JRM Places Each Driver in Top-10 at Texas Friday night

JR Motorsports | 4/11/2015

Chase Elliott Dale Earnhardt Jr. Goody's NAPA News Race Report Regan Smith TaxSlayer Texas XFINITY Series

JR Motorsports drivers Dale Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith, and Chase Elliott all finished in the top-10 Friday night under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. They finished third, fourth, and eighth respectively.

Race 6 of 33: Texas 300 at Texas Motor Speedway

Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 200 laps

Weather: Clear; 63 deg.

Race Winner: Erik Jones

Earnhardt Jr.’s finish: 3rd

Smith’s finish: 4th

Elliott’s finish: 8th 

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had a solid night in Friday’s Texas 300 at Texas Motor Speedway, leading three different times for a total of 25 laps en route to a third-place finish. The driver of the No. 88 Goody’s Chevrolet scored his third top-five finish in a row at the 1.5-mile oval in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).

Earnhardt Jr. quickly improved on his fifth-place starting position, taking the lead from pole sitter Erik Jones on lap five of the 200-lap race. The two drivers traded the lead back and forth several times in the early going before Earnhardt Jr. reported a loose handling condition on the Goody’s Chevy.

Crew chief Dave Elenz called for significant adjustments to the No. 88 Camaro throughout the night, which helped Earnhardt Jr. regain the lead following a restart on lap 138. While restarts were a strong point for Earnhardt Jr. all night, the loose handling condition plagued the Goody’s Chevy on long runs as he was unable to retake the top position. However, his third-place finish helped the No. 88 team maintain its second position in the NXS owner standings.

Jones won the race with Brad Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr., Regan Smith and Austin Dillon rounding out the top-five.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 88 Goody’s team

“I’m glad we had a decent finish. We took off early in the race and I thought we had a great car, but then we got really, really loose once it got dark and cooled off. We helped the car a ton with adjustments during the race, but I don’t know if we could have gotten our car as good as the 20. Erik (Jones) had a great car all night long and he did a good job with it. Brad (Keselowski) was the fastest car for a while too, so I don’t know if we could have gotten our car quite as good as those guys, but right at the end we were just way too loose. We made our Goody’s Chevy better, just not enough to win the race.

“We had a good battle for the lead there. Erik was probably getting tired of trying to pass me, but I was trying to make it as hard as I could. He had a really, really good car and he finally got by us. In the long Cup races you can give-and-take a lot more, but in these XFINITY races you need the track position and you can’t just lay over. I thought the racing was good and we had a lot of fun.”

Regan Smith

Rebounding from a pit stop error that cost him 17 spots in the early stages of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Texas 300, Regan Smith and the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com team fought their way a solid fourth-place finish Friday night at Texas Motor Speedway.

After starting sixth, Smith fought a tight-then-loose handling condition for the first 67 laps. However, when he pitted under caution on lap 68, he found himself up in second place for the restart. After rejoining the field, however, it was discovered that some lug nuts had not been fully tightened on the left rear wheel. Crew chief Jason Burdett opted not to take a chance on leaving them loose and called Smith back to pit road to get it fixed.

That put him 19th for the restart, and what had seemed to be a good situation had turned sour at the speed of light.

Smith, however, still battling the on-again, off-again handling of his bright red TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet, put his head down as well as his foot and started passing cars, heading back to where he was before the mishap. By lap 90, when he blew past Elliott Sadler for 11th place, he had it rolling. Seventeen laps later he was back in the top 10, just in time to pit again on lap 117.

Restarting 15th, he quickly dispatched four cars in one lap, was ninth on lap 124 and eighth when the yellow waved again on lap 127. That burst earned a “nice job” call from Burdett.

Restarting sixth after two cars pitted in front of him, Smith reached fourth with 67 laps remaining, and took third on a restart soon after. As the laps wound down, he slid to fifth in time for another caution and made his final pit stop with a chance at the race victory in the windshield.

Over the final 29 laps, Smith would run as high as third and settle in to fourth place behind JRM team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr., and despite several laps of trying, was unable to catch and pass the Goody’s Chevrolet. He settled for fourth, a solid result on a tough night that also cut into his points deficit to leader Ty Dillon. Smith gained eight points on the night, which ties him for fifth place in points with Ryan Reed, and he was the top-finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series regular as well.

Erik Jones won the race, followed by Brad Keselowski, Earnhardt Jr., Smith and Austin Dillon. JRM teammate Chase Elliott was eighth at the stripe.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer.com team

“We’re happy for the points in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, but I’m ready to win one of these. It’s been a while. I thought we had a car capable of winning tonight. We had to battle back a couple of times. My guys fought hard, we had a fast race car. We weren’t as fast as the 20 (Jones) or the 22 (Keselowski), probably needed a little more time to adjust on it up front. I appreciate everyone at TaxSlayer for all the help they give us, and we’re going to fight hard all year.”

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished eighth in Friday night’s Texas 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NSX) race at Texas Motor Speedway.  It was Elliott’s fifth consecutive top-10 finish of the season.  Just six races into the 2015 season, Elliott ranks third in series points, trailing championship leader Ty Dillon by 11 points.  Erik Jones led 79 of the 200 laps en route to claiming his first career series win.

Chase Elliott

After qualifying ninth, Elliott moved up four spots to fifth in the first two laps of the race before the field was slowed by a caution.  Those two laps were enough for Elliott to tell the NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet was too free on entry, especially in turns one and two.  The focus, he told crew chief Ernie Cope, was tightening up the race car to get him through that specific end of the speedway.  And, on lap 18 that happened, as Elliott came to pit road for the first time for an air pressure adjustment, four tires and fuel.  The NAPA crew picked up one spot for their driver and Elliott applauded the pit road effort as he made his way back out onto the track.  The adjustment was one step in the right direction, but the Chevy still needed more help.

Elliott rode inside the top-10 prior to the next pit stop on lap 66.  Further tinkering by Cope allowed the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet to really propel forward when the green flag came back out, ultimately moving him into the third position. 

As the race continued to play out, Elliott continued to fight a loose race car.  And the NAPA team continued to progress to help the 19-year-old’s entry and balance of his Chevy.  Unfortunately for Elliott, he was offset from the rest of the field with green flag pit stops, and that ended up hurting his track position late in the race.

On the final restart with 26 laps to go, a gritty Elliott battled his way from the 10th position, passing series point leader Ty Dillon in the process, to claim a hard-fought eighth-place finish.

Jones bested Brad Keselowski, JR Motorsports’ Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Regan Smith, as well as Austin Dillon to round out the top five.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“Tonight was a tough one for us.  My NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevy was super loose in turns one and two offsetting my entry.  We just couldn’t get the car where we needed it to be in order to move forward.  I could run the top line, but as soon as I went to the bottom I was loose.  Track position was also critical tonight for us.  It’s just so hard to move forward the way you want when you’re battling dirty air.  I was pleased to get back inside the top-10, but we still have work to do.  This team is capable of better finishes than that.  Looking forward to Bristol next Saturday.”

 

 

No. 88 Goody’s

Chevrolet Camaro

Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Start

5th

Finish

3rd

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (25)

Points (Bonus)

42 (1)

Standings (from leader)

2nd (-9)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 7 TaxSlayer.com

Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

6th

Finish

4th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

40 (0)

Standings (from leader)

6th (-22)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

9th

Finish

8th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

36 (0)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-11)

Status

Running

 

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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