Gragson, Allgaier Recover From Spins for Top 10s at Mid-Ohio

JR Motorsports | 8/10/2019

Brandt Cessna Fire Alarm Services Justin Allgaier Michael Annett Mid-Ohio News Noah Gragson Regan Smith TMC XFINITY Series

Noah Gragson and Justin Allgaier recovered from early spins to post top-10 finishes on Saturday for JRM at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the second road course race of 2019.

Race 21 of 33: B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
Track Specs: 2.258-mile road course / 75 laps
Weather: Fair; 76 degrees
Race Winner: Austin Cindric      

Gragson's Finish: 5th
Allgaier's Finish: 6th
Annett's Finish: 13th
Smith's Finish: 21st

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Cessna Chevrolet Camaro, rebounded from heavy damage sustained during a lap 36 incident in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to earn a fifth-place finish. The result is Gragson’s second top-five in the last three NXS races and his 10th top-10 in the last 11 races dating back to Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. The JR Motorsports driver has also increased his point advantage over the 12th and final playoff position to 134 points with five races remaining in the regular season.

Gragson lined up for the 75-lap event from the eighth position and wasted little time moving forward, taking advantage of a lap 6 restart following an early caution to drive up to seventh. Gragson’s climb toward the front continued throughout the long green-flag run that followed, as crew chief Dave Elenz opted to work with some strategy and keep the driver of the Cessna Chevrolet on-track while a number of the leaders came to pit road. The strategy call to stay out proved beneficial as Gragson worked his way into the top five in the closing laps of the opening stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 40 in the second position. The stage result also earned Gragson nine valuable stage points. 

During the stage-ending caution, Elenz called Gragson to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment after the driver of the Cessna Chevrolet reported that he was tight rolling through the distinct corners of Mid-Ohio. After taking the lap 23 restart in 16th due to a variety of pit strategies, the Las Vegas native charged forward, needing only five laps to move back into the top 10 before the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 28. Gragson remained inside the top 10 through two additional cautions before contact following a lap 36 restart sent the 21-year-old driver for a spin that ultimately resulted in damage to both the right-front and back bumper of the Cessna Chevrolet.

After pitting numerous times for repairs during the caution that ultimately ended Stage Two, Gragson was forced to additionally serve a pass-through penalty once the final stage began. The penalty was due to not being able to get all the way to the very rear of the field once the race was back under way because of Gragson initially pitting while pit road was closed for repairs. Undaunted by the penalty, Gragson persevered and pressed forward, utilizing only 11 laps to move the Cessna Chevrolet from 26th to the 10th position.

Gragson continued his march back through the field following a lap 56 caution that saw the rookie-of-the-year contender take just six laps to rejoin the top-five. Gragson maintained his top-five track position for the final 11 laps, battling with Tyler Reddick and AJ Allmendinger before taking the checkered flag in the fifth position.

With the result, Gragson has now recorded a top-10 finish in 10 of the last 11 NXS races and a top-five finish in two of the last three.

Austin Cindric scored the victory, with Christopher Bell, Allmendinger, Reddick and Gragson rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Cessna team

“We overcame a ton of adversity today with our Cessna Chevrolet. We had to come from the back twice and fight our way back to the front. I can’t thank all these guys on this JR Motorsports team enough. We continue to show that we will never give up and it paid off with us coming home with a top-five finish. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going and have another strong weekend next week in Bristol. I’m already ready to get there.”  

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier’s hopes of repeating his 2018 victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course were riding high at lap 37, but a spin in Turn 2 on the 2.258-mile course put him behind the curve. The Illinois native recovered nicely, however, and drove his BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish in the B&L Transport 170 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines on Saturday afternoon. It was his sixth consecutive top-10 finish and 14th of the season.

Allgaier lined up eighth for the initial start and wasted no time moving forward, picking up a position to seventh on the first lap. He stayed there as the 20-lap Stage One ticked by. With three laps remaining in Stage One, crew chief Jason Burdett called his driver to pit road for four tires and fuel, and after a swift stop from his BRANDT Professional Agriculture crew, Allgaier went back out in 20th position. The final two circuits netted an 18th-place finish at the end of the stage.

Staying on track while the rest of the field pitted, Allgaier cycled up to third position for the Stage Two restart, behind leader Austin Cindric and second-place Christopher Bell. All three cars were on a similar strategy. When the green flag waved, Allgaier maintained third place before Jack Hawksworth began to cut into his lead. Hawksworth took third place from Allgaier under braking, which pushed Allgaier back to fourth, where he stayed until the caution flag waved for a car off-course. The ensuing restart was action-packed, as several cars made contact with each other and resulted in a yellow-flag period that lasted until lap 36, four laps shy of the Stage Two conclusion.

On the ensuing restart, Allgaier drove down into Turn 2 on the inside line and spun in fluid left from the previous caution. That put him 22nd for the short run to the green-checkered flag, and his problems were compounded by the pit lane being closed until a lap past the Stage Two conclusion. When he finally was able to come into the pits for four more tires and fuel, he had advanced to 14th position. Burdett had planned to bring Allgaier back down with one lap to go to add a splash of fuel for the run to the finish, but the one-to-go signal came out before that could happen, and he was forced to stay on the track.

Restarting from the outside of the 10th row in 20th, Allgaier put his No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet on blast. He gained five positions in the first lap of green-flag racing and three more over the next two to run 12th. He cracked the top 10 on lap 47 by passing two cars in Turns 4 and 5, and a lap later passed JRM teammate Michael Annett at Turn 7 to sit eighth with 27 laps remaining in the event. He was still eighth seven laps later when the yellow waved again for a two-car crash. Hitting pit road on lap 57 for his last set of tires and fuel to the end, Allgaier exited in 14th position and started the race to the front all over again.

Taking the green flag with 16 laps to go, Allgaier advanced six positions in the first two laps to run eighth again, then passed for seventh a lap later. Stalking sixth-place Chase Briscoe, Allgaier passed him into Turn 4 with 10 to go and held sixth place to the finish.

Cindric won the event, followed by Bell, AJ Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick and JRM’s Noah Gragson in the top five. Allgaier led the second five, followed by Briscoe, Cole Custer, Justin Haley and Brandon Jones.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“There were a lot of different strategies going on today and we had a good one going. We just didn’t have enough. We had good track position in the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet and just spun. That really hurt. We didn’t have the raw speed that we needed. We needed to beat them by not making mistakes, and I made a mistake. It’s frustrating. We had held pace all day and did what we needed to do to have a good day, had a good day in the pits. We’ll wait a couple of weeks and go do it again at Road America.”

 

Michael Annett

Making his 250th Xfinity Series start, Michael Annett and the No. 1 TMC Transportation team earned a solid points day by leading a lap, keeping their nose clean and bringing home a 13th-place finish in Saturday’s event at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.

Annett rolled off in 21st for the event. From the onset, Annett charged forward. He relayed to the team early on that the No. 1 car was “real tight but it was slowly coming in”. Annett was up to 15th by the race’s first caution on lap five. He flirted among the top 20 through the course of the opening stage, and found seventh for the conclusion of Stage One as other competitors elected to pit under green.

Annett used the stage-ending caution to come to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help the car’s handling. He lined up the TMC Transportation Chevrolet in 17th for the Stage Two restart. Once up to speed, Annett radioed that the change was “definitely a gain”.

Following two quick cautions over the course of the next 10 laps or so, the No. 1 team debated on whether or not to take advantage and come down pit road. Ultimately, the call was made to pit and Annett took on four tires and fuel. This placed him in 28th for the ensuing restart with four laps to go in Stage Two. As the field took the restart into Turn 2, several cars got loose and spun in residual oil from a previous caution. Annett swerved to avoid the carnage and made it through, but took away debris on the grille of the No. 1 machine. He’d finish out Stage Two in 15th.

Under the stage-ending caution, Annett pitted once more. This time for fuel only and for the crew to remove the debris from the nose of the TMC Transportation Chevrolet. Such a brief stop allowed Annett to leapfrog several positions on pit road and take the restart for the final stage in sixth. Annett moved into the lead on lap 43rd but settled back to ninth 10 laps later.

A caution on lap 58 gave the No. 1 team another opportunity to tweak on their car. Annett took four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment. He took the restart in 13th. Focused on a solid points day in the closing laps, Annett wisely didn’t press the issue and took the checkered flag in 13th.

Austin Cindric won the race. He was followed to the line by Christopher Bell, A.J. Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick and Noah Gragson. 

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 TMC Transportation Chevrolet team

“My TMC Transportation team did a good job all weekend. I put us in a hole on Friday in practice by spinning in the sand trap, but we rebounded from that nicely today. The guys did a solid job on pit road and with the changes. Mid-Ohio is a tough track, and I learned a few things to take to the next road course race.”

 

Regan Smith

Regan Smith and the No. 8 Fire Alarm Services team endured an up-and-down day in Saturday’s B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the Xfinity Series. Smith ran among the top 10, even leading a lap by way of pit strategy, but the caution the team banked on in the closing laps never came, leaving Smith to salvage a 21st-place finish.

The race marked Smith’s return to a JR Motorsports entry for the first time since 2016. After earning a 12th-place starting spot, the team had to drop to the rear of the field for brake repairs after qualifying. It left Smith and the team fighting an uphill battle from the get go.

He wasted little time moving forward. By the first caution he ran in 22nd. When the field settled into green-flag racing again, Smith gained seven more positions to 15th just before ducking onto pit road for a scheduled green-flag stop prior to the stage-ending caution. The Fire Alarm entry finished out Stage One in 26th but as competitors pitted several laps later, the No. 8 cycled to seventh for the Stage Two restart.

Battling a loose condition with the rear of the car, Smith maintained that spot for the bulk of Stage Two. The field slowed for two quick cautions, one which dropped an abundance of oil into Turns 1 and 2. With Smith in eighth, the field thundered back up to speed and into Turn 2 several cars lost grip, initiating a chaotic scrum that had multiple cars spinning and a dozen competitors dodging the melee. Smith took minor left-front damage and dropped to 11th as result, finishing out Stage Two there.

After pitting for four tires and fuel, Smith took the green flag for the final stage in 17th. More minor contact saw him slip to 19th, commenting that the car was still too loose to make much headway. A caution on lap 58 with the No. 8 running 13th, left Smith and crew chief Taylor Moyer to elect to stay out, choosing track position over fresh tires. “We might as well see what we’ve got in clean air,” Smith said of the call. The team fully expected another caution in the closing laps that would allow them pit for fresh rubber. Unfortunately, it never came.

Smith led the field to the restart but quickly had to give way to cars with newer tires. He eventually slipped back to ninth. Then, the Fire Alarm Services entry tangled with the No. 4 of and the two spun out in the carousel. The No. 8 dropped to 21st as a result, where Smith took checkered flag several laps later.

Austin Cindric won the race. He was followed to the line by Christopher Bell, A.J. Allmendinger, Tyler Reddick and Noah Gragson. 

Regan Smith, driver No. 8 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet team

“It was great getting to come back to Mid-Ohio and drive for JR Motorsports. It was certainly an interesting weekend. We had to go to the rear for the start because we had some brake issues after qualifying that needed worked on. But it was a blast driving back up through the field.

“We just struggled too much with the handling today. Early on, it felt like the car was out of the track and the back was really loose. I liked the call to stay out, but without a caution, it didn’t work out so well. A big thanks to all the guys on this No. 8 team for their hard work all weekend and to the folks from Fire Alarm. It was awesome running their car today.”

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • August 24 03:00 PM ET
    CTECH Manufacturing 180Road America
  • August 31 04:00 PM ET
    Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200Darlington Raceway
  • September 7 03:00 PM ET
    Indiana 250Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • September 14 07:30 PM ET
    Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • September 20 07:30 PM ET
    Go Bowling 250Richmond Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway | 8/16/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick9780
2Christopher Bell924-54
3Cole Custer839-139
4Justin Allgaier819-159
5Austin Cindric785-193
6Chase Briscoe #742-236
7Noah Gragson #728-250
8Michael Annett695-283