JRM Teams Show Resilience, Place Two in Top-10 at Bristol

JR Motorsports | 4/18/2015

Bristol Chase Elliott Hunt Brothers Pizza Kevin Harvick NAPA News Race Report Regan Smith TaxSlayer XFINITY Series

Facing different issues at different times this weekend, Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick both battled back to finish sixth and seventh respectively at Bristol Motor Speedway Saturday afternoon.

Race 7 of 33: Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Track Specs: .533-mile oval / 300 laps

Weather:  Partly cloudy, 75 degrees

Race Winner: Joey Logano

Elliott’s finish: 6th

Harvick’s finish: 7th

Smith’s finish: 30th

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished sixth in Saturday’s Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway (BMS).  It was Elliott’s sixth consecutive top-10 finish, as he now trails leader Chris Buescher by 12 points just seven races into the 2015 season.  Joey Logano led all 300 laps in a dominate effort on his way to capture his 23rd career XFINITY Series victory and second of the 2015 season.

After qualifying in the 13th position, Elliott battled a tightness issue on his NAPA KNOW machine early in the going, which dropped him back to 18th position by lap 12.  On top of that, came another bit of adversity for the 19-year-old Dawsonville, Ga. native, his radio frequency was down.  This created a communications dilemma between Elliott, his crew chief Ernie Cope and spotter Earl Barban.  Once the lap-57 caution came out, Cope brought Elliott in for fuel, a chassis adjustment and four tires.  Under the caution Elliott was able to unstick his radio communications button to alleviate the issues the team faced during the race’s first 45 laps. 

Under caution on lap 177, Cope radioed to the NAPA team they had just used their last set of new tires.  He reiterated that the entire field was in the same boat as them as the team started to weigh various strategy scenarios with 100 laps left in the contest.  As Elliott was running his fastest lap times with under 75 laps to go, Elliott dropped back to sixth place, allowing his JR Motorsports (JRM) teammate Kevin Harvick to pass him for fifth place on lap 261 as the team was banking on another caution flag to fall.  The intent was to restart in either the fourth or sixth outside position as it proved to be the faster line around the .533-mmile high-banked oval.

As predicted a caution flag would fall with just 20 laps to go, but unfortunately for Elliott and the NAPA team, Harvick would come to pit road  moving Elliott up to the fifth and inside position on the race’s final restart with 13 laps to go.  Elliott held on to his NAPA Chevy as he was able to fight off a charging Harvick, who was closing quickly with newer tires, for a sixth-place finish.   

Joey Logano bested Daniel Suarez, Buescher, Erik Jones and Ty Dillon to round out the top-five.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“We had a nice performance collectively as a team today.  I thought with all things considered through practice yesterday and not really having the qualifying effort we had hoped to have today, I thought we stuck to it and got a nice points day out of it.  I appreciate all my guys efforts throughout the weekend.  This NAPA KNOW HOW team never quits and it showed this weekend at Bristol.  Our strategy at the end could have played out a little better for us, but fortunately we were able to hold the sixth spot on the race’s final restart and get out of Bristol with a decent points day.  I’m looking forward to keeping up the short-track racing, with Richmond next weekend.”

Kevin Harvick

Kevin Harvick raced his way to a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s Drive to Stop Diabetes 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. With the solid result, the driver of the No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet scored his 29th consecutive top-10 finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS).

Harvick qualified sixth and quickly starting moving up through the field. He was running second by lap 41 and keeping pace with leader and polesitter Joey Logano. During the early going, Harvick reported that his Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy was good in the preferred top line, but tight in the center of the corners in the bottom groove, which was where he needed to drive to pass lapped traffic.

Crew chief Dave Elenz made a series of productive adjustments to the No. 88 and Harvick was easily maintaining his second-place run until he received a pit-road speeding penalty on lap 174 after a four-tire stop. He was required to go to the rear of the field for the restart, but another quick caution allowed the team to change tires, replacing the final set of sticker tires with scuffs and saving the new tires for the end of the race. After the stops, the two-time NXS champion went to work, driving up to fifth before the final caution on lap 281. On a strategy call, Elenz opted to put the fresher set of tires on the No. 88. Harvick restarted seventh, but wasn’t able to gain any ground over the final 13 laps. 

Harvick was able to maintain the No. 88 team’s second-place position in the NXS owner standings. Logano led every lap of the event en route to his second NXS victory of 2015 with Daniel Suarez, Chris Buescher, Erik Jones and Ty Dillon rounding out the top five.

Dave Elenz, crew chief No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team

“We had a very fast Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy today. We raced with the 22 in the early part of the race and we were making the car a little bit better, trying to get it better on the bottom and a little better in traffic for him (Harvick). I thought we were going the right direction on all that and unfortunately, we had the speeding penalty with 130 laps to go, which at that point was going to be hard to recover from to get the win. We tried playing a little bit of strategy that didn’t really work out the way we needed it to at the end. He drove an awesome race and we had a fast car, so we’ll come back and do it again.” 

Regan Smith

Things were looking up for Regan Smith and the No. 7 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet on Saturday at Bristol Motor Speedway, as his JR Motorsports pit crew had just won him two spots on pit road during a caution period to put him in the top five with a lot of race yet to go.

But, as they often do, things looking up can lead to things looking down, sometimes in the blink of an eye. NASCAR officials called Smith for speeding on pit road during that stop, and he had to drop to the back of the lead lap for the restart. NASCAR told crew chief Jason Burdett they had clocked Smith at 35.003 miles per hour in segment four, along the backstretch pit road, which was 0.003 miles per hour faster than allowed.

On the restart, at lap 124, Smith was mired in 13th, battling heavy traffic. But the 31-year-old driver put his head down and charged, gaining a position in heavy traffic in the first two laps and reeling in 12th-place J.J. Yeley for another. As he came out of Turn 4 on lap 143, the TaxSlayer.com Camaro slowed and pulled down to the apron heading to Turn 1. “I think we broke something,” Smith called on the radio. “I’ve got no power.” Burdett ordered Smith to take the car to the team hauler on the backstretch, and once he arrived, the worst was confirmed: a broken rear gear. Car chief Billy Wilburn directed the component swap, but it took 46 laps to accomplish.

Smith went back out in 33rd place, and improved three spots by the end of the 300-lap event. The mechanical failure cost Smith 25 NASCAR XFINITY Series driver points and dropped him from sixth to eighth, 47 points behind new point leader Chris Buescher after seven races.

Joey Logano led every lap of the Drive To Stop Diabetes 300 to earn the victory, and he was followed by rookie Daniel Suarez, Buescher, Texas winner Erik Jones and former point leader Ty Dillon. JRM teammates Chase Elliott and Kevin Harvick finished sixth and seventh, respectively.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 TaxSlayer.com team

“I didn’t know what happened, but it wouldn’t put any power down. It would rev up, but nothing else. I guess it was a rear gear or driveline. It’s tough now, with the points. We’re going to have to be perfect for the next 26 weeks. The car was loose on the first run and then it got too tight. We had made some adjustments, but it was still tight everywhere I needed it to turn.”

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

13th

Finish

6th

Laps Completed (Led)

300 of 300 (0)

Points (Bonus)

38 (0)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-12)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza

Chevrolet Camaro

Kevin Harvick

Start

6th

Finish

7th

Laps Completed (Led)

300 of 300 (0)

Points (Bonus)

37 (0)

Standings (from leader)

2nd (-20)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 7 TaxSlayer.com

Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

11th

Finish

30th

Laps Completed (Led)

252 of 300 (0)

Points (Bonus)

14 (0)

Standings (from leader)

8th (-47)

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