Gragson and Annett lead the JRM Charge at The Lady in Black

9/5/2020

Brandt Daniel Hemric Darlington Raceway Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Oreo Pilot Flying J Poppy Bank Race Report Unilever XFINITY Series

Noah Gragson and Michael Annett were the top JRM finishers with a pair of top-eights during NASCAR throwback weekend at Darlington Raceway.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

 

Race 23 of 33: Sport Clips VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway

Track Specs: 1.366-mile oval / 147 laps

Weather: Cloudy; 84 degrees

Race Winner: Brandon Jones

 

Gragon's finish: 7th 
Annett's finish: 8th 
Allgaier's finish: 31st 
Hemric's finish: 37th 


Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Unilever United For America Chevrolet, finished seventh in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 at Darlington Raceway. Gragson started the race from the 14th position after the lineup was set by a mathematical equation set by owner’s points, finishing position and fastest lap from the week prior. Gragson overcame a spin in Stage Two to earn his 16th top-10 finish of the 2020 season.

 

Stage One Finish: 5th

Gragson fired off from the 14th position after the lineup was set by a mathematical equation earlier in the week for the 147-lap event. The 22-year-old gained six positions before the first caution flew on lap 2. The team decided not to pit during this time and used the choose cone to restart from inside of the third row. Gragson drove into the top five before the scheduled competition caution came out on lap 20. Opting to stay out during this caution, Gragson chose to restart from the bottom once again and restarted from inside the second row. Falling as low as seventh during the lengthy green flag run that followed, Gragson was able to drive his Unilever United For America Chevy back within the top five on lap 41 and remain there until the green-and-white checkered flag flew on lap 45. The fifth-place stage finish earned Gragson six stage points to begin the day.

 

Stage Two Finish: 11th

The driver of the No. 9 Unilever United For America Camaro decided to pit for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to alleviate a problem with the splitter making contact with the racing surface prior to the start of Stage Two. On the ensuing restart, Gragson chose to line up from the high side of the 1.366-mile oval which put him on the outside of the third row. The second stage went caution-free and Gragson stayed within his top-five position until the final lap of the stage when the No. 9 got sideways in the middle of Turns 3 and 4 and spun down to the bottom of the track. Escaping the incident without sustaining any damage, the driver of the No. 9 Chevy came across the finish line on lap 90 in the 11th position.

 

Final Stage:  

Crew chief Dave Elenz called Gragson to pit road during the final stage break for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help tighten the Chevy up during the run. Choosing the outside, Gragson restarted from the top of the fifth row. A yellow flag flew on lap 101 as the No. 9 had made up one position during the short stint. Although only seven laps had been completed, Gragson came to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to tighten the car up a little more. Varying strategies during the caution saw Gragson restarting from the inside of row eight. After three more circuits were complete the caution came back out and Gragson reported that the Unilever United For America Chevy had gone too tight and feared the car was back on the splitter. The team came back to pit road for a chassis adjustment but decided not to take tires, lining Gragson up on the inside of row six for the forthcoming restart.

 

The field slowed to a stop on lap 119 as the red flag flew for a lengthy cleanup from a car leaking fluid with Gragson working his way to ninth before the stoppage. Choosing the bottom for the ensuing restart, Gragson was able to drive to seventh where he would ultimately finish the 147-lap event, earning his 16th top-10 finish of the 2020 season.

 

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9  Unilever United For America Camaro SS

“Dave Elenz and the JR Motorsports group brought me a fast Unilever United For America Camaro today and I can’t thank them enough. We struggled briefly in Stage One because the splitter was hitting the ground and then it seemed like we may have went too far in the final stage on an adjustment and it started doing it again, but they got it fixed up and we were able to drive towards the front. I wish we could have won the race and had Unilever donate an extra $50,000 to the Darlington community to help fight hunger, but we gave it our all and I can’t hang my head on that. I am looking forward to getting back to Richmond next weekend!

 


Michael Annett

Michael Annett drove a heady, solid race on Saturday at Darlington Raceway, guiding his throwback-themed No. 1 OREO Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to an eighth-place finish in the Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines on the 1.366-mile oval. It was his 11th top-10 finish in the last 12 races, and the result moved him 251 points clear of the playoff cut line with just three races remaining in the regular season.

 

Stage One Finish: 8th    

Annett started the 147-lap event from seventh position on the less-favored inside line, dropping four positions once the green flag waved to begin the race. Sorting out his Chevrolet over the next 18 laps, Annett told crew chief Travis Mack he could not turn down off Turn 2 on exit but did not stop at the lap-20 competition caution. As has been his habit at Darlington, Annett gained speed in the later stages of a run and that was the case on Saturday. With 15 laps remaining in the 45-lap Stage One, Annett passed Brett Moffitt at lap 30, passed Harrison Burton for ninth on lap 41 and gained one more spot to eighth before the green-checkered flag waved to end it. With the result, Annett banked three more stage points toward his season total. On the stage break, Annett pitted for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help his turn off the critical Turn 2.

 

Stage Two Finish: 8th     

Firing off from eighth position for the 45-lap Stage Two, Annett again held position in the top 10, and his lap times matched those of the leaders during that span. At lap 74, Annett passed JRM teammate Justin Allgaier for ninth place and kept driving forward as the laps dropped away. On the final lap of Stage Two, several cars, including JRM teammate Noah Gragson, crashed in Turn 3, allowing Annett to move up to eighth at the finish and collect another three stage points. Under caution, Annett radioed to Mack that his car was getting looser as the run went on, especially off Turn 2 when dealing with the bumps in the car and again off Turn 4. Mack responded with four tires, fuel and another chassis adjustment to help his driver at both ends of the track. On the pit stop, the pit crew cranked off a blazing-fast stop and earned three positions on the exchange, putting Annett fifth for the start of the final segment.

 

Final Stage:

Annett took the green flag in fourth position to begin the final stage and was seventh at lap 103 when another caution slowed the action. Several of the cars ahead of him took the opportunity to hit pit road for another set of tires, including Chase Briscoe, Gragson and Burton. When the green waved again, Annett’s OREO-themed Pilot Flying J Chevrolet and its 2002 Dale Earnhardt Jr. Daytona-winning colors raced away from fifth position only to see the yellow wave again at lap 110. Mack called his driver to pit road for four tires and fuel on the following lap, sending Annett back out in 15th place. When the green waved again, Annett made up five positions in three laps and was moving forward when leader Briscoe spun entering Turn 1 after hitting fluid dropped by another car. The resulting caution—and nearly nine-minute red flag for cleanup--saw Annett gain a couple more positions to sixth for the restart with 21 laps remaining.

 

Over the remaining distance, Annett diced in the top eight until the checkered flag to post his 14th top-10 finish in 23 races. Brandon Jones won the race, topping Ross Chastain, Ryan Sieg, Riley Herbst and Denny Hamlin. Burton led the second five, with JRM’s Noah Gragson, Annett, Timmy Hill and Myatt Snider rounding out the top 10.

 

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Oreo / Pilot Flying J Chevrolet team

“We had a good OREO Pilot Flying J Chevrolet today, and I think we won the paint-scheme battle here at Darlington. This track is tough to handle at times, and in the last segment I had to run a lot lower off Turn 2 to make any kind of speed. We had a good strategy today and our Pilot Flying J pit crew gained us a lot of positions on pit road, so all in all it was a good day from everyone. We’re consistent and the closer we get to the playoffs, that’s going to pay off. “


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team overcame mid-race mechanical issues to battle back for a 31st-place finish in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway. After multiple right-front tire issues, the team ultimately made the call to head to the garage for repairs during the race’s second stage. Allgaier made it back out on the track 12 laps down in the 34th position and was able to gain multiple positions before the checkered flag waved. The 34-year-old driver is locked into the 2020 NXS Playoffs and currently sits seventh in the point standings.

 

Stage One Finish: 10th

Allgaier rolled off the grid in the 16th position and wasted little time advancing is position, driving to 10th before the caution came out on just the second lap. He relayed under the yellow that the BRANDT Camaro was snappy loose on late exit.

 

The JR Motorsports driver restarted in seventh and was racing in that same position when the competition caution came out on lap 20. Opting to stay out, Allgaier restarted in fifth on lap 26. After falling back to sixth, he reported that the No. 7 Camaro was tight across the center of the turns and really loose on entry and exit. As the run went on, Allgaier battled hard but continued to drop positions and was ultimately scored in 10th at the end of the first stage. Under the stage-ending caution, the team made a stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help the tough-handling condition on the No. 7 BRANDT Camaro.

 

Once the stop was complete, the team noticed that the right-front tire that came off the car had started coming apart, which would have played a major role in the ill handling that the BRANDT Camaro suffered from during the first stage.

 

Stage Two Finish: 34th

Allgaier lined up just inside the top 10 for the start of Stage Two on lap 51 and was running in the ninth position on lap 74 when he radioed to the team that he was having another tire issue. He came to pit road the next lap for four fresh tires and when he went back out on the track he relayed that the car was down on the splitter.

 

Crew chief Jason Burdett directed Allgaier to take the BRANDT Camaro to the garage so the team could find and repair the mechanical issue causing the problems with the right front of the car. The team quickly went to work and got Allgaier back out on the track 12 laps down, just as Stage Two had concluded.

 

Final Stage:

When the green flag waved to start the final stage on lap 96, Allgaier was scored in the 34th position. Multiple cautions plagued the last segment of the race and Allgaier was able to race smart and avoid the melee in the closing laps to bring the BRANDT Camaro home in the 31st position.

 

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet

“Today was a long day for our BRANDT Professional Agriculture team. We had been looking forward to coming back here after having such a strong run in the spring, but unfortunately we had a mechanical issue. The guys were able to repair it and got us back out on the track, but we’ll still go back and take a closer look at things when we get it back to the shop. I’m looking forward to getting to Richmond next week for the doubleheader and seeing what we can do there. Hopefully the bad luck is behind us.”


Daniel Hemric

Paying homage to the life and legacy of John Andretti during Darlington Raceway’s throwback weekend, Daniel Hemric entered Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event looking to build off of a strong sixth-place finish in the series most recent event at the track “Too Tough To Tame” in May. Taking the green flag from the 15th position, Hemric quickly worked his way forward in his Poppy Bank Chevrolet designed to emulate the car Andretti drove during the 1995 and 1996 NASCAR Cup Series seasons. However, Hemric’s charge to the front was halted when contact with a car on the inside line knocked the JR Motorsports driver sideways, sending Hemric hard into the inside retaining wall and badly damaging the nose of the Poppy Bank Camaro. After a brief visit to pit road, the team realized that the damage was too severe to continue, ending Hemric’s afternoon early and ultimately resulting in a 37th-place finish.

 

Stage One Finish: 37th   

Hemric lined up for the scheduled 147-lap event from the 15th position after the field was set via NASCAR’s new formula earlier in the week. From the drop of the green flag the driver of the Poppy Bank John Andretti Tribute Chevrolet marched forward, quickly jumping up to the preferred outside line and driving up to 13th by the completion of the opening lap. The Kannapolis, N.C. native looked to continue his ascent up the leaderboard on lap 2, as Hemric inched closer to moving into the top 10. However, that climb was brought to an abrupt halt as Hemric sustained contact from the No. 21 on the inside line that sent the JRM driver hard into the wall on the exit of Turn 2. Getting out of the throttle as a result of the contact, Hemric was then hit from behind and sent careening hard into the inside retaining wall, causing severe damage to the nose of the Poppy Bank John Andretti Tribute Chevrolet.

 

Crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to have Hemric bring his JRM Camaro to pit road in the hopes that the team could make repairs to the damage. However, after briefly surveying the car on pit road, it was determined that the damage was too severe to return to the track, bringing an untimely end to Hemric’s afternoon.

 

Hemric was ultimately scored with a 37th-place finish.

 

Despite the result, the No. 8 team remains 12th in the owner standings, six points ahead of 13th with three races remaining in the regular season.

 

Daniel Hemric, driver No. 8 Poppy Bank John Andretti Tribute Chevrolet team 

"Frustrating, man. I had high hopes coming into today, I don't know. You only get so many opportunities and you want to go make the most of them. We had a really good car here earlier in the season and it’s really unfortunate that we didn’t get a chance to back that up today. I want to thank the Andretti family for giving me the opportunity to carry these colors and pay tribute to John. We’ll rebound from this and be ready to fight for the win next time out in Vegas.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200*

Phoenix Raceway | 11/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric (P)40400
2Justin Allgaier (P)4032-8
3Justin Haley (P)4029-11
4Chase Briscoe (P)4028-12
5Noah Gragson2306-1734
6Brandon Jones2273-1767
7Ross Chastain2270-1770
8Harrison Burton #2248-1792
9Michael Annett2202-1838