damage to the right front.

Under the caution, Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for repairs. He restarted in 21st  on lap 150, but charged his way back inside the top 10 in a hurry. He was up to ninth when another caution came out on lap 155 and reported that his brakes were starting to fade after the damage to the right front. Back under green, he continued to gain positions, but the condition started to worsen on the No. 7 Chevrolet as the run went on and Allgaier began to drop back. Burdett told Allgaier to do what he could to hold on to it in the closing laps and the driver of the No. 7 ultimately took the checkered flag in 24th.

Christopher Bell won the race, clinching a spot in the Championship 4. He was followed by Daniel Hemric, Matt Tifft, Austin Cindric and Ryan Preece to round out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“It’s extremely disappointing (to miss the Championship 4), but we did everything we could do in the first two stages. We had a really fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro. We had a lot of trouble today seeing our pit stall. It was really difficult to see where we were at and navigate that and I lost us some spots on pit road. Ultimately, that put ourselves in a bad position. We got some damage and we lost the brakes there at the end. At that point it was just about survival, finishing the race and getting as many points as we could gain.”

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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