Annett, Allgaier Score Top Fives at Kansas

JR Motorsports | 10/19/2019

Allstate Parts Brandt Justin Allgaier Kansas Marquis Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Playoffs PubG Mobile Ryan Truex Trademark Nitrogen XFINITY Series

Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier both scored top-five finishes Saturday for JRM in the Round of 8 opener for the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs at Kansas.

Race 30 of 33: Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 200 laps
Weather: Partly cloudy; 65 degrees
Race Winner: Brandon Jones

Annett's Finish: 4th
Allgaier's Finish: 5th
Gragson's Finish: 13th
Truex's Finish: 38th

 

Michael Annett

Late in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Kansas Speedway, Michael Annett was third in the running order with a chance to win the first race of the Round of 8 in the NXS Playoffs. When it was over, Annett drove the No. 1 Allstate Parts and Service Chevrolet Camaro to a fourth-place finish and moved up a spot in the point standings with two races left until the Championship 4 is decided.

Annett and crew chief Travis Mack rolled the dice in the final stage, electing to stay out on a caution flag at lap 164 while the rest of the field came to pit road. Being inside the window on fuel, the gamble was that there would be a caution in time to make use of the unused set of tires sitting in the pit box. Restarting from the outside lane as the leader, Annett quickly dropped five spots on the opening lap to run sixth and he was in ninth position on lap 185 when the caution waved again for a crash on the front straightaway that impacted a pair of front-running cars. On the resulting pit stop, Annett got his fresh tires and a chassis adjustment and returned to the track in third place with 10 laps remaining in the event.

After another caution flag slowed the field, Annett lined up third again with five laps remaining, directly behind second-starting Tyler Reddick. On the green, Reddick’s car faltered, forcing Annett to slow his own pace and negating the advantage of his fresh tires. That cost him a spot on the initial break, and he dropped to fifth with three to go before making a low-line move on JRM teammate Justin Allgaier to recapture fourth place at the checkered flag. The finish was Annett’s sixth top-five of the season, tying his previous best season mark set in 2012, and the top-10 result set a new personal best for the Iowa driver as well.

Annett’s stellar drive tool place despite the fact that he started shotgun on the field. A handling issue during his qualifying lap earlier on Saturday caused him not to post a speed, so he started last in the 38-car field. At the initial green, Annett started his way forward, picking up 11 spots on the first lap. Following a caution at lap 4—under which he pitted for adjustments that would tighten his car’s handling--Annett kept coming through the field, cracking the top 20 on lap 14, the top 15 on lap 22 and the top 10 after 36 laps. He stayed there through the end of Stage One to earn a stage point, and pitted on the break for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. The No. 1 team pit crew gained a spot on the exchange as well, which put him ninth for Stage Two.

Annett spent Stage Two holding on to his track position, rising to seventh place on lap 84 and holding that spot to the end. As it had in the first stage, Annett’s Camaro started off free and stayed there, and he was forced to manage the loose condition carefully. Annett told Mack that he needed the rear tires to be in the track to be able to run the preferred top groove, and Mack responded with four tires and an air-pressure adjustment. The pit crew held serve, which put Annett seventh for the restart.

Annett took off quickly, entering the top five just four laps into the final stage and eventually settling into sixth place for the bulk of the next 40 laps. On lap 145, however, Annett scrubbed the outside wall and did some damage to the right side of his Chevrolet. The caution came out, which allowed Annett to come to pit road on lap 147 for four tires and a look at the damage. During the stop, the team was penalized for an uncontrolled tire, which forced them to restart in the 10th position, the last car on the lead lap. On the ensuing restart, Annett jumped to eighth and stayed there until lap 164, when the caution waved for a spinning John Hunter Nemechek. That set up the strategy play that enabled the team to finish in the top five. Annett led three laps during the pit-stop sequence as well. His finish puts him sixth in the playoff point standings, just 12 points off the Championship 4 cut line with two races remaining.

Brandon Jones won the race over Reddick, Briscoe, Annett and JRM’s Justin Allgaier. Jeremy Clements headed the second five, with Justin Haley, John Hunter Nemechek, Ryan Sieg and Ross Chastain.

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

“On that last restart, the 2 car (Reddick) just didn’t go quick enough, and that cost some time. Travis (crew chief Travis Mack) had us on a great strategy, we had better tires than everyone else and we had a really strong Allstate Parts and Service Chevrolet today. But when he didn’t go, I couldn’t get up and around. We did what we came here to do, which was finish in the top five and earn some points, and we’ll go on to Texas in couple of weeks and do it again.”

 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier continued his streak of top-five finishes on Saturday, placing fifth driving the BRANDT/TradeMark Nitrogen Camaro in the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. The JR Motorsports driver now has six consecutive top-five efforts, with an average finish of 3.6 during that span. Points earned in each stage during Saturday’s race helped propel Allgaier to fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings with two races left before the cutoff for the Championship 4.

Qualifying seventh for the 200-lap race, Allgaier maneuvered his way to fourth on the first lap and continued to run inside the top five until the first caution of the race on lap 4. Under the yellow, he relayed to the team that the No. 7 Camaro had good handling. Restarting in fifth on lap 12, he slipped back to eighth, but steadily worked his way forward, ending Stage One in the fifth position on lap 45. During the stage-ending caution, Allgaier reported to crew chief Jason Burdett that the BRANDT/TradeMark Nitrogen Camaro was edgy on entry and exit and that he need to rotate the center better. The team opted to take four fresh tires and fuel, and make air-pressure and wedge adjustments during their pit stop.

Lining up in the fourth position to start Stage Two, Allgaier battled inside the top five for several laps. He radioed to the team that the No. 7 Chevy was still free on entry and exit. When a caution came out on lap 70, he was running in the sixth position. Once the green flag was back in the air, Allgaier surged forward, racing inside the top five and staying there for the remainder of the stage. He took the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage Two in the fourth position. Under the caution, Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and multiple adjustments to try to improve the handling on the No. 7 Camaro.

Allgaier started the final stage in the fifth position and got extremely loose on lap 98, but was able to save it and continue on. The near spin caused Allgaier to fall back to the 10th position, but he had advanced to ninth by time another yellow came out on lap 145. The caution gave the team the chance to make additional adjustments and get another set of fresh tires and fuel. He restarted in seventh on lap 152 and it didn’t take him long to work his way to fifth before yet another caution came out on lap 163. Allgaier radioed that his Camaro was a lot better during that run and when he came in for a pit stop, the team decided to take four tires and fuel and no adjustments.

Lining up seventh for the restart, Allgaier was shuffled back to 11th on lap 170, but again he began the climb forward, moving into the eighth position before the yellow flag waved once again on lap 184. He restarted in sixth and raced his way to fourth prior to another quick caution coming out on lap 192. Allgaier lined up in the same spot for the final restart of the race and battled hard for position in the closing laps, taking the checkered flag in the fifth position. The finish was his sixth consecutive top-five effort.

Brandon Jones earned the victory and was followed by Tyler Reddick, with Chase Briscoe, JRM driver Michael Annett and Allgaier rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT/TradeMark Nitrogen team

“It was a challenging day for our BRANDT/TradeMark Nitrogen team, but coming back and getting a top five out of it was a great thing. The guys worked their tails off in the pits. We struggled with the balance a little bit today, but we were able to fight hard and get a solid finish. It turned out to be a pretty good day points-wise and we’re going to keep after it as we head to Texas and Phoenix. I have confidence in this team that we can make it to Homestead and battle for the championship in a few weeks.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 PUBG Mobile Chevrolet Camaro, was battling for the race lead with less than 10 laps remaining in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kansas Speedway before a flat right-rear tire in the closing laps ultimately relegated the JR Motorsports driver to a 13th-place finish. Gragson, who earned valuable stage points at the conclusion of both Stage One and Two, improves to seventh in the playoff seeding with the result, 17 points behind the fourth and final cutoff position with two races remaining in the Round of 8.

After taking the green flag for the 200-lap race from the 10th position Gragson charged forward, racing into the top five for the first time on lap 12 and up to third by lap 14. The driver of the PUBG Chevrolet remained inside the top three throughout the long green-flag run that concluded the opening stage, taking the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 45 in the third position. The stage-ending result also earned Gragson eight valuable stage points in the process.

Prior to the beginning of Stage Two, crew chief Dave Elenz called the JR Motorsports driver to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment after Gragson reported that he was free rolling through the corner. However, an issue during the pit top shuffled the Las Vegas native back to the 11th position by the time Stage Two went green on lap 51. Undeterred by the loss of track position, Gragson pushed on, rejoining the top 10 on lap 75. The driver of the PUBG Chevrolet continued his climb up the leaderboard as another long green-flag run developed, utilizing the outside line to drive up to the sixth position before the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed to end Stage Two on lap 90. With the stage result, Gragson earned an additional five stage points.

While under the stage-ending caution, Elenz called the rookie-of-the-year contender back to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment, sending Gragson back out for the beginning of Stage Three in the eighth position. Gragson maintained his position inside the top 10 throughout the beginning of the final stage before contact with the outside retaining wall on lap 122 forced the driver of the PUBG Mobile Chevrolet to make an unscheduled pit stop under green with a flat right-front tire. As a result of the stop, Gragson found himself one lap behind the race leaders in the 18th position. However, a quick caution just 12 laps later gave Elenz an opportunity to play with some strategy and keep Gragson out on track for the wave around while the leaders came to pit road. The strategy call paid off as Gragson was able to get back on the lead lap just prior to the lap 151 restart.

Despite being back on the lead lap, Gragson needed the help of an opportune caution on lap 162 to get back on the same tire cycle as the leaders. Now back on equal footing, Gragson methodically moved forward, taking advantage of the outside line to race up to sixth before an incident involving the first and second-place cars slowed the field once again on lap 183. As a result of the incident, Gragson found himself lining up as the second car on the outside line in fourth for the ensuing restart. Then, while battling four-wide for the race lead off of the second corner, Gragson sustained contact that ultimately cut the right-rear tire and forced the 21-year-old driver to return to pit road.

In the closing laps, Gragson battled to regain as many positions as possible before taking the checkered flag in the 13th position. 

With the result, Gragson improves to seventh in the NXS Playoffs with two races remaining in the Round of 8.

Brandon Jones scored the victory, with Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe and JRM teammates Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 PUBG Mobile team

“We had a shot to win today with our PUBG Mobile Chevrolet. It’s just unfortunate that we had the right-rear tire go down when we were avoiding the leaders off of Turn 2. But everyone on this No. 9 team should be really proud of themselves. We had a great Camaro all race long and I can’t thank Dave (Elenz, crew chief) and everyone on this JR Motorsports team enough. Although the end result didn’t go as planned, today gives me a ton of confidence heading into Texas.”

 

Ryan Truex

Ryan Truex and the No. 8 Marquis Spa team were dealt a heavy dose of misfortune in Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway. It came in the form of an engine issue that cut the team’s day short four laps into the race and sent Truex behind the wall to finish 38th.

The day began as a promising one for the No. 8 team with Truex qualifying eighth for the 200-lap event, his best start of the 2019 season. But it lasted only through the opening four circuits until the engine of the Marquis Spa Chevrolet let go, which ended up being terminal for the team.

Brandon Jones won the race. He was followed the line by Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier.

Ryan Truex, driver No. 8 Marquis Spa Chevrolet team

“I lost power steering for half a lap and then the motor blew up. It sucks. This is my last scheduled race with the team and we had high expectations today. The Marquis Spa Chevy was the best race car we’ve had since Phoenix earlier this year. It was a top-five car for sure. It’s disappointing because we didn’t even have a chance to show what we had today.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ford EcoBoost 300

Homestead-Miami Speedway | 11/16/2019
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Tyler Reddick (P)40400
2Cole Custer (P)4035-5
3Christopher Bell (P)4032-8
4Justin Allgaier (P)4023-17
5Chase Briscoe #2302-1738
6Austin Cindric2294-1746
7John Hunter Nemechek #2253-1787
8Noah Gragson #2246-1794
9Michael Annett2239-1801