JR Motorsports Well-Represented in Top-10 At Phoenix

JR Motorsports | 3/14/2015

Axalta Chase Elliott Kevin Harvick NAPA News Phoenix Race Report Regan Smith TaxSlayer XFINITY Series

JR Motorsports placed each of its drivers in the top-10 Saturday afternoon at Phoenix International Raceway with Kevin Harvick finishing third, Chase Elliott finishing seventh, and Regan Smith finishing ninth.

Race 4 of 33: Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway

Track Specs: 1-mile tri-oval / 200 laps

Weather: Sunny; 88 deg.

Race Winner: Joey Logano

Harvick’s finish: 3rd

Elliott’s finish: 7th 

Smith’s finish: 9th  

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick earned his 16th top-five finish at Phoenix International Raceway in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) on Saturday. He started on the outside pole in the No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet and ultimately drove to a third-place finish in the Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200, earning his 173rd NXS career top five and continuing his streak of 27 consecutive top-10 finishes in the series.

While Harvick ran inside the top five for the majority of the race, he battled a tight race car in the early going. Crew chief Dave Elenz made adjustments on each of the team’s three pit stops to help dial in the TaxSlayer.com Chevy. The car seemed to be more to Harvick’s liking by the midway point of the race, but while the car was consistent on long runs, it didn’t quite have the speed that the driver and team were hoping for.

During the long green-flag run in the final 57 laps, Harvick drove the No. 88 Chevy from fourth to third and fought off a late-race challenge from Austin Dillon to cross the finish line in third.

Joey Logano won the 200-lap event, followed by Matt Kenseth, Harvick, Dillon and Erik Jones.

Kevin Harvick, driver No. 88 TaxSlayer.com team

“I’m really proud of everybody at JR Motorsports and everybody on our TaxSlayer.com team for staying in there and working hard. We knew the 22 and the 20 had really fast cars yesterday and we knew we needed to try to make up a little ground, but just didn’t quite get there. Our car didn’t really have a tremendous amount of falloff, we just didn’t have the speed that the 22 and the 20 had. To come out here and have a first and a third in my first two races is something that I’m really proud of the team for. I’m really proud of how we’ve started the season with a completely new group of people and everybody trying to get their feet on the ground. Everything’s headed in the right direction. We will keep building on that and continue to push forward and try to make things better every week.”

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished seventh in Saturday’s Axalta Faster.  Tougher.  Brighter.  200 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Phoenix International Raceway (PIR).  It was Elliott’s third straight top-10 finish, as he now trails leader Ty Dillon by 25 points just four races into the 2015 season.  Joey Logano led 176 of the 200 laps in a commanding effort on his way to capturing his 22nd career XFINITY Series victory and first of the 2015 season.

After qualifying in the seventh position, Elliott moved inside the top-five early in the going.  His only complaint being the NAPA Chevrolet was a little tight as laps started to elapse.  Crew chief Ernie Cope brought Elliott in under caution on lap 50 for a two tire change, a chassis adjustment and fuel in hopes of balancing out the NAPA machine on both ends of the 1-mile track.  On lap 97 while under caution, Cope called for four tire change and a minor chassis adjustment to help Elliott fire off better on the ensuing restart.  It was clear that clean would help propel the NAPA Chevy forward.

With 62 laps to go, an unfortunate turn of events took place for Elliott.  As he was gaining ground on the No. 3 car of Ty Dillon, contact was made between the two, ultimately spinning Elliott out of position and bringing out a caution flag.  This forced Elliott to pit road for a four tire change and fuel.   

On final restart with 57 laps to go, while still on the lead lap, a determined  Elliott battled his way from 19th position to a hard fought seventh place finish.

Joey Logano bested Matt Kenseth, JR Motorsports’ Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones to round out the top-five.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“Our car today was solid and we kept making adjustments on the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet as time passed in the race.  On the last restart, with something like 57 laps to go, we were in the 19th position and we were able to make up some ground as the race finished under green.  I was certainly pleased with the way everyone worked all weekend long, starting with our two practice sessions Friday.  This team never gives up and that’s what it takes to get to the next level.  We are excited about the multi-groove Auto Club Speedway next weekend.”

Regan Smith

Regan Smith drove to a ninth-place finish in Saturday’s Axalta Faster. Tougher. Brighter. 200 at Phoenix International Raceway.  The effort marked Smith’s third-consecutive top-10 finish, but fell short of the team’s hopes for the day.

Driving the No. 7 Axalta Cromax Chevrolet, Smith’s day started with a tight condition.  The team still managed to climb to seventh, where Smith settled in for the race’s opening laps.  The turning point came when crew chief Jason Burdett called Smith to pit road under caution for a two-tire stop, which propelled the No. 7 car to third for a restart on lap 101.  Smith drove as high as second following the restart, and then dropped to third prior to another caution on the race’s 124th circuit.  Still riding in third on the ensuing restart, Smith dove under the No. 42 of Brennan Poole in a challenge for the lead.  When the 42 moved low to block, the two made slight contact and Smith dropped to 10th as a result. 

Under the next caution, Smith again hit pit road for fresh tires.  With other competitors staying out, Smith restarted in 16th.  Over the race’s final laps, Smith made quick work of the competition and climbed back inside the top 10, ultimately finding ninth before the checkered flag fell.

Joey Logano won the race and was followed to the line by Matt Kenseth, JRM driver Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon and Erik Jones.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Axalta Cromax team

“Certainly not what we wanted for our team or for Axalta today.  We showed a lot of strength once we got some track position.  But that was really hard to come by.  Jason did a great job making some of those calls on top of the pit box.  Taking two tires at one point was exactly what we needed to get some clean air.

“After the contact with the No. 42, something just wasn’t right with the car.  I don’t know if we had a tire going down or what, but that’s what it felt like.  The car wasn’t really the same after that.  I think we salvaged what we could today.”

 

 

No. 88 TaxSlayer.com

Chevrolet Camaro

Kevin Harvick

Start

2nd

Finish

3rd

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

41 (0)

Standings (from leader)

4th (-19)

Status

Running

 

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

7th

Finish

7th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

37 (0)

Standings (from leader)

4th (-25)

Status

Running

 

 

 

No. 7 Axalta Cromax

Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith

Start

8th 

Finish

9th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

35

Standings (from leader)

7th (-36)

Status

Running

Articles

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 23 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • May 30 01:00 PM ET
    Mid-Ohio 170Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course
  • June 6 01:30 PM ET
    LTi Printing 250Michigan International Speedway
  • June 13 08:30 PM ET
    Iowa 250Iowa Speedway
  • June 20 04:00 PM ET
    Chicagoland 300Chicagoland Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After LS Tractor 200

Phoenix Raceway | 3/7/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Harrison Burton #1760
2Chase Briscoe173-3
3Austin Cindric155-21
4Brandon Jones148-28
5Ross Chastain146-30
6Noah Gragson143-33
7Ryan Sieg143-33
8Justin Haley140-36
9Justin Allgaier138-38
10Michael Annett119-57