Allgaier Fifth, Gragson Sixth in Regular Season Finale at Las Vegas

JR Motorsports | 9/14/2019

Bar Harbor Brandt Justin Allgaier Las Vegas Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Ryan Truex Switch XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier came home fifth with teammate Noah Gragson in sixth to lead the JRM squad in the regular-season finale Saturday night at Las Vegas.

Race 26 of 33: Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Clear; 97 degrees
Race Winner: Tyler Reddick

Allgaier's Finish: 5th
Gragson's Finish: 6th
Annett's Finish: 13th
Truex's Finish: 14th

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the BRANDT Professional Agriculture team earned their 11th top-five finish of the year in Saturday’s regular-season finale at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, placing fifth in the 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race. Allgaier enters the NXS Playoffs as the sixth seed, 43 points behind the leader.

The JR Motorsports driver qualified third for the 200-lap event and wasted no time advancing his position, moving into the second spot by the completion of the first lap. Allgaier radioed to the team that he was losing front grip as the run went on but continued to hold on to the second position through the conclusion of caution-free Stage One. During the stage-ending caution, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment.

The Illinois native fired off for the second stage from the second position on lap 52 and momentarily took over the lead, but fell back to third as he reported that the BRANDT Camaro was tighter than the first run. Still, he advanced his position back up to second on lap 80 and remained there when the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage Two on lap 90.

Determined to improve the handling of the BRANDT Chevy, the team called Allgaier in for four tires, fuel and multiple adjustments. Taking the green flag for the final stage in third, the driver of the No. 7 moved up to second and relayed shortly after that the BRANDT Camaro was free in Turns 3 and 4 and tight on exit at both ends of the track. When a caution came out on lap 112, the team took the opportunity to hit pit road for fuel, tires and another round of adjustments.

Allgaier restarted in second and took over the lead on lap 116. He paced the field until lap 127 when Christopher Bell retook the position. When another caution came out just two laps later, the team opted to stay out on the track with a majority of the field, while a few cars opted to pit for fuel. Back under green, Allgaier was running in the second position when he reported to the team that the BRANDT Chevy was sideways through the center and tight on exit.

As a long green-flag run ensued, Allgaier continued to battle for position and was running in fourth when green-flag stops began just past lap 165. The BRANDT team opted to come to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. With some cars on varying pit strategies, Allgaier was able to work his way back up to the fifth position before the checkered flag waved.

Tyler Reddick stretched his fuel to win the regular-season finale and was followed by Bell, with Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and Allgaier rounding out the top five.

Allgaier ends the regular season with 11 top fives and 18 top 10s, with 455 laps led.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team

“We had a great BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro early on, especially when the sun was out. We tried to make some adjustments to try to keep up with the change in track and unfortunately just didn’t keep up with it enough there. It was still a solid day for us. To be able to drive up and take the lead there was good. I’m proud of all of these guys and I’m proud of everybody at JR Motorsports. We’ll keep digging, but I feel like today we made big steps towards inserting our presence into that final four hopefully when the playoffs get down to Homestead.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet Camaro, earned a sixth-place finish in Saturday evening’s regular-season finale for the NASCAR Xfinity Series at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. With the result, Gragson heads into the 2019 NXS Playoffs as the eighth seed with seven top fives and 17 top 10s. The JR Motorsports driver trails series leader Tyler Reddick by just 50 points heading into the opening round of the playoffs next weekend in Richmond.

Gragson took the green flag for the 200-lap event from the rear of the field after an incident in qualifying prevented the Las Vegas native from completing his lap. Despite starting at the rear, Gragson charged forward, needing only five laps to improve 23 positions and race into the top 15. The rookie driver’s climb didn’t stop there, as Gragson methodically worked through traffic to drive up to the 12th position by the time the caution-free opening stage came to a close on lap 45.

During the stage-ending caution, Gragson reported to crew chief Dave Elenz that the Switch Chevrolet was loose rolling through the corner. With this knowledge in hand, Elenz opted to bring Gragson to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment, sending the JRM driver back out for the beginning of Stage Two in the ninth position. Once back underway Gragson continued to fight for position, racing up to as high as seventh before the loose-handling condition returned. This handling condition ultimately shuffled Gragson back to 11th by the time the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed to end the caution-free second stage on lap 90.

Prior to the beginning of the third and final stage, Elenz made the decision to call Gragson back to pit road for another round of adjustments in the hopes of improving the handling of the Switch Chevrolet. Returning to the track following the stop in 11th, Gragson again pressed forward, taking advantage of a caution on lap 111 to march back into the top 10. The 21-year-old driver continued to fight for position inside the top 10 throughout the green flag run that followed, moving up to as high as sixth before reporting that the persistent loose condition had returned. Despite not handling to his liking, the decision was made for Gragson to stay out during a lap 127 caution period, lining the playoff contender up in the 10th position for the ensuing restart.

Once back underway Gragson patiently went to work, taking advantage of a long green-flag run to drive up to seventh before a variety of pit strategies began to take place for the race leaders. Choosing to stay out a handful of laps longer than those in front, Gragson moved up to fourth before coming to pit road for his final stop of the day under green on lap 171. Gragson exited pit road following the stop in 12th but wasted little time driving back toward the front, utilizing the outside line to improve six positions in the final 25 laps to take the checkered flag in sixth.

With the result, Gragson has now scored a top-10 finish in 14 of the last 16 NXS races and enters the opening round of the 2019 playoffs as the eighth seed, 50 points shy of the series lead.

Reddick brought home the victory, with Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and JRM teammate Justin Allgaier rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Switch team

“I feel like I definitely learned a lot today with our Switch Chevrolet. We were able to overcome some obstacles throughout the day, starting with qualifying, and were able to come home with another really solid finish. I can’t thank all of the guys on this JR Motorsports team enough for everything they do. We are heading in to the playoffs with a lot of momentum on our side and hopefully we can carry that through each of these rounds and be there in the end down in Homestead.”

 

Michael Annett

In the final race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series’ regular season, Michael Annett and the No 1 Pilot Flying J team finished 13th at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. When the NXS Playoffs begin next weekend at Richmond (Va.) Raceway, Annett and the No. 1 team will begin the seven-race stretch as the No. 7 seed.

Starting from 11th position for the 200-lap Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 on the 1.5-mile oval, Annett gained two spots on the initial start to run eighth before moving up another two positions to sixth inside the first 10 laps. Over the remaining 39 laps in Stage One, Annett held position in the top 10 and finished ninth at the green-checkered flag. Annett reported to crew chief Travis Mack on the stage break that he got very loose with about 10 laps remaining and had difficulty maintaining his free roll through the corners of the desert oval. That made it difficult to get back to the gas off the all-important Turn 4. Mack responded with four tires, fuel and a track-bar adjustment to help him get onto the front straightaway better.

Rolling off ninth for the 45-lap Stage Two, Annett settled into 11th after the initial rush at the green flag and ran there until four laps remained in the stage. The Iowa native passed JRM teammate Noah Gragson for 10th on that lap and held it to the finish, doubling up on stage points for the day. On the break before the 110-lap final stage, Annett told Mack that he had the lateral grip he needed, which allowed him to run the preferred top groove much earlier in the stage. Mack made an air-pressure adjustment to help that, along with adding four more Goodyear Eagles and fuel. The Pilot Flying J pit crew turned in a blazing stop and picked up two positions for the final run.

Starting eighth for the final stage, which began on lap 98, Annett held serve in the top 10 and was running 10th at lap 112 when the caution flag waved for a spin off Turn 4. Annett told Mack that his Chevrolet started the run tighter and was building that way, which meant that he wasn’t gaining on the cars ahead. Mack elected to bring Annett down pit road for more tires and fuel at lap 113, and once again, the pit crew banged out a stellar stop and gained three positions for Annett. That put him seventh for the restart, but a penalty on a driver ahead of him advanced him to sixth. A solid restart put Annett fifth the first time past the flag stand, and he battled heavy traffic until lap 129, when the caution waved again for another Turn 4 crash. Sitting seventh in the order and way short of being able to make it to the end on fuel, Mack elected to leave Annett on the track.

When the action resumed, Annett raced in the top 10 until lap 157, when the tight condition returned to the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Over the next 12 laps, Annett fell to 13th before coming down pit road for his final set of tires and fuel to the end. Rejoining the race a lap down in 19th place, Annett kept digging and moving up the running order, taking 13th place from Justin Haley with 14 laps remaining in the race and finishing there at the checkered.

Tyler Reddick won the race and clinched the regular-season championship in doing so. Christopher Bell was second, followed by Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and JRM’s Justin Allgaier in the top five. Gragson led the second five, with Gray Gaulding, John Hunter Nemechek, Riley Herbst and Elliott Sadler the remainder of the top 10.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“We were just a little tight in the last stage and couldn’t defend all that well. The Pilot Flying J team, crew chief Travis Mack and the guys, have given me really fast Camaros all year long and we had our moments today. It was a great day in the pits too; those guys had a great day and gained some positions. The playoffs are here and we are going to turn it up and go get them.”

 

Ryan Truex

Making only his fourth start of the year for JR Motorsports, Ryan Truex finished 14th with the No. 8 Bar Harbor Chevrolet in Saturday‘s Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

Truex had his work cut out from the onset, lining up in 22nd position for the start of the race. He made a steady advance in the opening stage, posting top-five lap times and patiently working his way through the field with a tight condition. Truex was scored in 11th to conclude Stage One.

After the first round of pit stops, that included an adjustment for the handling on the No. 8, Truex fired off for Stage Two in 12th. He shot to ninth, and as the run went on improved to seventh, commenting the Bar Harbor entry was “better, but still tight.” Truex rounded out Stage Two in eighth.

With further adjustment under the stage-ending caution, Truex began the final stage in 10th. On the stage’s opening lap, the No. 8 car suffered an ignition issue that had Truex switching to the backup box as the field thundered up to speed. As a result, he fell to 14th. Once Truex settled back in, he advanced to 11th. However, little went the team’s way after that. The ignition woes remained a sporadic hindrance for the remainder of the race, and the strategy of trying to stretch their fuel window to the max didn’t pan out either. Truex and the Bar Harbor team salvaged what they could of the day and came home 14th.

Tyler Reddick won the race. He was followed to the line by Christopher Bell, Brandon Jones, Cole Custer and Justin Allgaier.

Ryan Truex, driver No. 8 Bar Harbor Chevrolet team

“First off, I have to give a big thanks to all these guys on this No. 8 Bar Harbor team this weekend. They worked hard and we’re disappointed we didn’t have the run to show it. We had things going in the right direction in Stage Two. We had gotten some track position and the changes we made on pit road were helping. It was just so hard to pass that there wasn’t much you could do without track position. Once we started having problems with the ignition box, we just couldn’t recover. It wasn’t for lack of effort. My next race is Charlotte, so I’m looking forward to getting back to the track with these guys.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • 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
  • November 16 03:30 PM ET
    Ford EcoBoost 300Homestead-Miami Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Kansas Lottery 300

Kansas Speedway | 10/19/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Christopher Bell (P)31060
2Cole Custer (P)3095-11
3Tyler Reddick (P)3094-12
4Justin Allgaier (P)3059-47
5Chase Briscoe # (P)3057-49
6Michael Annett (P)3047-59
7Noah Gragson # (P)3042-64
8Austin Cindric (P)3029-77