Kahne, Smith Race to Top-5 Finishes at Charlotte

5/23/2015

Anderson's Maple Syrup Armour Charlotte Chase Elliott Hunt Brothers Pizza Kasey Kahne Kevin Harvick NAPA News Race Report Regan Smith XFINITY Series

JR Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne and Regan Smith finished third and fourth respectively Saturday afternoon at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Chase Elliott finished eighth and Kevin Harvick finished 14th.

Race 11 of 33: Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

Track Specs: 1.5-mile quad-oval / 200 laps

Weather: Sunny; 75 deg.

Race Winner: Austin Dillon

Kahne’s finish: 3rd 

Smith’s finish: 4th

Elliott’s finish: 8th

Harvick’s finish: 14th

Kasey Kahne

Kasey Kahne finished third in Saturday’s Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, earning his first top-five finish of the year for JR Motorsports.  The effort was not only the best finish of the four-car JRM contingent, it also marked Kahne’s second consecutive top-three finish at Charlotte Motor Speedway in XFINITY Series competition. 

Piloting the No. 5 Armour Vienna Sausage Chevrolet, Kahne’s race began with a tight condition that transitioned to the loose side over the long run.  Crew chief Ryan Pemberton made several calls for chassis adjustments over the team’s pit stops to help remedy the handling for Kahne.  The breakthrough for the team came on a lap-56 restart.  Leveraging a chassis adjustment under the previous pit stop and with Kahne restarting in 14th on fresh tires, he charged through the field.  Kahne skillfully climbed nine positions to fifth by lap 83 and as high as first as the field cycled through green-flag pit stops at the halfway mark.

On the race’s final restart on lap 166, Kahne jumped from fourth to second and settled in to make a charge on leader Denny Hamlin.  Kahne’s charge brought him to the door of Hamlin’s No. 54, but unable to make a pass for the lead, the No. 5 settled into second.  Over the closing laps the Armour Vienna Sausage car was passed by eventual race-winner Austin Dillon.  Kahne took the checkered flag in third.

Following Dillon, Hamlin and Kahne to the line was JRM driver Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace Jr. 

Kasey Kahne, driver No. 5 Armour Vienna Sausage team

“We had a pretty good Armour Chevrolet, just couldn’t get into the corner quite as hard as I would like.  We got tight too easy on the front end.  So we freed up the back and I was loose.  We gave it a good shot and we came a long way.  The Armour team did a nice job.  We were a third-place car for most of the day, so I’m happy we finished there.”

Regan Smith

Racing in the NASCAR XFINITY Series is a team effort, and Regan Smith’s fourth-place finish in Saturday’s Hisense 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway was definitely a team effort. After spending the first 110 laps of the event battling a handling issue on the Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet, it all fell into place on the track and especially on pit road.

Smith rallied to finish fourth on the day, which qualified him for the XFINITY Dash4Cash program and the chance to win $100,000 next week at Dover International Speedway. Smith was the top-finishing NASCAR XFINITY Series regular, and will battle with Darrell Wallace Jr., Daniel Suarez and Ty Dillon for the prize.

After pitting under green at lap 101, crew chief Jason Burdett dialed in chassis and air-pressure adjustments to make the Camaro handle better. On lap 111, the caution waved, and Smith, running 13th, returned to pit road for more of the same. The JR Motorsports pit crew got four tires, fuel and adjustments finished in 11.7 seconds, and he returned to the track in seventh place.

After holding serve with the improving handling on his Chevrolet, the final caution of the race waved on lap 160 and Smith returned to pit lane for his final set of tires and more adjustments. This time, it was 10.8 seconds, and he restarted the race in third place.

From there, he battled with eventual race winner Austin Dillon, runner-up Denny Hamlin and JR Motorsports teammate Kasey Kahne for the race lead, holding off a fast-closing Wallace Jr. over the final 34 laps to earn his fourth top-five and eighth top-10 finish of the season. With the finish, he gained seven points on leader Chris Buescher, sitting 41 out of the lead in fifth after 11 races. 

Austin Dillon won the race over Hamlin, Kahne, Smith and Wallace. JRM’s Chase Elliott finished eighth, and Kevin Harvick brought his JRM Chevrolet home in the 14th position.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup team

“We had to earn this one today. Our Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet wasn’t quite where we wanted it to be all day, and the farther we got back in the pack the worse it was. We missed something in the front-end setup, and we were doing the best we could with what we had. Jason [crew chief Jason Burdett] and the crew worked real hard to get what we could out of it. What saved our butts today was the pit crew. I have to thank them. They had unbelievable stops and now I get to run for some of XFINITY’s cash next Saturday. That’ll be nice. It’s always a cool program, you always want to be a part of it and you want to try to win them all. We’ll take this and say, ‘OK, we snuck away with one today.’ The record books don’t show how you did it, just that you did. The pit crew was just phenomenal. I think we got six positions twice in a row. You just don’t do that these days. Everybody has good pit crews, and that was special. If you had asked me at the beginning of the race if I would take fourth, I’d have said absolutely. I thought we were going to be 24th, not fourth. We’ll take this and go to Dover next week and try to win some of XFINITY’s money.”

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished eighth in Saturday’s Hisense 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway.  Elliott notched his ninth top-10 finish in 11 races so far this season and gained three points on championship leader, Chris Buescher.  Elliott is now 28 points back in the championship standings with 22 races left in the season.  Austin Dillon led a race-high 163 laps en route to his fourth career XFINITY Series victory.

After qualifying 16th, Elliott moved into the 11th position by lap 22.  Elliott indicated early on he was battling a battery issue on his No. 9 NAPA Chevrolet.  Crew chief Ernie Cope guaranteed Elliott the team would fix the problem once the time was right and for him to keep an eye on the voltage gauge throughout the early-going of the race.  After the first pit stop on lap 50, Elliott restart 12th on lap 57.  Within one lap, the 19-year-old picked up six spots as he came back across the stripe.

On lap 95, Elliott radioed to Cope that his gauges were red.  Cope and the No. 9 team brought Elliott to pit road under caution on lap 112 to switch the faulty battery.  Cope called Elliott back to pit road on lap 113 for right-side tires and a chassis adjustment.  Elliott made a third and final visit to pit road under the caution to ensure the battery was in good shape before restarting 17th at lap 118.

As the race ended on a 34-lap green flag stretch, Elliott did all he could to regain track position.  By race’s end, he had climbed all the way back up to eighth.

Dillon bested Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace Jr. for his second victory of the season.  

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“Our NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet was solid in today’s race, we just never had the track position we needed.  Dirty air at a place like Charlotte can really hurt on long runs and that was our case today.  I’m definitely pleased with the way we performed in practice Thursday getting our car to where we needed for today’s race.  That’s important to continue to build on as we head to Dover next weekend.  It’s a long season and we will keep inching closer towards our ultimate goals.  We have to continue to work hard in the shop and we’ll get the results we need on the track.”

Kevin Harvick

An ill-timed caution with 40 laps to go in Saturday’s Hisense 300 caused the No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team to go one lap down after pitting under green, off sequence from the rest of the lead pack. Driver Kevin Harvick was able to take a wave around and get his lap back, but that put him at the tail end of the lead-lap cars and he was only able to race back to a 14th-place finish in the closing laps.

Harvick qualified 13th and didn’t waste any time moving forward. He had the Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevy inside the top 10 by lap three. While reporting a loose handling condition on the No. 88 Camaro, he was still able to continue his forward drive, working his way to sixth on lap 26. After crew chief Dave Elenz called for the crew to make chassis and air pressure adjustments on the first pit stop, Harvick was satisfied with the car’s handling.

The two-time NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) champion raced into the top five before the halfway mark. When two caution flags flew in quick succession, Elenz made the call for Harvick to stay out on the second caution, putting the No. 88 Chevy in the lead, although off sequence from the other leaders who came to pit road for tires and fuel. Harvick led for 11 laps before settling into third. The team made their final pit stop on lap 155 under green, and when a caution came out just five laps later, Harvick was caught one lap down. After taking the wave around, he restarted 16th, but reported that the final set of tires had made the car very loose and he was only able to make up two positions over the final 34-lap run to the checkered flag.

Austin Dillon earned his second NASCAR XFINITY Series victory of 2015. Dillon was followed to the stripe by Denny Hamlin, Kasey Kahne, Regan Smith and Darrell Wallace Jr. JR Motorsports placed all four cars inside the top 15, with Chase Elliott finishing eighth.

Kevin Harvick, driver No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza team

“We obviously didn’t have the race we wanted. We’ve been fighting with the handling of our Hunt Brothers Pizza Chevrolet all weekend, but during the middle of the race we had the car close to where it needed it to be. We never had the speed to keep up with the 33, but we may have been able to finish in the top five if we hadn’t caught those pit cycles wrong. I was way too loose on that last set of tires, so I never had a chance to work back through the field after we took the wave around. We need to find some speed in the car so that we can get ourselves back in the hunt.”

 

 

No. 5 Armour Vienna Sausage

Chevrolet Camaro

Kasey Kahne

Start

8th

Finish

3rd

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (1)

Status

Running

 

 

 

No. 7 Anderson’s Pure Maple Syrup Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

15th

Finish

4th  

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

40 (0)

Standings (from leader)

5th (-41)

Status

Running

 

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

16th

Finish

8th   

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

36 (0)

Standings (from leader)

3rd (-28)

Status

Running

 

 

 

No. 88 Hunt Brothers Pizza

Chevrolet Camaro

Kevin Harvick

Start

13th

Finish

14th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (11)

Points (Bonus)

31 (1)

Standings (from leader)

5th (-79)

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