Conti Earns Bristol Top 10, Clinches Playoff Berth; Davies 19th in eNASCAR Peak iRacing Run

JR Motorsports | 8/22/2019

Brad Davies eNASCAR FilterTime iRacing Michael Conti News The Dale Jr. Foundation Win Dale Jr.’s Ride

JRM's iRacing drivers wrapped up the regular season Tuesday night in a thriller on the high banks at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Track Specs: .533-mile oval / 250 laps
Conti’s start/finish: 11th/10th 
Davies’ start/finish: 28th/19th   

            

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Aug. 22, 2019) – Despite overcoming a challenging week, JR Motorsports driver Michael Conti rallied for a 10th-place finish on Tuesday night on the virtual Bristol Motor Speedway oval to cement his position in the eNASCAR PEAK Antifreeze iRacing Series playoffs. Teammate Brad Davies overcame starting deep in the field to battle in the top five with 25 laps remaining in the event, only to run afoul of a lapped car in the late stages. He finished 19th

Conti and his No. 8 FilterTime Chevrolet from the JRM stable will begin the playoffs as the No. 6 seed next week at the virtual Darlington Raceway. Races at Darlington, Indianapolis and the Charlotte Roval will determine the Championship 4 and those drivers will battle at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Oct. 8 for the $40,000 winner’s share of the $110,000 purse for the eNPAiRS.

Conti went into Tuesday’s race with no testing under his belt, due to the tragic passing of his mother after a brief illness. Arriving in Charlotte at 1 p.m. on race day, Conti got 90 minutes of testing in before starting the race on the BMS oval—which had not been on the series schedule since 2011.

Qualifying 11th, Conti raced mostly in the top 10 all night, fighting tight in the center and loose off the corners. His crew chief, Brandon Hastings, managed the adjustments to make the car handle better and Conti brought the blue-and-white #GinaStrong No. 8 Camaro home a solid 10th.

Davies, who ended the night 13th in championship points and missed out on the postseason, had quite the fight on his hands after qualifying 28th in his No. 88 Win Dale Jr.’s Ride Chevrolet. Struggling with a lack of speed, the qualifying effort meant that the Florida native would have to pit on the backstretch all night, which was a distinct disadvantage.

Despite not having qualifying speed, Davies’ No. 88 Camaro did have good race pace, and it showed early. Davies drove from 28th at the start up to 14th place in the first 84 laps before a caution flag slowed the proceedings. Pitting for tires and fuel cost him five positions to 19th, and Davies started the run to the front all over again. Picking off cars as he went, Davies found himself 12th when the final caution flag of the night waved with 90 laps remaining.

Crew chief John Prather, knowing that the pit stall would not treat them kindly in terms of track position, made the call for two tires and fuel on the stop and sent Davies back out in the top 10 for the run to the checkered. At the green flag, Davies continued moving forward and ran fifth with 25 laps remaining, locked in a battle with the fourth-place car. Coming off Turn 4, a lapped car failed to give the leaders racing room and Davies was forced to check up. Independent driver Taylor Hurst then tapped the rear of Davies’ car and sent him to the inside wall. No caution flag waved, meaning Davies had to collect his machine and get back up to speed. A bent left-front suspension hampered that effort, and Davies limped home in 19th position.

Casey Kirwan earned his first series victory on the night, topping Zack Novak, Michael Guest, Blake Reynolds and Hurst. Ray Alfalla led the second five, with Nick Ottinger, Ashton Crowder, Matt Bussa and Conti rounding out the top 10.

The playoff field consists of Ryan Luza, Garrett Lowe, Reynolds, Bobby Zalenski, Keegan Leahy, Conti, Jimmy Mullis and Novak.

The opening round of the playoffs is set for Tuesday, Aug. 27 at the virtual Darlington (S.C.) Raceway oval.

Michael Conti, driver No. 8 FilterTime / #GinaStrong JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“I can't thank my guys enough for preparing a solid FilterTime No. 8 car tonight. I had absolutely no part in making the setup this week due to what was going on with Mom, so without them, there was no way I could've gotten a top 10 tonight. Clearly, we have some work to do to catch up to a lot of the other playoff contenders, but we've been in this situation before. It’s nothing new. Going into the playoffs last year, we had no wins and were consistently a 7th-10th-place car. The playoffs start and bam, we're clicking off wins and top-five finishes. I know that we have the potential to do great things. At this point, it's about putting our heads down and maximizing what we have to work with. I'm racing for Mom, Dale and his family, and everyone else who has supported me this year and in years past. This playoff field is as stacked as ever, but we're going to do everything in our power to right the ship and get the No. 8 FilterTime Chevrolet up front and in championship form.”

Brad Davies, driver No. 88 Win Dale Jr.’s Ride JR Motorsports Chevrolet team

“I have to say I was a little worried about that two-tire call by (crew chief John) Prather, but he made the necessary adjustments on pit road to compensate and we were actually faster than most of the cars in the top 10 for the final 90 laps. It’s just disappointing we weren’t able to bring home a top five tonight because we had the car to do just that. It was probably the best No. 88 Win Dale Jr’s Ride Chevy we’ve had all year and I think it showed by driving up to fifth from 28th starting spot despite having to pit on the backstretch.  I’m sure we passed more cars than anyone in the race tonight, but I just hate that we got tagged with 25 to go and couldn’t bring home what should have been a well-deserved top five. Nothing we can do about it now except switch gears and get ready for the next race. There will be a lot of work to do in a short amount of time since we usually have two weeks to prepare between races but this time Darlington is on the schedule for next week.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • 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
  • November 9 03:30 PM ET
    Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200ISM Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Go Bowling 250

Richmond Raceway | 9/20/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Christopher Bell (P)21150
2Cole Custer (P)2093-22
3Tyler Reddick (P)2071-44
4Austin Cindric (P)2067-48
5Justin Allgaier (P)2054-61
6Michael Annett (P)2051-64
7Chase Briscoe # (P)2050-65
8Noah Gragson # (P)2048-67