Allgaier, Gragson Drive to Top-Five Finishes at Charlotte

JR Motorsports | 9/28/2019

Armour Charlotte Justin Allgaier Marquis Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Playoffs Ryan Truex Suave XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson both drove to top-five finishes Saturday and Ryan Truex added another top 10 for JRM on the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway.

Race 28 of 33: Drive For The Cure 250 at Charlotte Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 2.28-mile road course / 67 laps
Weather: Sunny, 87 degrees
Race Winner: AJ Allmendinger

Allgaier's Finish: 4th
Gragson's Finish: 5th
Truex's Finish: 10th
Annett's Finish: 15th

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier and the Armour Vienna Sausage team earned their fourth consecutive top-five finish on Saturday, placing fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The JR Motorsports driver sits fifth in the playoff standings with one race remaining in the Round of 12.

Qualifying seventh for the 67-lap race, Allgaier wasted little time working his way inside the top five once the green flag dropped. He was in the fifth position when the first caution of the race came out on lap 3. Under the yellow, Allgaier reported to the team that the Armour Vienna Sausage Camaro was pretty good to start. Back under green, he continued to race inside the top 10. As the first stage neared its end, some cars ahead of Allgaier started to pit. Opting to stay out and collect maximum stage points, Allgaier took the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage One on lap 20 in the third position.

Under the stage-ending caution, the team took four tires and fuel, setting Allgaier up to start the second stage from the ninth position. Once the stage was underway, the driver of the No. 7 advanced his position to seventh and remained there for several laps. Once again, multiple cars on an alternate pit strategy came to pit road with just a few laps remaining in Stage Two. Allgaier and the No. 7 team again opted to remain on the track and maximize the number of stage points they could earn, ending Stage Two in fourth on lap 40.

A fast stop by the No. 7 pit crew under the stage break put Allgaier in the eighth position for the final stage of the race. A big pileup heading into the first turn brought out the caution flag, Allgaier was in the middle of the melee but escaped without damage. Staying out under the yellow, he restarted in the sixth position and remained within the top 10 through a series cautions. The race came down to a three-lap battle to the finish, with Allgaier holding off his JRM teammate Noah Gragson to take the checkered flag in the fourth position.

AJ Allmendinger won the race and was followed by Tyler Reddick, with Austin Cindric, Allgaier and Gragson rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Armour Vienna Sausage team

“Our Armour Vienna Sausage Camaro was really good. I’m really proud of all the guys on this team. Today our goal was to have a good, clean race and get as many stage points as we could and I think we did a great job of that. Now we just need to head to Dover and get another solid finish so we can continue on to the next round of these playoffs.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Suave Chevrolet Camaro, scored his fifth top-five in the last 10 NASCAR Xfinity Series races after taking the checkered flag in fifth on Saturday afternoon at the Roval at Charlotte Motor Speedway. The result is also Gragson’s 16th top-10 finish in the last 18 races, and moves the JR Motorsports driver to seventh in the NXS Playoff Grid, 15 points ahead of the eighth and final cutoff position with one race remaining in the Round of 12. Following the completion next weekend’s event at Dover International Speedway, the bottom four drivers will be eliminated from playoff contention.

Gragson initially qualified for the 67-lap event from the 12th position but had to take the green flag from the rear of the field following an incident in practice that forced the JRM team to unload the backup car for the race. Once underway Gragson charged forward, needing just two laps to drive into to the top-15 and up to as high as 12th before a variety of pit strategies began to playout among the race leaders. With several of the leaders choosing to come to pit road prior to the end of Stage One, crew chief Dave Elenz decided to keep Gragson on-track in order to gain the maximum amount of points possible. The decision paid off as Gragson moved into the top 10 in the final two laps of the stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 20 in ninth, earning two valuable stage points in the process.

Prior to the beginning of Stage Two, Elenz called the driver of the Suave Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment after Gragson had reported that he needed help with rear drive on the exit of the corners. Returning to the track following the stop in 13th, the Las Vegas native again moved forward, taking advantage of the caution-free second stage to race up to eighth before the leaders once again utilized a variety of pit strategies. Staying true to the game plan from Stage One, Elenz elected to have Gragson stay out while a handful of leaders came to pit road, ultimately moving the 21-year-old driver up to fifth by the completion of Stage Two on lap 40. The stage result also earned Gragson six additional stage points.

While under the stage-ending caution, Gragson reported to Elenz that he felt like there was an issue with the voltage coming from the battery inside the car. After surveying the issue on pit road, Gragson headed back out for the beginning of the final stage in 24th. Despite the loss of track position Gragson persevered, improving 11 positions while narrowly avoiding a multi-car incident heading into Turn 1 on lap 43 to rejoin the top-15. The driver of the Suave Chevrolet’s ascent toward the front persisted on the ensuing restart as Gragson raced to the eighth position before a lap 48 caution slowed the field once again.

The rookie-of-the-year contender then continued to fight for position inside the top 10 throughout a rash of cautions before ultimately moving up to fifth as the final caution flag of the afternoon was displayed on lap 61. Lining up as the third car on the inside line for the lap 64 restart, Gragson battled for position with JRM teammate Justin Allgaier for the remaining laps before taking the checkered flag in fifth.

With the result, Gragson’s top-10 finish streak improves to 16 out of the last 18 NXS races and moves the JRM driver to seventh in the NXS Playoff Grid with one race remaining in the Round of 12.

AJ Allmendinger scored the victory, with Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, JRM teammate Allgaier and Gragson rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Suave team

“I’m very thankful to be driving for this team and these guys on this Suave Chevrolet. I put them in a bind to start the weekend with our crash in practice but these guys worked tirelessly on this backup and it feels great to be able to reward that with a top-five finish. We did what we needed to do today and got as many points as we could so that we can keep building on that cushion in the points heading into Dover next week. Hopefully we can keep this momentum going and have a smooth weekend next week and move on to the next round of playoffs.”

 

Ryan Truex

Ryan Truex and the No. 8 Marquis Spa team salvaged a stout 10th-place finish in Saturday’s Drive for the Cure 250 at the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval. Truex was in position for an even better result but was taken out by aggressive competitors while running fourth in the opening corner of the final stage. Despite the setback, Truex kept composed and earned 15 positions back to secure the team’s 19th top 10 of the season.

After making a myriad of changes to the No. 8 during practice, Truex rolled off in the 13th spot for the 67-lap race. Truex was patient in the early going, running 12th in Stage One until green-flag stops by several competitors propelled him to seventh for the end of Stage One. Under the stage-ending caution the team took the opportunity to pit for four tires, fuel and changes to help regain some front turn with the Marquis Spa Chevrolet.

Truex took green flag for Stage Two in 11th and again set to work. He radioed crew chief Taylor Moyer that the car was getting somewhat loose in the corners. He held on to the spot before falling to 12th prior to green-flag pit stops on lap 38, which included four tires, fuel and adjustments. With teams on varying pit strategies, some elected not to pit under green-flag conditions. As a result, the No. 8 dropped to 24th, where Truex ended Stage Two.

Things cycled through under the stage-ending caution with competitors taking their turn on pit road and Truex jumped to a race-high fourth for the start of the final stage. When the field fired off for the green flag, several aggressive competitors behind Truex decided to making things four-wide heading into Turn 1. As the field funneled into the opening corner, the No. 8 received enough contact to its bumper to spin Truex out. The caution flag waved and with minimum damage, Truex came back to pit road for fresh tires.

Truex fell to 25th where he took the ensuing restart on lap 46 and immediately went to work. Despite several more close calls, Truex worked his way back inside the top 10 two laps before the checkered flag fell. The effort marks his fourth top 10 in five starts for JRM.

AJ Allmendinger won the race. He was followed the line by Tyler Reddick, Austin Cindric, Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson.

Ryan Truex, driver No. 8 Marquis Spa Chevrolet team

“We had a shot at a top five there if everything worked out. Obviously, it didn’t. I’m proud of everyone on this Marquis Spa team. It was a tough weekend all around for us. For us to get to the front and get spun, and still come back to finish 10th, says a lot about how well we can work together. We salvaged the day. We were in the right spot and we called the right race. Not much we can do about getting hit from behind.”

 

Michael Annett

After going to a backup car following a practice crash on Friday, starting at the rear of the field, and battling back after suffering front-end damage on an early restart, Michael Annett drove the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet to a 15th-place finish Saturday on the Charlotte Motor Speedway Roval.

Annett’s weekend got off to a rough start during practice on Friday as he went off the track in Turn 5 of the 17-turn, 2.28-mile combination road course and oval layout, forcing the team to unload a backup car and sending Annett to the rear of the field for the start of Saturday’s 67-lap event. Annett was able to advance to 21st by the conclusion of Lap 1 and picked up another spot by the time the race’s first caution flew on Lap 3.

The promising start, however, was derailed on the ensuing restart on Lap 7. As cars in front of Annett checked up to enter Turn 1, he rear-ended Ryan Sieg causing moderate damage to the front end of the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet. Crew chief Travis Mack opted to keep Annett on the track through the conclusion of Stage One instead of coming to pit road for repairs. In the closing laps of the 20-lap opening stanza, Annett reported low voltage, prompting him to turn off several of the electrical systems in his Chevrolet. Annett persevered and finished 20th in Stage One.

During the caution following the opening stage, Annett brought his car to the attention of his crew on pit road for repairs to the front end and also for four new tires and fuel. During the caution, Mack had Annett switch to his backup battery to see if that fixed the voltage issue. With no change, he switched back to the primary battery before the start of Stage Two but would be plagued by low voltage the remainder of the race.

Following the chaos of Stage One, Annett started 31st for the second 20-lap stage, which turned into a methodical charge through the field, eventually moving up to 16th by the time the green and white checkered flag flew for the second time in the race on Lap 40. Annett reported he lacked forward drive during the run, prompting Mack to make an air pressure adjustment on the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet during another round of pit stops at the conclusion of Stage Two.

On the restart for the beginning of the final stage, Annett made slight contact with another machine in Turn 1 to avoid spinning cars in front of him. He immediately reported the toe was out of alignment but the team kept him on the track instead of coming to pit road saying track position was important to having a good finish.

As the final stage progressed, Annett reported his car had gone tight in the left-hand turns. When the caution flew with 10 laps to go, Mack brought Annett back to pit road for tires, fuel and two rounds up on the track bar to compensate. The team also was able to confirm the toe was knocked out based on tire wear and told Annett to try to nurse his tires home for the final run to the checkers as best he could. Annett was able to make small gains over the closing laps but stalled in 15th by the time the checkered flag flew. Annett finds himself inside the top eight in points by 11 markers as the NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Dover International Speedway next Saturday for the first elimination race of the 2019 Playoffs.

AJ Allmendinger won the race with Tyler Reddick in second and Austin Cindric third. JRM teammates Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson rounded out the top-five finishers.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J team

“I knew it was going to be a tough weekend and that’s why we wanted to execute at Richmond as well as we did and get that buffer and bonus points on the other guys. Didn’t think it was going to be this exciting having to go to a backup car and just destroying the car on that first restart. Long day but we were able to finish ahead of three guys we’re fighting for going on to the next round. That was big. We got an 11-point cushion going in. Good to have it behind us and have that cushion and not coming out square with some of the guys and going to a track where we enjoy and have had some good runs.”

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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