Smith, Elliott Gain Ground at New Hampshire

JR Motorsports | 7/18/2015

Alpha Energy Solutions Anderson's Maple Syrup Ben Rhodes Chase Elliott NAPA New Hampshire News Race Report Regan Smith XFINITY Series

Regan Smith and Chase Elliott posted top-10 finishes while gaining ground in the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings in Saturday afternoon's race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Race 17 of 33: Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway

Track Specs: 1.058-mile oval / 200 laps

Weather: Cloudy; 76 degrees

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin

Smith’s finish: 7th

Elliott’s finish: 9th

Rhodes’ finish: 12th

Regan Smith

Regan Smith drove the No. 7 Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet to a seventh-place finish in Saturday’s Lakes Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The result marked his 11th top-10 finish in 17 races with JRM in 2015.

After Smith’s steady day, he was back in possession of fourth place in the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings. Starting eighth, Smith ran in or close to the top 10 all day long, and was the top-finishing JR Motorsports team in the event.

Smith almost immediately reported that his Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevy was hard to handle due to the bumps the track offered. After a series of early cautions, Smith relayed back to his team that he was dealing with a tight condition and a persistent bounce in the front of his machine. The violent ride continued through the early part of the race, especially when Smith would apply the brakes. A lap-37 caution brought him down pit road where he gained four tires and a wedge adjustment. Most of his peers took two tires on the stop, knocking Smith out of the top-10 for the first time on the day. As the day progressed, the problems on the front end and with the braking remained, especially on entry. Smith’s battle wore on and he gained his top-10 position back on lap 70.

The pogo stick that was New Hampshire Motor Speedway continued to clash with Smith and as the Anderson Maple’s Syrup team made a green flag pit stop on lap 121, it was time to make a run. After taking four tires and fuel on pit road, Smith found himself in 11th after the pit stop cycle finished. With 60 laps to go, Smith shot into the top-10 once again but was still tangling with the bumps as well as a newly found loose condition. The bounce the track caused was a problem until Smith found a quick fix with 40 laps to go. Applying the front brake controlled the bounce more than anything else had all day. That revelation and Smith’s rhythm allowed him to stay steady with his lap times. His persistence and perseverance helped launch Smith into his seventh-place finish with no real pressure after the final caution of the day.

Denny Hamlin won the race, followed by Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and NXS rookie Daniel Suarez. Ty Dillon was sixth, ahead of Smith, Darrell Wallace Jr., JRM teammate Chase Elliott and Brennan Poole. JRM’s Ben Rhodes was 12th, the first car one lap down.

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

“We had a solid day in the Anderson’s Maple Syrup Chevrolet. The pit crew guys were great, had some good stops today. I want to thank my team for all the hard work this weekend. Not a bad finish, we just have to keep digging to see how we can get these cars to where we want them to be. I really felt like we left two points on the board there with the No. 3 and No. 18 finishing ahead of us but overall, it was a good day. We just have to build off of this.”

Chase Elliott

Chase Elliott, driver of the No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS Chevrolet, finished ninth in Saturday’s Lakes Region 200 NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway (NHMS).  Elliott gained five points on championship leader Chris Buescher, remaining in sole possession of second place – just 32 points back with 16 races left in the season.  Denny Hamlin led four times for a race-high 145 laps on his way to notching his second NXS victory of the season and 13th of his career.

After qualifying ninth earlier in the day, Elliott bolted out of the gate strong, powering his NAPA Chevy inside the top-five on lap 30.  For the majority of the race, Elliott kept a steady pace inside the top 10, but battled a loose Camaro most of the afternoon.  Crew chief Ernie Cope and the NAPA squad went to work during a lap-39 caution, changing right-side tires, adding fuel and making a chassis adjustment to help Elliott’s rear security as he entered the turns of the 1.058-mile flat surface.

As the race progressed, Elliott started to have issues driving out of each corner, saying the car was too tight.  On a lap-116 caution, Elliott came in for a chassis adjustment to help the issue, while also grabbing four tires and fuel.  Unfortunately for Elliott, the adjustment was not exactly what he needed to help him roll the center of each corner, so the team reversed their changes the next time in on lap 143 and kept Elliott inside the top-10 for the ensuing restart.

On the race’s final restart with 26 laps to go, Elliott would hold steady inside the top-10, bringing home his series-leading 13th top-10 finish.

Keselowski outran Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez for the victory.  

Chase Elliott, driver No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS team

“We struggled a bit today trying to get our NAPA Camaro to turn the center while keeping the rear security.  I was hesitant of the rear end at full power when I entered each corner.  Once we tightened up, I became loose in and it was tough to turn the middle.  It would plow on exit.  It was a back-and-forth thing.  However, I was pleased to gain points in the championship race.  It’s a long season with much more racing left.  We will go back and work on improving and be prepared for Indy next week.”

Ben Rhodes

All Ben Rhodes needed to get his desired top-10 finish in Saturday’s Lake Region 200 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway was a late-race caution. After working his way into position for the free pass with 25 laps to go, the driver of the No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevrolet was passing lead-lap cars in front of him, but without getting his lap back, the furthest he could advance was 12th. While he was the eighth car in line crossing the stripe, he scored a 12th-place finish in the books.

The 18-year-old started 14th in his third career NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) race, and, even while reporting that his Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy was tight in the center of the corners, he was able to gain three spots by lap 30. While completing a pass, he made contact with Ryan Reed’s machine, which caused Rhodes’ right-front tire to lose air pressure. At first, the JRM rookie thought the contact may have knocked out the toe on the front end of the race car. When a caution came out just a handful of laps later, No. 88 team checked the toe during a four-tire pit stop, which allowed the flat right-front tire to be discovered. Rhodes quickly rebounded from restarting 27th, passing 12 cars in 14 laps before the next caution flag flew. Crew chief Dave Elenz told the JRM rookie to stay out and keep up the good work, as his lap times were well within the speed range of the top-10 cars.

On the following long green-flag run, Rhodes improved his position from 17th to 12th. During a green-flag pit stop on lap 121, he was trying to get into the pit box quickly and wheel hopped when he jumped on the brakes, causing the No. 88 to slide sideways into the box. The car needed to be pushed backwards in order to for Rhodes to exit the box, costing him one lap and 12 positions on the track. Rhodes was able to regain his momentum and work his way into free pass position, but never got the caution required for him to get his lap back, although his 12th-place result was enough to maintain the No. 88 team’s fifth-place position in the NXS owners standings.

Denny Hamlin led the field to the checkered, earning his second NXS victory of 2015. Austin Dillon, Brad Keselowski, Kyle Busch and Daniel Suarez rounded out the top five.

Ben Rhodes, driver No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions team

“We had a pretty good race; the No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions Chevy was pretty fast. I learned a lot throughout the race. We had constant improvement, which is good for a rookie like me. It definitely showed throughout the race. I made a few mistakes - slid sideways through the box and had an incident early on. I’m not sure whose fault that was. I felt like he came down and I probably could’ve moved down a little bit, could’ve been more conservative at the beginning of the race and saved my stuff. I’ve got to be easier around guys and not so aggressive and greedy, but that’s just me wanting to go fast. I need to slow down and save my stuff to make sure I’m that at the end. As long as I can do that, I know we’ll have a great finish. I finished in position eight, but were scored as 12th being a lap down, which is where I got us in a hole in the beginning. I’ve got to do a better job on that, not make as many mistakes, learn from them and move on.”

 

 

No. 7 Anderson’s Maple Syrup

Chevrolet Camaro

Regan Smith 

Start

8th 

Finish

7th  

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

37 (0)

Standings (from leader)

4th (-59)

Status

Running

 

 

No. 9 NAPA AUTO PARTS

Chevrolet Camaro

Chase Elliott

Start

9th

Finish

9th

Laps Completed (Led)

200 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

35 (0)

Standings (from leader)

2nd (-31)

Status

Running 

 

 

No. 88 Alpha Energy Solutions

Chevrolet Camaro

Ben Rhodes

Start

14th

Finish

12th

Laps Completed (Led)

199 of 200 (0)

Points (Bonus)

32 (0)

Standings (from leader)

5th (-83)

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