Allgaier Rallies From Early Spin, Leads JRM at Watkins Glen

JR Motorsports | 8/3/2019

Brandt Justin Allgaier Louisiana Hot Sauce Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Ryan Preece Watkins Glen West Herr XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier rebounded from an early spin to finish third and lead all four JRM Chevrolets to top-10 finishes Saturday afternoon in the first road course race of the season at Watkins Glen International.

Race 20 of 33: Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International
Track Specs: 2.45-mile road course / 82 laps
Weather: Partly Cloudy; 84 degrees
Race Winner: Austin Cindric      

Allgaier's Finish: 3rd
Annett's Finish: 8th
Gragson's Finish: 9th
Preece's Finish: 10th

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier overcame damage from an early spin to lead 13 laps on his way to a third-place finish in Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International. The finish was the ninth top-five effort of the season for the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team. Allgaier remains fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings.

Rolling off the grid ninth for the 82-lap race, Allgaier was racing inside the top 10 when the first caution of the day came out on lap 11. Under the yellow, he reported to his team that the BRANDT Chevy was lacking rear-lateral grip through the corners. Crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier in for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Restarting 22nd on lap 13, the JR Motorsports driver was working to advance his position when contact from the No. 4 sent him spinning, bringing out the caution. With damage to the right-side of his No. 7 Camaro, Allgaier was forced to come back to pit road for repairs.

After the restart, Allgaier was working his way through the field when an incident involving the No. 4 brought out the caution once again on lap 19. Allgaier was scored 16th at the time of caution, which also served as the conclusion of Stage One. The team opted to stay out under the yellow, lining up 10th for the start of Stage Two on lap 23. When the caution came out again on lap 34, the team took the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel and an adjustment, and Allgaier restarted in 15th on lap 37. With just a few laps remaining in the stage, Allgaier powered his way to eighth before the green-and-white checkered flag wave to end Stage Two on lap 40.

The No. 7 team stayed out under the stage-ending caution while other teams came to pit road, allowing Allgaier to start the final stage from the fourth position on lap 44. He maneuvered his way to third, and with the two cars ahead of him pitting under green due to varying strategies, Allgaier took over the lead on lap 51. The Illinois native paced the field for 13 laps before making a scheduled green-flag pit stop for four tires and fuel. He got back out on the track in the fourth position and was in that same spot when a caution came out on lap 69.

Back under green, a multicar incident quickly brought out the yellow flag once again. The last restart of the day proved to be a chaotic one, but Allgaier continued to race inside the top five, ending the day with a third-place finish.

Austin Cindric won the race and was followed by Christopher Bell and Allgaier, with Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“Jason Burdett (crew chief) did a great job on pit strategy today. We got three-wide on that final restart and I got damage to the left-front tire, so I was really just hanging on at the end there. Our BRANDT Professional Agriculture team definitely had to battle some adversity, but we were able to overcome it and have a really solid day. Hopefully we can continue that positive momentum as we look ahead to Mid-Ohio next week.”

 

Michael Annett

Michael Annett drove a heady race in Saturday’s Zippo 200 NASCAR Xfinity Series event on the storied road course at Watkins Glen, taking his No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to a solid eighth-place finish in the 82-lap event. The result was Annett’s best in eight starts on the 2.45-mile layout and ninth top-10 finish in the last 11 NXS races overall. It was as well the best road-course finish for the Iowa driver since a runner-up result in 2017 at Road America.

Annett started the race from 14th position and on the second lap ran through a lot of grass kicked up by an off-course excursion ahead of him. Heading down pit road on lap 3, the Pilot Flying J team cleaned the grille and topped Annett off with fuel before sending him back out in 34th position. Biding his time, Annett was 28th on lap 10 when the first caution of the day waved. Coming to pit road on lap 12, Annett took four fresh tires and fuel and began the familiar litany of saving fuel for the end.

Returning to the track in 27th, Annett gained six spots in the next few circuits to run 21st and was 15th with five laps remaining in the 20-lap Stage One. He ended the stage in 18th and stayed out on the break. That shot Annett and the No. 1 up to 11th place for the restart. During Stage Two, Annett told crew chief Travis Mack that his car was lacking lateral grip most everywhere, and Mack responded by bringing his driver in on lap 34 for four more tires and fuel six laps from the end of the stage. On the stop, the team was penalized for coming over the wall too early and that dropped the No. 1 back to 25th for the restart. Putting his head down, Annett gained nine positions over the final four laps under green and finished Stage Two in 16th position.

Entering the final 42-lap stage, Annett again stayed out for track position and began the run in 10th spot. He lost a couple of positions in the first two laps, being in the middle of a lot of hard racing. Green-flag pit stops began at lap 50, and Annett moved all the way up to sixth before coming down pit road again on lap 54 for fuel and adjustments. That dropped him to 22nd position, but as with the previous stop, Annett gained six spots over the next eight laps to run 14th.

Five laps later, an accident in Turn 1 brought out the caution flag and Mack again called Annett to the pits for his last set of air-pressure-adjusted Goodyear Eagles. Returning to the track in 12th place, Annett narrowly avoided a huge accident in Turn 1 on the ensuing restart, sliding to the inside of a spinning Justin Haley and advancing to the top 10. Over the final seven laps of green-flag racing, Annett immediately picked up a position to ninth and held off JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson to the finish line. At the end of the race, Annett advanced to eighth place when a disqualification occurred ahead of him in the field.

Austin Cindric won the event, followed by Christopher Bell, JRM’s Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick. Chase Briscoe was sixth, followed by Cole Custer, Annett, Gragson and JRM’s Ryan Preece.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“That was a pretty good run today for the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, and we got our best finish here at Watkins Glen, which is awesome. We were decent all day, but we struggled with lateral grip the whole race. Travis (crew chief Travis Mack) made some good adjustments and we had solid pit strategy, getting back out late in the race with new tires. We gained positions on that stop and that set us up for the last run with a good chance for a top finish. We needed to keep the momentum going and this is the way to do it.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 West Herr Automotive Group Chevrolet Camaro, overcame a penalty during the final round of green-flag pit stops in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Watkins Glen International to come home with a ninth-place finish. The top-10 result is Gragson’s ninth in the last 10 NXS races and moves the JR Motorsports driver to 127 points ahead of the 12th and final cutoff position for the Playoffs.

Gragson methodically worked his way forward once the green flag waved for the 82-lap event, steadily driving from his 18th starting position up to the top 10 by the completion of lap 6. Gragson’s climb didn’t stop there, as a call to stay out during a lap 10 caution period further moved the driver of the West Herr Automotive Group Chevrolet up the leaderboard to seventh.  The 21-year-old driver never left the top 10 for the remainder of the opening stage, ultimately taking the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 20 in seventh and earning four valuable stage points in the process.

Prior to the beginning of Stage Two, crew chief Dave Elenz called the Las Vegas native to pit road for four tires and an air pressure adjustment after Gragson had reported that he needed some help with the rear-grip through Watkins Glen’s distinct corners. Gragson returned to the track following the stop in 17th due to a multitude of pit strategies among the race leaders and quickly raced back into the top 15 before utilizing a lap 33 caution period to return to pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments. Gragson lined up for the ensuing restart after the stop in 17th and pressed forward in the final four laps of the penultimate stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 40 in 12th.

During the stage-ending caution, Elenz opted to play with some strategy and chose to keep Gragson out on the track while several of the leaders came to pit road. The call to stay out proved fruitful as Gragson improved to eighth for the beginning of the third and final stage on lap 43. Once back underway, Gragson again began to patiently work his way forward, taking advantage of a variety of pit road strategies to move up the second position behind JRM teammate Justin Allgaier. The rookie-of-the-year contender maintained his position in second until the call was made to come to pit road for the final set of fresh tires under green on lap 60. However, a penalty following the stop for driving through too many pit stalls forced Gragson to make a return trip to pit road in order to serve a pass-through penalty under green.

Utilizing a never-give-up attitude following the penalty, Gragson quickly worked to regain the lost track position, needing only three laps to race back into the top 20 and up to 19th before an opportune caution on lap 68 closed the field back together. While under caution, Elenz once again chose to work with some strategy and decided to keep the driver of the West Herr Automotive Group Chevrolet out on the track while the majority of the leaders came to pit road. The strategy call once again worked to the advantage of the No. 9 team as Gragson lined up for the lap 72 restart in eighth.

Gragson continued to fight for position inside the top 10 for the final 10 laps and survived an additional restart to cross the finish line for the final time in the ninth position.

With the result, Gragson has now scored a top-10 finish in nine of the last 10 NXS races, dating back to Charlotte Motor Speedway in May. 

Austin Cindric recorded the victory, with Christopher Bell, JRM teammate Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 West Herr Auto Group team

“We fought hard today. We again proved how we never give up and were able to overcome that penalty on pit road to come away with another top-10 finish. I can’t say enough for all these guys on this JR Motorsports team. They make it fun to come to the track each week and they give it their all when it counts. I also can’t thank West Herr Automotive Group enough for coming on board for this weekend. Now it’s on to Mid-Ohio and I am really looking forward to getting out there and seeing what we can do.” 

 

Ryan Preece

After running as high as third and earning several stage points throughout Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, Ryan Preece secured another top-10 effort with JRM’s No. 8 team. Preece was poised for an even stronger run, but it was spoiled by a late-race melee in Turn 1 that relegated him to mid-pack. He managed to climb back to claim a respectable 10th-place finish in the Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet.

Lining up eighth for the event, Preece immediately went to work. In two laps, he’d climbed to sixth, commenting that he had to be conservative getting into the corners due to the rear security of the car. Based on that feedback, crew chief Taylor Moyer called him to pit road under the race’s first caution on lap 12 for an air pressure tweak in addition to four tires and fuel.

Restarting 17th, Preece levied the changes and began a surge forward. He was scored 12th by the next caution and went on to conclude Stage One in sixth.

With some competitors electing to pit, Preece cycled to third for the Stage Two restart. He held serve in the position and with a second stage that almost went completely green, he informed the crew that the car handled very well on the long run. He locked down third position to finish off Stage Two.

After coming to pit road under the stage-ending caution, Preece fired off in 16th for the onset of the final stage. As competitors played an abundance of varying pit strategies, Preece drove up to fourth before coming to pit road under green-flag conditions for a scheduled fuel-only stop. By the time things shook out on pit road, he emerged in eighth.

A caution with 12 laps remaining brought the bulk of the field to pit road for fresh rubber, including Preece and the No. 8 team. All went according to plan until a competitor, who stopped short in an adjacent pit box, blocked Preece in. As a result, he dropped from eighth to 14th for the ensuing restart.

With the green flag waving the field stormed into Turn 1, kicking off a multi-car melee that took out a number of competitors. Caught in the thick of the pack, Preece received enough contact from the car behind to be spun around. He took the final restart in 16th and claimed six more positions in the closing laps to finish 10th.

Austin Cindric took the victory. He was followed the line by Christopher Bell, Justin Allgaier, Ryan Blaney and Tyler Reddick.

Ryan Preece, driver No. 8 Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet team

“We had a good day going out there but these late-race cautions make everything especially challenging. We had a solid long-run Louisiana Hot Sauce Chevrolet and the way things were shaping up before the second-to-last caution, we were going to have an even better finish. It just is what it is today. Being able to run these races with JR Motorsports is a lot of fun and I appreciate everyone’s hard work on the No. 8 team this weekend.”

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • August 24 03:00 PM ET
    CTECH Manufacturing 180Road America
  • August 31 04:00 PM ET
    Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200Darlington Raceway
  • September 7 03:00 PM ET
    Indiana 250Indianapolis Motor Speedway
  • September 14 07:30 PM ET
    Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300Las Vegas Motor Speedway
  • September 20 07:30 PM ET
    Go Bowling 250Richmond Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Food City 300

Bristol Motor Speedway | 8/16/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick9780
2Christopher Bell924-54
3Cole Custer839-139
4Justin Allgaier819-159
5Austin Cindric785-193
6Chase Briscoe #742-236
7Noah Gragson #728-250
8Michael Annett695-283