JRM Brings Home Three Top-Five Finishes at the Brickyard

JR Motorsports | 9/7/2019

Indianapolis Jeb Burton Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J State Water Heaters Suave Switch XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier finished second to lead a JRM 2-3-4 finish Saturday at Indianapolis with teammates Noah Gragson and Jeb Burton bringing home top-five finishes.

Race 25 of 33: Indiana 250 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 2.5-mile oval / 100 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy; 78 degrees
Race Winner: Kyle Busch

Allgaier's Finish: 2nd
Gragson's Finish: 3rd
Burton's Finish: 4th
Annett's Finish: 12th

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the No. 7 Suave Men team came close to getting back-to-back wins at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, finishing second in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race after leading 24 laps. The result was Allgaier’s fourth runner-up finish of the season. The Illinois native remains fourth in the NXS point standings as the series heads into the final race of the regular season next week.

Qualifying eighth for the 100-lap race, Allgaier wasted little time working his way toward the front. He was up to fifth by the end of the first lap and remained there until a caution flag waved on lap 15. Restarting fourth after a car ahead of him decided to pit, Allgaier steadily picked off positions, eventually finding himself in third when the caution came out once again on lap 23.

Under the yellow, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for four tires and fuel. With some cars opting to stay out, Allgaier restarted in 16th, but raced his way back up to sixth before the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end Stage One on lap 30.

Staying out under the stage-ending caution, the JR Motorsports driver took the green flag for Stage Two in third and stayed inside the top five, eventually taking the lead away from Kyle Busch on lap 53. Allgaier continued to pace the field for the remainder of the stage, collecting a playoff point when he took the green-and-white checkered flag in first. Under the stage-ending caution, the team called him in for a fast stop of four tires and fuel.

Winning the race off pit road, Allgaier started the final stage from the lead position. Busch worked his way by and the two continued to battle, with Allgaier ultimately retaking command of the lead on lap 69. When a caution came out with 22 laps to go, the driver of the Suave Men Chevy led the majority of the field to pit road. The team made their final stop of the race for four tires and fuel.

Allgaier restarted in third and battled inside the top five until another yellow came out on lap 88. He took the late-race restart from the fourth position and was able to avoid a big wreck by two of the cars ahead of him to move into second before the yellow came out. The race would come down to a four-lap shootout. Allgaier was right behind Busch in the closing laps but was unable to work his way by, ultimately taking the checkered flag in second.

Busch won the race and was followed by Allgaier, with JRM drivers Noah Gragson and Jeb Burton finishing third and fourth, respectively. Justin Haley rounded out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Suave Men team

“Hats off to our guys. Our Suave Men Camaro was on rails, especially on the long run. We had a couple late-race restarts that just didn’t go our way and unfortunately that put us a little behind. Hats off to everybody at JR Motorsports. To have three cars in the top five is huge. Man, you don’t realize what this place means to you until you come that close to kissing those bricks again. We’ll go on to next week and finish out this regular season strong and hopefully go into the playoffs carrying this momentum on.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet Camaro, scored his seventh top-five finish of the 2019 season on Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Indianapolis Motor Speedway after taking the checkered flag in the third position. With the result, Gragson has scored 13 top-10s in the last 15 NXS races and has improved to an average finish of 7.0 over that same stretch.

Gragson lined up for the penultimate event of the NXS regular season from the 13th position and maintained his track position inside the top 15 throughout the opening run of the 100-lap event. Then, during a lap 14 caution period, crew chief Dave Elenz opted to bring the driver of the Switch Chevrolet to pit road after Gragson had reported that he had developed a tight-handling condition rolling through the corner. Returning to the track following the stop in 19th, Gragson charged forward, improving 11 positions to seventh before the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 22.

With the majority of the leaders choosing to come to pit road, Elenz decided to keep Gragson on the track, moving the JR Motorsports driver up to the third position for the ensuing restart. Gragson continued to fight for position inside the top five for the remainder of the opening stage, ultimately taking the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 30 in the fourth position, earning seven valuable stage points in the process.

Choosing to stay out during the stage-ending caution, the 21-year-old rookie driver took the green flag to begin Stage Two in the second position. After battling inside the top five for much of the second stage, Gragson reported to Elenz that the tight-handling condition had returned to the Switch Chevrolet. This handling condition, coupled with the older tires than the cars behind him, shuffled Gragson down the running order in the closing laps of the stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 60 in 10th.

During the stage-ending caution, Gragson returned to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of alleviating the tight condition. The driver of the Switch Chevrolet began the final stage after the stop in ninth, but was quickly shuffled back to 13th after getting forced into a three-wide situation. Gragson continued to ride in 13th until a lap 78 caution provided Elenz with another chance to work on the handling of the JRM Camaro. Following the four-tire stop, Gragson lined up for the lap 84 restart in 16th and quickly marched forward, improving seven positions to ninth before the field fell under the yellow again on lap 87.

After narrowly avoiding a multi-car incident during the lap 92 restart, Gragson moved up to the fifth position. On the ensuing restart, Gragson drafted with JRM teammate Justin Allgaier to race into the top three and ultimately take the checkered flag in the third position.

The third-place result is Gragson’s third finish inside the top three this season and his seventh inside the top five.

Kyle Busch earned the victory, with JRM teammate Allgaier, Gragson, JRM teammate Jeb Burton and Justin Haley rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Switch team

“Today was a really good day for this Switch Chevrolet and for JRM as a whole. To have three cars in the top five is pretty awesome and I am incredibly thankful for all of the hard work each and every person at JRM is putting in to these cars each week. We battled hard today and were able to come away with another really strong run. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going next week in Vegas and carry it on through to the start of the playoffs.”

 

Jeb Burton

With a stout fourth-place finish, Jeb Burton claimed his season-best finish in Saturday’s Indiana 250 for the Xfinity Series machines at the legendary Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Burton spent the bulk of the day running among the top five with the No. 8 State Water Heaters machine, even racing as high as second for a time. The team put together a solid performance in all facets of the race to bring home its sixth top five and 17th top 10 of the season. 

After qualifying 12th, Burton immediately showed he belonged among the front runners by shooting to the top 10 in the opening lap. After a caution slowed the field early on lap 15, Burton cycled to seventh for the ensuing restart and advanced to sixth prior to the race’s second caution flag. Battling a loose condition “all the way through the corner”, the crew took advantage of the caution to pit for adjustments to aid the No. 8’s handling in addition to four tires and fuel. With several competitors electing to stay out, the State Water Heaters Chevy cycled to 17th for the restart. Burton would charge ahead to 12th to end Stage One.

Burton was scored in eighth for the Stage Two restart and this was where the No. 8 team shined. The adjustments made on pit road helped Burton drive to fourth by lap 46 and then third by the race’s halfway point. Burton’s progress had the team commenting the State Water Heaters entry looked “pretty sporty”. He rounded out Stage Two in fourth position.

Following another round of pit stops, Burton lined up fourth for the start of the final stage and proceeded to slice his way to a race-high second place. After getting shuffled out of the preferred bottom lane, Burton forfeited several positions and dropped to sixth until he could fall back in line.

The team took the opportunity to pit again under caution on lap 78 where the State Water Heaters entry needed only a little tweaking. Burton fired off on the restart in 11th and needed only one circuit to jump four spots to seventh. After narrowly avoiding an accident between the Nos. 22 and 19, Burton restarted fifth with eight laps remaining. He wheeled his way to third prior to a red-flag stoppage but ultimately took the checkered flag in fourth. 

Kyle Busch won the race. He was followed to the line by a trio of JRM Chevrolets with Justin Allgaier in second, Noah Gragson third, Burton fourth and Justin Haley rounding out the top-five finishers. 

Jeb Burton, driver No. 8 State Water Heaters Chevrolet team

“Really proud of the effort today from our State Water Heaters group. Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) did a great job keeping up with the race car and making the right adjustments. We’ve been working better and better together every race. We’ve only ran five races this year and we finished top five in two of them. Hopefully we can get us a win in my next races at Texas or Miami. We got a good thing going and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”

 

Michael Annett

With four laps remaining in Saturday’s Indiana 250 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Michael Annett was in the middle of a late-race hornet’s nest in his No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Running as high as seventh with three laps remaining, the Iowa native fell victim to a pack of his opponents down the long backstretch on the 2.5-mile oval and eventually came home in 12th position at the end of the 100-lap event.

Starting 15th at the famed speed plant, Annett stayed in line and got a feel for his Chevrolet over the first 15 laps. In final practice on Friday, Annett was involved in an incident that resulted in damage to the rear bodywork, and his Pilot Flying J team worked long after the session was over to get it right. At lap 15, a caution flag waved for the stalled car of Austin Dillon. Annett told crew chief Travis Mack that his Pilot Flying J machine was trending tighter at the exits of Turns 1 and 2, and Mack brought Annett down pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. Returning to the track in 20th position, Annett had risen to 16th before another yellow flag came out on lap 24, and that opened the flood gates on pit stops. By the time it shook out, Annett was up to 10th before encountering a handling issue in the three-lap dash to the green-checkered flag to end the 30-lap Stage One. He finished 13th.

Despite stopping 15 laps earlier, Mack called Annett back down pit road on the stage break for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to give him more stability on the right front corner. The Pilot Flying J pit crew performed another fast stop and Annett started Stage Two in 20th position. On the first lap of green-flag racing, Annett gained three positions and missed Brandon Brown’s spin to boot, gaining another position when Christopher Bell was forced to pit with damage. On the ensuing restart, Annett continued to climb the running order, picking his way to 11th by lap 45. With six laps remaining in Stage Two, the tight condition at the south end of the track came back, but despite dropping a couple of spots, he rallied to finish the stage in 11th place.

Mack called for four tires, a track-bar adjustment and further air-pressure adjustments on the Stage Two pit stop, and again, the pit crew gained a spot on the exchange to put Annett back in the top 10. As the final 34-lap stage got under way, Annett pulled off a three-wide pass off Turn 2 to get to eighth on lap 67, and was running with a pack of cars that traded spots on a lap-by-lap basis. A caution at lap 80 brought Annett to pit road for the final time of the afternoon, for four tires and fuel to the end, and the pit crew gained two more positions to put him ninth for the restart.

Annett stayed in the top 10 for the remainder of the event until the pack caught him up down the backstretch with two laps remaining in the event and he finished a solid 12th on the day. Annett remains eighth in series points and is locked into the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, which will start in two weeks at Richmond Raceway.

Kyle Busch won the race over the JRM trio of Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Jeb Burton, and Justin Haley was fifth. Brandon Jones, Cole Custer, Chase Briscoe, Austin Hill and Ryan Sieg rounded out the top 10.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“We were in a good position there at the end and we just got mobbed. A group of cars came up on us and they had all the momentum. Our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet was really fast at times and we could get awesome runs all day, but it is just so hard to finish them and even harder to defend against a line of cars once they get past the rear bumper. It was a good day for us, overall, but it could have been a lot better if not for that last bit of the race.”

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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