Tough Night Results in Two Top 10s for JRM at Bristol

JR Motorsports | 8/17/2019

Brandt Bristol Jeb Burton Justin Allgaier LS Tractor Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Switch XFINITY Series

JRM put two cars in the top 10 Friday night in an up and down night on the concrete high banks at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Race 22 of 33: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Track Specs: .533-mile oval / 300 laps
Weather: Clear; 73 degrees
Race Winner: Tyler Reddick  

Allgaier's Finish: 8th
Annett's Finish: 9th
Gragson's Finish: 17th
Burton's Finish: 32nd

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier was leading in the final laps of the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway when the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevy cut a tire, forcing Allgaier to come to pit road. The JR Motorsports driver ended the day with an eighth-place finish after pacing the field for a total of 131 laps.

Qualifying third for the 300-lap race, Allgaier battled inside the top five for much of Stage One. By lap 60, he worked his way to the lead and was still running point when a caution came out on lap 72. Staying out under the caution, Allgaier retained the lead for the restart. In the closing laps of the stage, a battle ensued between Allgaier and the No. 2 of Tyler Reddick. The driver of the No. 2 got loose and spun below Allgaier, bringing out the caution that ultimately ended Stage One. Allgaier was scored in second place at the time of the yellow flag.

Under the stage-ending caution, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. He took the green flag from the 13th position on lap 92 and was quick to move back into the top five. When a caution came out on lap 120, Allgaier was in the fourth position. Restarting in that same spot, he maneuvered his way to second on lap 124 and remained there until Reddick worked his way by in the closing laps of the second stage. Allgaier ended Stage Two in the third spot and reported to the team that the BRANDT Camaro was way freer that run. The team called him to pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments.

Starting the final stage in the third spot, Allgaier worked his way to the lead in a hurry and was still up front when the caution came out on lap 222. Allgaier and the team opted to stay out while the rest of the lead-lap cars headed to pit road. On the lap 226 restart, Allgaier maintained the lead, putting some distance between himself and the field. The last caution of the night came out on lap 281, setting up one final restart on lap 286. Allgaier again held the lead, but cut a tire and was forced to come to pit road under green on lap 290. He got back out on track and still ended the day with a top-10 finish, taking the checkered flag in the eighth position.

Reddick would go on to win the race and was followed by Chase Briscoe, with John Hunter Nemechek, Jeremy Clements and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Allgaier remains fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings, just 159 markers behind the lead.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“I don’t know how to process this. This is the story of our year. This BRANDT Professional Agriculture team has done a great job. We had a great car tonight. Typical Bristol, I mean you come out here and have a great car. I’m not sure if could have beat the No. 18 apples-to-apples, but when he fell out, especially at the end there I thought we had the best car. I don’t know what else to do, man. It’s frustrating. These guys deserve a win. Just the tire went down and there’s nothing you can do about it, so we’ll move on.”

 

Michael Annett

Everything seemed to be falling into place for Michael Annett on Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway. The Iowa driver had the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet in fifth place with 87 laps remaining in the Food City 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars on the .533-mile concrete oval when he got loose off Turn 4. After dropping to eighth place in just three laps, Annett snapped loose in the middle of Turn 2 and slapped the outside wall with what turned out to be a flat right rear tire.

After getting to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel, Annett came back around for damage assessment on the rear bodywork of his machine, and ended up losing a lap to the leaders. That put him 13th for the restart at lap 229, just one spot behind Timmy Hill for the free pass. The rest of the race played out with just one more caution period, and Annett rallied to earn a ninth-place finish after 300 laps. It was the 10th top-10 finish in the last 13 races for the Pilot Flying J team, and Annett’s third straight top-10 at Bristol.

After starting 15th, Annett held station for the first 37 laps until the first big crash of the night—which involved several of the top cars in the field. The attrition allowed Annett to crack the top 10, and several laps later, he advanced to seventh place as others pitted in front of him. On lap 72, 13 laps short of the Stage One finish, another yellow flag waved for debris and Annett climbed to the top five. Justin Haley had mechanical problems before the end and that put Annett fourth when the green checkered flag waved over the field at the end of the 85-lap Stage One.

Annett relayed to crew chief Travis Mack that his Camaro was very loose in the center of the corners at both ends, so much so that he had to counter-steer in the middle. Mack responded by putting four tires and fuel in the car and making wedge and track-bar adjustments on the first pit stop of the night. As the cars came off pit road, Annett was scored the leader of lap 88. Exiting pit road in 15th position for Stage Two, Annett surged forward from the get-go, gaining four spots in just seven laps and cracking the top 10 again on lap 103. After another caution flag and a red-flag stoppage, Annett was ninth at lap 125 and finished Stage Two 45 laps later in eighth place, earning stage points for the second time on the night.

Pitting again for tires, fuel and further chassis tweaks, Annett emerged in seventh position for the 121-lap run to the checkered flag, but advanced to fifth place after a penalty and a mechanical issue with cars ahead of him. He maintained fifth position until the right rear tire began to go flat, which eventually led to the spin and wall contact in Turn 2.

Tyler Reddick won the race, followed by Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Jeremy Clements and Austin Cindric. The second five was led by Gray Gaulding, with Hill, JRM teammate Justin Allgaier, Annett and Landon Cassill filling out the top 10. The finish also saw Annett advance one spot to eighth in the series point standings.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“We were just too loose in the center of the corners most of the night in our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet, and we had that flat tire there that took us out of contention for the win, but it’s another top-10 finish for this No. 1 Chevrolet. We had a good strategy going and then the flat tire put us in the fence and kind of knocked us around a little. Travis (crew chief Travis Mack) and the crew did a great job getting it fixed and getting us back out there, and we were battling for the free pass until everybody else started going a lap down. Good night in the points for us, and we’ll go to Road America and give it our best shot.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet Camaro, earned valuable stage points at the end of Stage One before falling victim to tire troubles that ultimately relegated the JR Motorsports driver to a 17th-place finish in Friday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway. Gragson, who had run inside the top 10 for much of the evening, still remains seventh in the championship standings, 137 points ahead of the 12th and final playoff position with four races remaining in the regular season.

Gragson took the green flag for the 300-lap event from the 10th position and quickly worked his way forward, driving up to seventh before sustaining damage while trying to avoid a lap 36 multi-car incident. The subsequent damage forced the Switch Chevrolet to make an unscheduled pit stop under caution. Undaunted by the loss of track position, the JRM driver charged forward, improving from 22nd to 11th before a lap 71 caution allowed crew chief Dave Elenz to make a strategy call to keep Gragson on the track while a number of the leaders came to pit road. This decision paid off as the driver of the Switch Chevrolet lined up for the lap 76 restart in seventh and was able to drive into the top five by the completion of Stage One to take the green-and-white checkered flag in fifth. The stage-ending result also earned Gragson six valuable stage points.

Due to the off-sequence strategy from the early pit stop, Gragson remained on track while the rest of the leaders came to pit road, moving the Las Vegas native into the race lead for the beginning of Stage Two on lap 92. After initially holding off the charge from the fresher tires behind him, Gragson was ultimately shuffled back to the sixth position despite reporting that he was really happy with the balance of the Switch Chevrolet. Then, while battling to try to rejoin the top-five, Gragson was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green in the closing laps of the second stage due to a flat right-front tire. As a result of the stop, Gragson found himself in 12th when the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed on lap 170.

The driver of the Switch Chevrolet again climbed forward once Stage Three was underway, taking advantage of two quick cautions to drive from the 11th position back into the top five and up to fourth. Once back in the top five, Gragson continued to fight for position over the long green-flag run that followed until another flat right-front tire on lap 258 forced the rookie-of-the-year contender to make another unscheduled trip to pit road.

Despite now being off of the lead lap, Gragson continued to fight, driving back into the top 10 and in position for the free pass before the right-front tire again went down in the final laps, relegating the driver of the Switch Chevrolet with a 17th-place finish.

Tyler Reddick scored the victory, with Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Jeremy Clements and Austin Cindric rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Switch team

“We had a really fast Switch Chevrolet tonight. Dave (Elenz, crew chief) and everyone on this JR Motorsports team worked really hard all weekend to give me a car that I felt really comfortable with. It’s just unfortunate that we ran into some issues and kept getting flat tires. But we won’t let what happened get us down. We’ll recover from tonight and be ready to go next week in Road America. I can’t wait to get there and see what we can do.”   

 

Jeb Burton

Jeb Burton made his fourth Xfinity Series start of 2019 for JRM in Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. It was a promising night as Burton ran as high as third in the No. 8 LS Tractor Chevrolet and held critical track position heading into Stage Two, but a part failure took the wind out of the team’s sails and dealt the group an uncharacteristic 32nd-place finish.

The LS Tractor Chevrolet fired off in seventh for the 300-lap event. In the opening laps, while most of the field dealt with loose conditions, Burton was no exception. He still held onto a spot inside the top 10 while he waited for the handling to come in. After a pair of pair of cautions, Burton climbed to sixth by lap 48. Then, following a restart on lap 56, he wheeled to the third position.

Burton had just settled back to fifth when a caution on lap 73 slowed the field, giving the No. 8 team its first opportunity to pit for four tires and fuel. It was also within eight laps of the conclusion of Stage One, meaning Burton would cycle through the field and gain valuable track position as competitors pitted at the stage end. The LS Tractor entry restarted 17th and gained five positions to finish Stage One in 12th.

Then the pit strategy came into play. Burton stayed out under the stage-ending caution which netted him eight positions on the track. He lined up for the ensuing restart in fourth. Once back to green-flag racing, Burton found his rhythm and began clicking off solid times. After jockeying for position around lap 119, he had slipped to 10th when he radioed the crew that “it felt like something broke” on the car. Almost simultaneously the right-front started smoking. The team called Burton to pit road to assess the issue, and after two separate stops he returned to the track. In the long run, however, the part failure proved too much to overcome and Burton took the No. 8 LS Tractor Chevrolet to the garage on lap 125. The team would finish the night in 32nd.

Tyler Reddick won the race. He was followed to the line by Chase Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Jeremy Clements and Austin Cindric.

Jeb Burton, driver No. 8 LS Tractor Chevrolet team

“It’s disappointing to have a mechanical issue like that ruin our night. I don’t get many opportunities like this so I want to take advantage of the time that I do. I want to give a big thanks to LS Tractor, State Water Heaters and everyone who makes this possible.  I think we had a top-seven car. We were in a good spot with track position for the start the second stage. But, like most of these guys, it was just too free. It’s just a racing incident. We’ll try and go get them at Indy.” 

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
1Tyler Reddick10780
2Christopher Bell1028-50
3Cole Custer965-113
4Justin Allgaier940-138
5Austin Cindric877-201
6Chase Briscoe #864-214
7Noah Gragson #843-235
8Michael Annett770-308