Four Top-10 Finishes for JRM at Charlotte

JR Motorsports | 5/25/2019

Charlotte News XFINITY Series

JRM made the most of a warm, sunny afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Saturday, placing all four cars in the top-10, led by Justin Allgaier's second straight runner-up finish.

Race 11 of 33: Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Fair; 92 degrees
Race Winner: Tyler Reddick

Allgaier's Finish: 2nd
Gragson's Finish: 4th
Annett's Finish: 6th
Burton's Finish: 7th

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier drove the Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise & Ketchup Chevrolet to his second consecutive second-place finish on Saturday afternoon in the Alsco 300. It was his career-best NXS effort at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Allgaier sits fifth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, 126 markers outside of the lead.

Starting the 200-lap race in sixth, Allgaier maintained his position for the first several laps. He relayed to crew chief Jason Burdett that the Hellmann’s Chevy had no right-rear lateral grip and was tight everywhere else. When the caution came out on lap 18, the team opted to stay out and maintain their position. Back under green on lap 24, he drove his way up to fourth, but with the tight-handling condition still plaguing him, he ultimately took the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage One in sixth.

Under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier came to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. He took the green flag for Stage Two in sixth and was in that same position when the caution flag waved on lap 66. The Illinois native reported that the Hellmann’s Camaro had good stability but the adjustments hadn’t helped front turn. Allgaier restarted in sixth and faded back to eighth, but gained positions in the closing laps to end Stage Two in the fifth position.

The team called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment. A fast stop allowed Allgaier to take the green flag for the final stage in the fourth position. He moved his way up to third before another caution flag waved on lap 101. On the restart, Allgaier got stuck in the middle and lost some positions. He continued to race inside the top 10 and was back up to fifth when the caution flag came out with 60 laps to go. Under the yellow, Allgaier made his way to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.

The 32-year-old driver restarted in fourth on lap 147 and was in fifth when a caution came out with 44 laps to go. Allgaier and the team opted to stay out while some of the other lead lap cars pitted. Back under green, he held his own for a while on older tires, but was running in seventh when another caution flag waved. This time the team took the opportunity to pit for four tires and fuel. On the restart, Allgaier drove from 12th up to fourth before the last caution of the day came out on lap 181. Restarting in fourth with 16 laps to go, Allgaier powered his way to second and remained there until the checkered flag waved. The runner-up finish was his fifth top five of the season.

Tyler Reddick won the race and was followed by Allgaier and Jeffrey Earnhardt, with JRM driver Noah Gragson and Justin Haley rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise & Ketchup team

“We weren’t as good as we wanted to be today, but Jason Burdett and the boys did a fantastic job. We had great pit stops. Our Hellmann’s Real Mayonnaise and Ketchup Camaro was fast. The middle part of the run we were really good, but we really needed that fire-off speed and long-run speed. Hats off to Tyler (Reddick). He did a fantastic job. Overall it was a great day. I’m ready to get to Pocono.”

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Cessna Chevrolet Camaro, earned valuable stage points in both Stage One and Two and overcame a pit road penalty late in the final stage to earn a fourth-place finish in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The result is Gragson’s second top-five of 2019 and moves the JR Motorsports driver up to eighth in the championship standings.

Gragson took the green flag for the 200-lap event from the 10th position and fought inside the top 10 throughout the opening stage, racing up to seventh by lap 34 despite reporting to crew chief Dave Elenz that he needed some help with the front turn rolling through the corner. Although not handling to his liking, the driver of the Cessna Chevrolet maintained his track position in the closing laps of Stage One to take the stage-ending caution on lap 45 in seventh, earning four valuable stage points in the process.

Prior to the beginning of Stage Two, Elenz called Gragson to pit road for four tires and an air-pressure adjustment in the hopes of improving the turn in the corner. Returning to the track in fourth following the stop, Gragson continued to battle for position inside the top five and took advantage of a lap 71 restart to drive into the third position. Once inside the top three the Las Vegas native held his own, ultimately taking the green-and-white checkered flag in third and earn an additional eight stage points.

During the stage-ending caution, Elenz called Gragson back to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment, sending Gragson out for the ensuing restart in third. Once back underway, the driver of the Cessna Chevrolet pressed forward, consistently running inside the top three until a lap 140 caution period provided another opportunity to come to pit road for adjustments. However, a penalty during the stop forced Gragson to move to the end of the longest line for the lap 146 restart, meaning that the rookie driver took the green flag in 18th.

Despite the loss of track position Gragson remained unfazed, quickly rejoining the top 15 and was ultimately up to 13th before the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 156. While under caution, the decision was made to go for track position and keep Gragson on the track while a handful of the leaders came to pit road. This decision paid off as the 20-year-old moved up to the fifth position for the lap 162 restart. Although back inside the top five, the fresher tires quickly prevailed and Gragson was shuffled back to 12th before an opportune caution on lap 169 allowed the JRM driver to return to pit road for the final set of sticker tires.

As a result of the stop, Gragson found himself in the 13th position but was able to take advantage of two quick cautions to improve eight positions and rejoin the top five.

Once back in the top five the driver of the Cessna Chevrolet continued to move forward, ultimately gaining one additional position in the final laps to take the checkered flag in fourth.

With the result, Gragson has now earned two top-fives and four top-10s in 2019 and improves to eighth the championship standings.

Tyler Reddick earned the victory, with JRM teammate Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Gragson and Justin Haley rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Cessna team

“What a day for our Cessna team. We fought hard all race long and overcame some adversity and we were able to come home with a really solid finish. I can’t thank everyone enough on this JRM Chevrolet enough. They never gave up all race long and we were able to keep fighting. It made today a lot of fun and hopefully we can keep that going as we head to Pocono.”  

Michael Annett

In the waning laps of Saturday’s Alsco 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Michael Annett made a bold move for the top four on the day’s final restart. The move didn’t work as planned, but the Iowa native did pick up five positions in the remaining laps and ended up with his best career finish on the 1.5-mile speedway.

Restarting the race with 15 laps to go from seventh spot, Annett made a lunge on the apron heading toward Turn 1 as the front of the field scattered for position. The car of Cole Custer was on the low line, right where Annett needed to be to avoid a collision, and he was forced to back off, falling back to 11th by the time the melee sorted itself out coming down the back straightaway. Annett gained two spots in the next two laps and was eighth with 12 laps remaining. He gained another spot to seventh with nine to go and took sixth on lap 194 when Custer had to slow after banging the wall in Turn 2. He finished there, just outside the top five. It was his seventh top-10 finish in 11 races so far this season and four spots better than his previous career-best result (10th  on two occasions) at Charlotte.

Annett qualified his patriotic Memorial Day-themed Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro in the eighth position for the 200-lap event and finished the 45-lap Stage One in the same spot, earning stage points in the process. During the ensuing pit stop, crew chief Travis Mack made an air-pressure adjustment to help a handling condition that saw the front of the car over-rotate and take the rear tires out of the track surface a bit during the run. The Pilot Flying J pit crew gained one spot on the four-tire stop to send Annett back out in seventh place for Stage Two.

Soon after the green flag waved for the start of Stage Two, Annett radioed to Mack that the car needed to be tightened up for restarts. It took nearly 10 laps for the handling to tighten up and Annett had dropped from seventh to 13th in the interim, just in time for a caution to wave for the spinning car of Austin Cindric. On the ensuing restart, Annett’s car remained tight enough to move forward and he regained the top 10 with eight laps remaining in the stage. Two flat tires on rival cars allowed him to finish Stage Two in eighth place for the second time on the day, doubling up on stage points.

Pitting again for tires and a wedge adjustment, the pit crew held serve and sent the Iowa driver back out for the remaining laps in eighth place. A quick caution balked the proceedings for a few laps and on the next restart, Annett was caught in a wild scrum that saw him drop to 14th the first time past the flag stand. After moving up three spots, Annett settled down and began climbing back through the field. He rejoined the top 10 on lap 137 after passing Ryan Sieg and got the chance to come back down pit road four laps later when Jeffrey Earnhardt’s car spun in Turn 4. Mack adjusted air pressure and added fuel, and the crew gained two spots on the stop to vault Annett to sixth for the restart at lap 147. The changes did the trick and Annett was still sixth when the next caution waved at lap 157. Several of the lead cars pitted for their final sets of sticker Goodyear tires on that stop, and Annett moved up to fourth in the transition.

After getting blocked on the restart, Annett fell to ninth spot and clipped the outside retaining wall at each end of the track with no damage before another caution flag waved at lap 171. That allowed him to come down to take his final set of stickers and he would take the green flag in 14th spot with 24 laps remaining in the 200-lap race. He advanced all the way to eighth in just four laps with the new rubber, and was seventh after another caution flag reset the field with 20 to go. That set up the final restart where Annett charged down the inside into Turn 1.

Tyler Reddick won the race over JRM’s Justin Allgaier, with Earnhardt, JRM’s Noah Gragson and Justin Haley in the top five. Annett headed the second five, trailed by JRM’s Jeb Burton, Sieg, Cindric and Brandon Jones.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“We had some good strategy today, and we fought hard for our sixth-place finish. I might have had more than sixth except I lost some track position on that last restart trying to play Evel Knievel. It almost worked, but the 00 car (Cole Custer) waited a little too long to let me back in. That was our first top-10 at Charlotte as a team, and that’s pretty special. Even though we had a couple of weeks off, we were able to maintain our pace and momentum in the Pilot Flying J Memorial Day Chevrolet, and that’s really important for this stretch of the season.”

Jeb Burton

Jeb Burton and the No. 8 State Water Heaters team overcame the heat, radio issues and front-end damage to lock down a seventh-place showing in Saturday’s Alsco 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It was Burton’s second top 10 effort in as many races for JRM this season and gives the No. 8 team its eighth top 10 in 11 events.

Burton fired off in 16th for the start of the 300-mile event and maintained possession of the spot through the opening score of laps, initially reporting to the crew that handling conditions were “loose on landing and tight through the center”. Burton kept on, but just prior to the stage-ending caution a piece of debris caught the right-front of the No. 8 machine that was initially cause for concern. Burton finished out Stage One in 13th.

After coming the attention off his crew for a pit stop, in which they also assessed the minor damage caused by the debris, Burton lined up 13th for the Stage Two restart. Once up to speed, the team learned they now had a radio issue that resulted in the crew being able to communicate with Burton, but, unfortunately, Burton was unable to speak back to team. It was a setback, however the Taylor Moyer-led team reverted to basic hand signals to communicate, which worked well enough.

Laps continued to click away with Burton climbing up to 10th before the No. 8 settled to 13th for the conclusion of Stage Two.

Back on pit road, Burton took the standard dose of four tires and fuel, while the crew made adjustments and tried to get the radio working again. The efforts paid off when Burton’s voice could once again be heard on the radio. By taking the extra time on pit road to get everything right, the team gave up several position and lined up 19th for the lap-100 restart.

When the green-flag waved on the final stage, Burton went to work wheeling his way through traffic, clicking off lap times comparable to the front runners. Two cautions later, the No. 8 was inside the top 10, scored in eighth with 60 laps remaining. Burton didn’t stop there. With cars on varying tire strategies, Burton picked up a handful of positions as others came to pit road under caution, climbing as high as third for a restart with only 23 laps remaining. He was forced to give way to cars with fresher tires after the restart, though still clung to the 10th spot. In the closing laps, Burton netted three positions and took the checkered flag in seventh. 

Tyler Reddick won the race and was followed the line by Justin Allgaier, Jeffrey Earnhardt, Noah Gragson and Justin Haley. 

Jeb Burton, driver No. 8 State Water Heaters team

“I’m happy to come out of here with a seventh-place effort with our State Water Heaters Chevrolet. I think we could have gotten a bit more but the car was too tight toward the end, and I couldn’t roll the middle like I needed to. I appreciate Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and everyone on this No. 8 team’s hard work this weekend. It means a lot. We’ve got some more races coming up and we’ll win one before it’s over with.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • July 27 05:00 PM ET
    U.S. Cellular 250Iowa Speedway
  • August 3 03:00 PM ET
    Zippo 200Watkins Glen International
  • August 10 03:00 PM ET
    B&L Transport 170 at Mid-OhioMid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • August 16 07:30 PM ET
    Food City 300Bristol Motor Speedway
  • August 24 03:00 PM ET
    CTECH Manufacturing 180Road America

XFINITY Series Standings

After ROXOR 200

New Hampshire Motor Speedway | 7/20/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick8120
2Christopher Bell756-56
3Cole Custer736-76
4Justin Allgaier666-146
5Austin Cindric649-163
6Noah Gragson #596-216
7Chase Briscoe #568-244
8Michael Annett567-245