Gragson Finishes Fourth, Leads JRM at Road America

JR Motorsports | 8/24/2019

Allstate Parts Brandt Fire Alarm Services Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Regan Smith Road America Switch XFINITY Series

Noah Gragson finished a solid fourth on Saturday to lead JRM in the third road course race of the season at the 4.048-mile Road America in Wisconsin.

Race 23 of 33: CTECH Manufacturing 180 at Road America
Track Specs: 4.048-mile road course / 45 laps
Weather: Fair; 70 degrees
Race Winner: Christopher Bell 

Gragson's Finish: 4th
Allgaier's Finish: 9th
Annett's Finish: 12th
Smith's Finish: 13th

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson drove to a fourth-place finish on the left-and-right turns of Road America in Saturday’s CTECH Manufacturing 180 for the Xfinity Series. Gragson spent the bulk of the day among the frontrunners, but the No. 9 Switch team had to bounce back from an early pit-road speeding penalty that mired them deep in the field. They clawed their way back inside the top five to lock down their sixth top five and 14th top 10 of the season.

Gragson fired off from a solid fifth-place starting spot and patiently settled in as the field began stringing out. His initial feedback centered around a tight condition on the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet that the team would work on throughout the race. Gragson held on to a spot in the top 10 and rode to the stage-ending caution in seventh.

The team elected to pit with the bulk of the field under the caution flag and Gragson came to the attention of the crew for a chassis adjustment in addition to four tires and fuel. But it was under this stop that NASCAR determined the No. 9 sped on pit road. As a result, Gragson had to line up 26th for the Stage-Two restart.

With the drop of the green flag, Gragson showed his road course skills. He worked up to 15th in only a lap, then cracked the top 10 by lap 16. Ultimately, Gragson would wheel his way to fifth for conclusion of Stage Two and return to pit road for a second scheduled stop.

Gragson took the start of the final stage in ninth and launched up to the fifth spot before the final caution slowed the field with three laps remaining. Gragson was in an advantageous spot for the restart and once up to speed managed to secure one final position and then hold off all challengers over the final two laps to come home fourth. It marked Gragson’s best road-course finish of 2019.

Christopher Bell won the race. He was followed to the line by Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, Gragson and Kaz Grala.  

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Switch Chevrolet team

“A big thanks to all the guys on the Switch team. We fought hard today. These road course races are always a bit of a wild card but it ended up being a solid points day for us. The last couple laps were pretty edgy out there with everybody bunched up fighting for position. But we’ll bank this fourth-place and turn our sights on Darlington.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the BRANDT Professional Agriculture team rallied for a ninth-place finish after coming back from a lap down in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Road America. The finish was the team’s 15th top-10 effort of the season and was good enough for Allgaier to clinch a spot in the NXS Playoffs. The JR Motorsports driver currently sits fourth in the point standings with three races left in the regular season.

Qualifying eighth for the 45-lap race, Allgaier was racing inside the top 10 when he relayed to the team that the BRANDT Chevy was tight center and lacking forward drive on exit. As Stage One was nearing its conclusion, the BRANDT Camaro blew a left-front tire, sending Allgaier into the sand in the braking zone of Turn 1. After getting towed back onto the track, Allgaier nursed the No. 7 to pit road under the stage-ending caution to give the team the opportunity to survey the damage and get fresh tires. The crew discovered damage to the sway bar, but didn’t have time to work on it under the caution.

Stuck one lap down, Allgaier took the green for Stage Two and reported to crew chief Jason Burdett that the BRANDT Camaro was handling much better on the new tires. He set his sights on being in position for the free pass. The stage went caution free, however Allgaier maintained being the first car one lap down and was given free pass at the end of Stage Two.

Under the yellow flag ending the second stage, the team changed four tires and got to work on repairs, getting Allgaier back out on track as the field was coming to the green to start the final stage. He managed to stay until an opportune caution came out on lap 32. During the yellow, the team called Allgaier to pit road for their last set of tires, fuel and to finalize the repairs to the sway bar. Back under green, Allgaier quickly maneuvered his way back inside the top 20 and was running 11th when a caution flag waved on lap 41, setting up the final restart with two laps to go. Back under green, Allgaier continued his surge forward, ending the day with a ninth-place finish.

Christopher Bell won the race and was followed by Austin Cindric, with Tyler Reddick, Noah Gragson and Kaz Grala rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“Today was a really frustrating day. We had a fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro and had a tire go flat right before the Turn 1 braking zone and got stuck a lap down with a damaged sway bar. What I love most about this team though is their never-give-up attitude. We were able to get those repairs made and drive back up through the field to get a solid top 10. I’m proud of these guys.”

Michael Annett

As the CTECH Manufacturing 180 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Road America drew to a close on Saturday afternoon, Michael Annett and the Allstate Parts & Service Chevrolet team had a plan in place. A caution flag with 13 laps left threw that plan off a bit, but a charge from 20th on the final restart of the day netted the Iowa driver and his team a solid 12th-place finish at the checkered flag.

After starting 18th for the 45-lap event on the massive 4.048-mile road course, Annett moved forward from the drop of the green flag. Gaining two positions to 16th at the end of the first lap, Annett ran around there until lap 7, when other drivers began to make early pit stops. He was 11th on lap 9, but advanced to 10th on the final lap of the 10-lap Stage One thanks to an off-course excursion by John Hunter Nemechek, the car directly in front of him on the track. That allowed Annett to pick up a valuable stage point.

On the ensuing pit stop, crew chief Travis Mack opted for fuel only, sending his driver back out in 19th for the 10-lap Stage Two. It also put an extra set of Goodyear Eagles in the bank for the No. 1 team. Annett had told Mack prior to the stop that he had not locked his brakes or wheel-hopped, which allowed the team to gamble on fuel only. Over the ensuing Stage Two, Annett rumbled up to 14th in the running order when the green checkered flag waved to end it. Annett reported that his Chevrolet was lacking lateral grip in the Carousel, the long, sweeping right-hander on the back side of the course. Pitting on lap 21, Annett got four tires and fuel with an air-pressure adjustment and went back out for the final stage in 17th position after the top five cars stayed out.

Again gaining two positions on the initial lap of green-flag racing, Annett kept moving forward. He was up to 12th on lap 28 and ready to hit pit road again on lap 32 when Brandon Jones’ accident caused a full-course caution flag. That caused the pits to be closed, blunting the efficacy of the green-flag stop for tires. Pitting with the rest of the field on lap 33, Annett got his second set of fresh Goodyears and fuel, returning to the track in 14th place. Within a couple of laps of the green flag, Annett had risen to 12th place in the order and was 11th with six laps remaining in the race. Gray Gaulding’s trip into the Turn 1 gravel trap brought the caution out again with four laps remaining, which allowed Annett to duck onto pit road for his final set of tires. The only other car with a set left was the No. 22 of Austin Cindric, and those two started side-by-side for the final two-lap run to the checkered flag.

Mack told Annett that the No. 22 was going to head for the front and to let him pave the way, and that’s what Annett did. A last-lap scuffle in the Hurry Downs/Carousel section of the course (Turns 7 and 8) impeded Annett’s run toward the front and caused some cosmetic damage to the bodywork on the No. 1 machine, but Annett held onto it and finished the race in 12th position.

Christopher Bell won the race, with Cindric, Tyler Reddick, JRM teammate Noah Gragson and Kaz Grala rounding out the top five. Justin Haley, Chase Briscoe, Jeremy Clements, JRM’s Justin Allgaier and Cole Custer completed the top 10.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Allstate Parts & Service team

“We had a great strategy going there at the end, but the caution came out on the lap (lap 32) we were going to pit under green. We had two sets of tires in the pits at that point, so it still worked out. There at the end, we put our last set on and tried to follow the 22 (Austin Cindric) up through the field, but we got caught in a mess at Turns 7 and 8 that cost us some spots. I couldn’t clear enough of them then to make up any more. It was a good race for the Allstate Parts & Service Chevrolet, and we’re going to be happy to get to Darlington next week.”

Regan Smith

Regan Smith drove the No. 8 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet to a 13th-place finish on Saturday in the CTECH Manufacturing 180 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Road America. It was his second start in the last three races in the No. 8 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports, both on road courses at Mid-Ohio and Road America, and his best finish of the season.

Smith took the green flag for the 45-lap event from 13th place and was running there four laps in when he radioed to crew chief Taylor Moyer that his Camaro was suffering from a lack of grip. That prompted Moyer to bring his driver down pit road two laps later for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. Exiting in 30th place, Smith was running there on lap 9 when the caution flag waved for a crash in Turn 1. Smith reported that his car was not handling well on entry and on exit, which hindered his ability to pass coming off the 14 turns on the Road America layout. He finished Stage One in 29th position.

Staying out while others in the field came to pit road, Smith advanced to fifth place for the Stage Two restart. On the first lap of green-flag racing, Smith was defending his position from Cole Custer at Turn 3 with Custer coming up the outside. Getting into the corner amid a crowd of cars, Smith was in the middle of the entry with cars behind and beside, and Custer’s machine ended up off the course. Settling into seventh place, Smith stayed there until lap 17, when he rose to fifth after a couple of cars ahead came to pit road. One lap later, he was third and that’s where he finished Stage Two. Smith told Moyer that his lateral grip had disappeared and that the nose was skittish in the braking zones, which cost him drive off the corners, especially right-hand corners. Moyer called for another adjustment to go with four tires, fuel and a water bottle, and sent his driver back out with instructions to save fuel.

Starting the final stage in 10th place, Smith had gained two positions to eighth when a full-course caution flag waved for Brandon Jones’ incident at lap 32. Moyer opted to bring Smith back down pit road for his final set of tires, more fuel and a further adjustment. Restarting from 15th, Smith had moved up two spots to 13th when the caution waved again at lap 41 for Gray Gaulding’s ride through the Turn 1 gravel trap. Restarting 11th with two laps to go, Smith finished the event in 13th place.

Christopher Bell won the race, followed by Austin Cindric, Tyler Reddick, JRM teammate Noah Gragson and Kaz Grala. The No. 8 team remained 11th in car owner points heading to next week’s event at Darlington (S.C.) Raceway.

Regan Smith, driver No. 8 Fire Alarm Services team

“This No. 8 Fire Alarm Services Chevrolet was running near the front and had good speed, but we weren’t able to capitalize at the end. We had good strategy, and it worked out to give us a chance at the end, but the cautions didn’t work in our favor and we finished 13th. It’s always great to drive for JR Motorsports, and I had a lot of fun doing these races along with Fire Alarm Services. They’re great people and a ton of fun to be around.”

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