Top-10s at Phoenix for Truex, Annett

JR Motorsports | 3/9/2019

Brandt Catwalk For A Cause Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Phoenix Pilot Flying J Ryan Truex Switch XFINITY Series

Ryan Truex brought home a second-place finish and Michael Annett scored his third top-10 effort of 2019 on Saturday at ISM Raceway in Phoenix.

Race 3 of 33: iK9 Service Dog 200 at ISM Raceway
Track Specs: 1-mile oval / 200 laps
Weather: Cloudy; 66 degrees
Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Truex's Finish: 2nd
Annett's Finish: 8th
Gragson's Finish: 11th
Allgaier's Finish: 14th

Ryan Truex

Ryan Truex and the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation / Sherry Strong / Catwalk for a Cause team showed their speed, taking the checkered flag in second place on Saturday afternoon at ISM Raceway in the iK9 Service Dog 200. With Truex’s runner-up finish in his debut with the No. 8 team, the team moves to 12th place in the NASCAR Xfinity Series owner point standings. For Truex, the finish also ties his NXS career-best.

After a successful qualifying session, advancing into the third and final round, Truex took the green flag in ninth at the one-mile low-banked oval. In the opening laps, the Catwalk for a Cause Chevrolet got caught in the middle of three-wide, causing the team to slip back into 14th place. Under the first caution of the day, Truex relayed to the No. 8 team that his Camaro needed more rear grip. Crew chief Taylor Moyer called Truex to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. With other teams opting to remain on track, the Catwalk for a Cause Chevrolet restarted in 16th place. In the final six laps to the stage end, Truex advanced eight positions to finish Stage One in the eighth place.

Under the stage-ending caution, Truex remained on track taking the restart for Stage Two in the 11th position. Shortly thereafter, Truex made his way into the top 10. The New Jersey native remained focused as he battled tight handling throughout the second stage. In need of more rotation, the Catwalk for a Cause driver was held to a ninth-place finish at the conclusion of the caution-free Stage Two.

Prior to the final stage, Truex returned to pit road for further adjustments, four fresh tires and fuel. Following the quick stop, the No. 8 team restarted in eighth place. With changes made in the right direction, Truex was up to the fifth place within just three laps. As the long green-flag run continued, the Catwalk for a Cause Camaro raced within the top five. On lap 130 the caution flag returned, allowing Truex to make his final pit stop of the day for four tires and fuel.  With just under 60 laps to go, Truex restarted in fourth and was up to second place by lap 143. The 26-year-old driver worked to find additional speed in various lines throughout the final laps of the race, but with the lapped traffic Truex ran out of time. Ultimately, when the checkered flag waved, the Catwalk for a Cause team was in second place.

Kyle Busch won the 200-mile event and was followed by Truex, Tyler Reddick, Cole Custer and Austin Cindric to round out the top five.

Ryan Truex, driver No. 8 Martin Truex Jr. Foundation / Sherry Strong / Catwalk for a Cause team

“At the start, I was just too free. I couldn’t run anywhere on the track, so I lost a lot of position early. We worked hard all day to get it back. Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and the guys worked really hard. I’m really proud of them. We made the right changes – they did everything they had to do to give me a good Chevrolet. I got that restart behind Kyle (Busch) and was able to get a huge run in (Turns) 1 and 2. Our car was just so good on the long runs that I was able to hold (Tyler) Reddick off and finish P2. I’m thankful to JRM for this opportunity, Chevrolet and of course the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation for coming on board with Catwalk for a Cause. It feels good to be back up here.”

 

Michael Annett

Michael Annett and the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet started well and ended well on Saturday, posting his third top-10 finish in the season’s first four races with an eighth-place run in the iK9 Service Dog 200 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at ISM Raceway. The finish saw Annett move up one place in the series point standings to fourth, 22 points out of the lead. Of course, Annett is already qualified for the NXS Playoffs after winning the season opener at Daytona.

Annett qualified his No. 1 Chevrolet Camaro in the fifth position, his second top-five starting spot of the season (he was third at Daytona), and stayed in the top seven over the first half of the 45-lap Stage One. A caution on lap 33 for an incident off Turn 4 slowed the field for the first time, and crew chief Travis Mack kept Annett on the track during the caution period. Annett told Mack that his car was just starting to build to the tight side when the yellow waved. Several other cars ahead of him pitted, and Annett took the green flag with five laps remaining in Stage One from second position. In a mad scramble for stage points, Annett tangled with Justin Haley, who made contact on the left side. That put Annett in a bind with traffic closing, and he finished Stage One in fourth spot, which earned him seven stage points.

After pitting for four tires and fuel with no adjustments, Annett fired off from 13th spot and stayed there for most of the 45-lap run, closing Stage Two by passing John Hunter Nemechek for 12th with 12 laps remaining. He ended the stage in a battle with Brandon Jones, but wound up 12th at the green-and-white checkered flag. Annett told Mack that the car was loose early in the run, but the front got tighter much more quickly, chattering the right rear tire on the free roll in the corners and killing his entry into Turns 3 and 4. Mack responded with wedge and air-pressure adjustments on the pit stop, along with four more tires and fuel. The Pilot Flying J pit crew gained their driver three spots on the exchange, sending Annett back out in ninth spot for the run to the checkered flag.

When the green flag waved to start the race, Annett dropped a spot to 10th, but was back to ninth just three laps later. He stayed there until lap 130, when Stephen Leicht’s blown engine brought out the caution flag again. The resulting smoke show also caught out point leader Christopher Bell and second-place Justin Allgaier. Bell drove into the billowing smoke from the engine failure and clouted the outside wall, ending his day. Allgaier sustained damage as well and faded to 14th at the finish. Annett, meanwhile, was dealing with the same tightness that had hindered his Stage Two run and Mack elected to bring him down pit road for further adjustments as well as his last remaining set of tires and fuel.

The Pilot Flying J crew held serve on the stop and sent their driver back out for the final 58 laps in ninth place. A penalty ahead of him allowed Annett to move up to seventh by the time the green flag waved for the final time, and Annett dodged a major bullet on the restart when Cole Custer got loose just ahead of him and nearly spun. Annett missed the wayward machine and continued on, locking up in a battle with Jones and Chase Briscoe that went on until the checkered flag. Custer recovered enough to drive back around, and Briscoe closed well, getting around both Annett and Jones. That left Annett in eighth place at the checkered flag, right on Jones’ rear bumper.

Kyle Busch won for the second straight week, followed by JRM’s Ryan Truex, Tyler Reddick, Custer and Austin Cindric. Briscoe came sixth, with Jones, Annett, Nemechek and Ryan Sieg rounding out the top 10.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“That was another good run for us in the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. We had a really good battle there at the end with the 19 car (Brandon Jones) and that’s the kind of thing we are going to build on going forward. We moved up a spot in the points, which is a good thing, and our crew guys had a great day on pit road. We’re looking forward to next week in California, kind of riding some good momentum.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet Camaro, earned valuable stage points at the end of both Stage One and Two before ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 11th position in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at ISM Raceway. With the result, Gragson improves to eighth in the championship standings, just 39 markers behind leader Tyler Reddick.

Gragson took the green flag for the 200-lap event from the sixth position after advancing to the final round of knockout qualifying on Saturday morning. After initially racing into the top five, the driver of the Switch Chevrolet reported to crew chief Dave Elenz that the car had gone to the tight-side from the center to the exit of the corner. Despite not handling to his liking, Gragson maintained his top-10 track position until a lap 32 caution period provided Elenz with the first opportunity to bring the rookie driver to pit road for four tires and adjustments. Returning to the track in 11th, Gragson charged forward, needing only four laps to race back into the top 10 and up to the seventh position by the completion of the opening stage on lap 45, earning four valuable stage points in the process.

Elenz elected to have Gragson stay out during the stage-ending caution, moving the JR Motorsports driver up to fifth for the beginning of Stage Two on lap 53. The Las Vegas, Nev. native fought for position inside the top five throughout the caution-free second stage, taking the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 90 in the fifth position and earning an additional six valuable stage points. 

Following the completion of Stage Two, Gragson reported that the handling of the Switch Chevrolet had improved over the short run but was still tight from the center to the exit of the corner as the run progressed. As a result, Elenz called the JRM driver back to pit road prior to the beginning of the third and final stage for four tires and another round of chassis adjustments. Gragson returned to the track following the stop in the seventh position, but was shuffled back to 14th on the ensuing restart as the handling had once again gone to the tight-side. Although the handling woes persisted, Gragson never gave up and remained inside the top 15 until the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 130.

After pitting for the final set of sticker tires, Gragson lined up for the lap 142 restart in 12th and wasted little time moving forward, utilizing a three-wide move through the dogleg on the frontstraightaway to drive back into the top 10. Gragson continued to fight for position in the closing laps with John Hunter Nemechek and Ryan Sieg before ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 11th position.

With the result, Gragson improved two positions to eighth in the championship standings and trails leader Reddick by just 39 points. 

Kyle Busch brought home the victory, with JRM teammate Ryan Truex, Reddick, Cole Custer and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Switch team

“We fought hard today with our Switch Chevrolet. Dave (Elenz, crew chief) and everyone on this JR Motorsports team worked hard all weekend long and I can’t thank them enough for everything. Today wasn’t the end result we were looking for but we learned a lot that can help us moving forward, especially when we get back here at the end of the season.” 

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier was running in the second position during Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at ISM Raceway when a car ahead of him blew an engine, leaving fluid on the track and causing the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy to make hard contact with the wall. Battling back after the team made repairs, Allgaier was able to salvage a 14th-place finish in the 200-lap race.

Starting the race from the seventh position, Allgaier radioed early on that the No. 7 Chevy was free on entry and exit. He remained inside the top 10 and as the run went on, he reported that the BRANDT Camaro was getting tight through the center of the turns. On lap 32, the caution flag came out, giving the team the opportunity to make some adjustments. Under the yellow, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier in for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. Allgaier restarted in 15th with under 10 laps to go in Stage One and took the green-and-white checkered flag in ninth on lap 45, collecting two stage points.

Staying out under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier started Stage Two in sixth and drove up to fourth in a hurry. He radioed that the BRANDT Chevy was a little free on entry, better on exit and still tight through the center of the turns. He stayed in fourth for the remainder of Stage Two, collecting more valuable stage points when the green-and-white checkered flag waved on lap 90.

Under the caution to end Stage Two, Allgaier came to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. He took the green flag for the final stage in fourth and battled inside the top five, making his way to second by lap 105. Just 10 laps later, he reported to the team that the No. 7 Camaro was still tight through the center of the turns, but he continued to hold strong in second. On lap 131, a lapped car ahead of Allgaier blew an engine, leaving behind smoke and fluid. Allgaier got into the fluid and was unable to avoid making contact with the wall, causing heavy damage to the right rear of his BRANDT Chevrolet.

The team called Allgaier down pit road for repairs under the caution. He made multiple stops as the team continued to work on the No. 7 Camaro. Remaining on the lead lap through the repairs, Allgaier restarted from the 18th position on lap 143 and advanced his position up to 11th within a few laps. He continued to battle until the end with his heavily damaged BRANDT Chevy, ultimately taking the checkered flag in the 14th position.

Kyle Busch won the race and was followed by Ryan Truex and Tyler Reddick, with Cole Custer and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“Unfortunately we got into Turn 1 there with that car blowing up. It was kind of the perfect storm. My BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy just took off. The problem was once you got out of the oil, you were still going fast enough that it was just impossible to get stopped. I thought I almost had it. I couldn't see the fence because of the smoke and I thought I almost had it, but unfortunately still got it pretty good. The guys had worked hard throughout the race on adjustments and we were probably the best we had been all day, so it was tough for that to happen. We had a top-five car.”

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • September 20 07:30 PM ET
    Go Bowling 250Richmond Raceway
  • September 28 03:30 PM ET
    Drive for the Cure 250Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval
  • October 5 03:00 PM ET
    Use Your Melon Drive Sober 200Dover International Speedway
  • October 19 03:00 PM ET
    Kansas Lottery 300Kansas Speedway
  • November 2 08:30 PM ET
    O'Reilly Auto Parts 300Texas Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300

Las Vegas Motor Speedway | 9/14/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Christopher Bell20550
2Cole Custer2044-11
3Tyler Reddick2044-11
4Austin Cindric2017-38
5Chase Briscoe #2012-43
6Justin Allgaier2012-43
7Michael Annett2009-46
8Noah Gragson #2005-50