Elliott, Kahne Provide Top-5 Finishes at Daytona

JR Motorsports | 7/5/2015

Chase Elliott Daytona Fire Alarm Services Kasey Kahne NAPA News Race Report Ragu Regan Smith XFINITY Series

After a volatile close to Saturday night's race, JR Motorsports drivers Chase Elliott and Kasey Kahne finished third and fourth respectively after some late race brilliance.

Race 15 of 33: Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway

Track Specs: 2.5-mile tri-oval / 100 laps

Weather: Cloudy; 76 deg.

Race Winner: Austin Dillon

Elliott’s finish: 3rd

Kahne’s finish: 4th

Smith’s finish: 17th

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, endured the tumultuous closing laps of Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway to score a third-place finish.  In would could only be described as a battle of attrition, Elliott saw his share of highs and lows throughout the event.  But the team persevered, rebounding from several issues to secure Elliott’s seventh top-five finish of the season and best ever at a restrictor-plate track.  More importantly, the effort vaulted Elliott to second in the NASCAR XFINTY Series championship points standings.  He now sits only 34 markers behind leader Chris Buescher. 

From the drop of the green flag, Elliott patiently settled into the draft.  Early on, Elliott wheeled the No. 9 into the top line and continued a slow climb through the top 10.  With a caution coming on lap 16, Elliott experienced his first setback of the evening when he was blocked in his pit stall by a competitor.  A few moments earlier, crew chief Ernie Cope had made the call for a fuel only stop, but the team lost precious seconds and positions due to the incident.  Elliott lined up for the following restart in 16th

Once back to green-flag racing, Elliott worked the draft over the next 60 laps and found himself in seventh position with only 10 laps remaining.  He was holding tight to the inside line when a handful of cars on his outside made contact, initiating a crash that missed the NAPA machine by inches.  Despite the close call, Elliott emerged unscathed and took seventh for the ensuing restart. 

When the field rumbled back to life, aggressive desperation governed the lead cars of Brian Scott and Elliott Sadler.  With Sadler attempting a pass on the outside, Scott made a late move to block the advance and initiated a massive 11-car pileup.  The crash sent the No. 0 of Harrison Rhodes across the front bumper of Elliott and forced the No. 9 into the infield grass where it received minor splitter damage. 

Under the caution, Elliott brought the NAPA Chevy to pit road where the crew made minor repairs before giving the No. 9 four fresh tires.  Elliott returned to track in third and would restart right behind leader Austin Dillon for the green-white-checked finish. 

Elliott stayed glued to Dillon’s bumper and ran as high as second, but with minor damage, lacked the handling to make a charge on the top spot.  Elliott stayed tucked in line coming to the stripe to finish third. 

Dillon took home the checkered flag.  Following Sadler and Elliott to the line were the cars of Kasey Kahne and Benny Gordon.

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“We’re fortunate to be on the better end of it tonight.  Still got caught up in some wrecks, but we were better than we could have been.  I’m happy that things halfway went our way tonight.  Proud of everybody on our NAPA team that worked hard to get our car repaired right after we did get in that one wreck, and gave us a shot to get a top five. We definitely have to be on the offense now.  The best way to gain points is to win races.  We need to do that and I think we can.  I think we’re on a good path.  I like the ideas we have and the direction we’re headed.  It’s good to get through this last plate race and have a top five.  I think that was big for us because we’ve had such bad days [at Daytona] and Talladega.  So, happy to get through this one.  Definitely pleased with third and hopefully we can try to build and get some wins before it’s over with.”

Kasey Kahne

The closing laps of Saturday night’s Subway Firecracker 250 at Daytona International Speedway were volatile, but during the final six circuits, Kasey Kahne battled back from being a lap down and gained 12 spots to finish fourth.

Kahne’s No. 88 Ragú Chevrolet incurred damage to the right front during a lap-90 incident and he received a one-lap penalty for passing the field while coming to pit road under the caution, but the veteran driver avoided another multi-car wreck on lap 98 to earn the free pass. He rallied as the race went into overtime and scored his fourth top-five finish in the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) at the 2.5-mile tri-oval. The result also marked his third top five in six superspeedway starts for JRM.

After starting 21st, Kahne immediately began gaining ground and had worked his way into the top five by lap 21, where he ran until a scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 56. Crew chief Dave Elenz originally called for two tires and fuel on the stop, but there was some concern that Kahne may have slid his tires entering his pit stall and Elenz called for a four-tire change as a precautionary measure to prevent a blown tire. The lengthier stop dropped Kahne to the 18th position, almost half a lap behind the leaders. Fortunately, the Ragú Chevrolet was fast and Kahne was able to link up with teammate Chase Elliott and mount a charge back to the front. The duo caught up to teammate Regan Smith and all three JRM cars were poised to make a charge to the front from just outside the top 10.

Just as things were looking good for the defending race winner, he was caught up in the lap-90 pileup. It was during this caution that he, along with several other damaged cars, passed the leaders on his way in for repairs. While the one-lap penalty may have cost Kahne the chance at another Daytona victory, he was able to rebound, gaining the No. 88 team one spot in the NXS owners standings.

Austin Dillon scored his third win of the season, while Elliott Sadler, C. Elliott, Kahne and Benny Gordon rounded out the top five.

Kasey Kahne, driver No. 88 Ragú team

“The Ragú Chevy was really fast tonight. I felt like I was as good as anyone throughout the race. When we put four (tires) on, we got behind and while I was coming back through the field, we got caught up in the wreck. We were able to battle back to fourth. If we were up front and on the lead lap, we would’ve had a shot at the win, so it was nice to drive a car that fast. I’m really happy with our car and our team.”

Regan Smith

Regan Smith had a fast Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, but through a combination of factors, he ended up 17th with a beat-up race car by the time it was over.

After struggling to convince any of the other 39 drivers to go with him to chase down the leaders for most of the 100-lap race, Smith finally hooked up with JRM teammates Kasey Kahne and Chase Elliott and started paring down the gap to the top 10. The trio sliced more than four seconds off the lead pack’s advantage, helped by a pack of slower cars battling two- and three-wide in front of them. A couple of caution flags allowed Smith to maneuver into a solid 11th-place standing with 11 laps remaining, and he was in the high line when Ryan Reed made an ill-advised move across the nose of Brendan Gaughan’s Chevrolet. That triggered a 14-car pileup, which included Smith, and knocked all four corners of the car into so much battered metal.

The resulting mess caused a red flag, and Smith brought his damaged car to pit road. That triggered a one-lap penalty for passing the pace car and set in motion a series of events that led to optimism and then more disappointment. The JRM team did a good job assessing the damage and getting it back to racing form, and he rejoined the race down two laps to the leader.

With six laps to go, Smith had pushed his car back to speed and was trying to get a lap back when another crash triggered by an aggressive block by the leader caught Smith up again, this time wrinkling whatever hadn’t been damaged in the first crash. A series of pit stops got the car back on the track, but laps ran out before he could advance past 17th. He finished two laps down.

The last restrictor-plate race of the season was regarded as an opportunity to make up ground on point leader Chris Buescher. As it was, Smith lost five and sits fourth in the standings, 67 out of the lead. Elliott finished third and Kahne fourth, as both missed the crashes that caught Smith out.

Austin Dillon won the race, followed by Elliott Sadler, Elliott, Kahne and Benny Gordon. Dakoda Armstrong led the second five, followed by David Ragan, Erik Jones, Harrison Rhodes and Ross Chastain.

Regan Smith, driver No. 7 Fire Alarm Services team

“We had a fast race car, but nobody wanted to race tonight. We were stuck in whatever line we were in all night long. The 16 [Ryan Reed] was fast, but made a move he shouldn’t have made and that caught us up in the first crash. Jason [crew chief Jason Burdett] and the team did a great job getting the car back on the track, great organization and execution. They did the hard work to get us back out there. We will go on to the next one and keep pushing hard for points and victories.”

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

11th

Finish

3rd

Laps Completed (Led)

104 of 104 (0)

Points (Bonus)

41 (0)

Standings (from leader)

2nd (-34)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 88 Ragú

Chevrolet Camaro

Kasey Kahne

Start

21st

Finish

4th

Laps Completed (Led)

104 of 104 (0)

Points (Bonus)

40 (0)

Standings (from leader)

5th (-62)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 7 Fire Alarm Systems Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

15th 

Finish

17th  

Laps Completed (Led)

102 of 104 (0)

Points (Bonus)

27 (0)

Standings (from leader)

4th (-67)

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