JRM Fourth in eNASCAR Heat Pro League Championship

JR Motorsports | 10/24/2019

eNASCAR FilterTime Jason Keffer NASCAR Heat News Phoenix The Dale Jr. Foundation Tyler Dohar

JRM fought hard but came home fourth in the final standings in Wednesday night's eNASCAR Heat Finale at the virtual ISM Raceway.

Track Specs: 1-mile oval / 70 laps (PS4), 70 laps (XBOX)

Keffer’s start/finish (PS4): 13th/5th

Dohar’s start/finish (XBOX): 13th/10th        

JRM Team Final Point Standings: 4th (-12)

 

MOORESVILLE, N.C. (Oct. 24, 2019) – Tyler Dohar was in position to give JR Motorsports a shot at the inaugural eNASCAR Heat Pro League championship on Wednesday night at the virtual ISM Raceway, but a late-race pit stop for fuel and tires put an end to those hopes.

In the opening race for PS4 drivers, JRM’s Jason Keffer powered to a fifth-place finish to give Dohar a better-than-even chance of overhauling the competition for the title, but a crash damaged his No. 88 Sock-it To Childhood Cancer/FilterTime Chevrolet and later contact forced a change in strategy that foiled a valiant run by the JRM team. Dohar’s late pit stop, with five laps remaining, resulted in a 10th-place finish.

The season-ending event, held at NASCAR Productions inside the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Uptown Charlotte, saw Stewart Haas Gaming earn the crown by winning a tiebreaker (most combined laps led in the final event) over Leavine Family Gaming. Both teams finished with 4,079 points, with Team Penske Gaming third (-6) and JRM fourth (-12).

In the opener, Keffer fired off from 13th position in his No. 7 FilterTime Chevrolet and played the waiting game as the race unfolded. The race, unlike the previous 11, did not have a designated competition caution to manage tires and fuel mileage, so the teams were on their own. Tire wear proved to be more of a problem than most anticipated and the leaders peeled off for fresh rubber after 18 laps, on the extreme front end of the pit window. Keffer, running seventh at the time, stayed out a lap and pitted the next time by, giving him one lap of fresher rubber for the next break.

With 36 laps to go, the field hit pit road again, and again Keffer stayed out an extra lap, returning in seventh place, and rode there until the leaders started to pit at the 20-to-go mark. Keffer waited two more laps this time and pitted from third, rejoining seventh again. With 10 to go, he had moved up to sixth and hit the top five with two laps remaining, chasing the Team Penske entry for fourth. The No. 13 machine fended off Keffer’s charge to finish fourth, leaving Keffer fifth at the flag and JRM four points off the championship lead.

That set the stage for Dohar, who would also fire off from 13th position in the XBOX nightcap.

Like Keffer, the strategy for Dohar was to ride and save his stuff for the end, and the Ohio driver did that over the first 14 laps. At that point, he’d moved up to 11th, damage to the rear of his No. 88 Chevrolet along the way. Dohar cracked the top 10 after 18 laps and moved to ninth two laps later as he drafted toward the front with the No. 95 machine. He was running eighth when two cars crashed ahead of him and he had no opportunity to avoid, slamming into the No. 18 machine before getting through the melee.

The caution flag allowed Dohar to pit and fix the damage, and he returned to the track in 10th spot with 36 laps to go. With strategy interrupted by the ill-timed caution, Dohar put the hammer down and moved up three positions to seventh in the next six laps. He was fifth with 25 laps remaining in the race when another caution flag waved. On the restart, Dohar made his move, jetting to second place and was moving on the leader, but entered Turn 2 a little too hot and washed up the track, losing the two positions he’d just gained. Despite that, the running position had JRM just three points out of the championship lead. Racing behind his Team Penske rival for the run to the finish, the two battled until 11 laps were left. At that point, the No. 43 car got past for fourth. Dohar managed to get the spot back a couple of laps later, but was forced to pit with five laps remaining. Earlier damage made it unlikely he could make the tires last for an extended run, so he short-pitted and played the fuel mileage game. That dropped him to 12th in the order, and he was able to advance just two positions before the checkered flag.

As a result, JRM finished fourth in the overall standings, 12 points behind the championship team.

Jason Keffer, PS4 driver No. 7 FilterTime Chevrolet team

“We came up just short, but it was an amazing inaugural season in the eNASCAR Heat Pro League. A huge thank-you to Dale Jr., Kelley and JR Motorsports, as well as Blake Koch Racing and FilterTime. The race went reasonably well. We had no cautions, which I figured would happen. We just worked and worked and worked the whole race, started back in the back, got up to fifth at the line. If we had a handful more laps, I probably could have gotten some more spots. But unfortunately, we didn’t, but I’m really happy. That was my plan going in, to get us close to those guys as I could, and it was four points. Tyler (Dohar), man...he’s done it all year.”

Tyler Dohar, XBOX driver No. 88 Sock-it To Childhood Cancer/FilterTime Chevrolet team

 “At the start of the race, we decided we wanted to take it easy. Got a bit of damage early in the race due to some contact shuffling through the field after starting that far back (13th). We just had to really claw our way to the front. It was really tough. This field was very, very prepared, probably the best prepared we’ve seen all season. Once we got our damage repaired, we were going along and had a nice, long green-flag run and just got caught up in another person’s accident, not of our doing. It wasn’t with another championship contender. We fixed it, worked really hard, got to the front of the field and made it up to the top three, and then we unfortunately made contact with another competitor. We nursed rear-end damage probably three-quarters of that race. I knew when we got that rear-end damage we weren’t going to be able to make the tire run at the end, so I decided to short-pit. Some guys were able to stretch it on the tires. It happens. You live by the strategy, you die by the strategy. I couldn’t be more proud of the season we had, Jason and I together, to make it to the final four. We were happy to be here and that’s all that matters.”

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After Boyd Gaming 300

Las Vegas Motor Speedway | 2/22/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Chase Briscoe920
2Noah Gragson85-7
3Harrison Burton #80-12
4Michael Annett77-15
5Brandon Jones76-16
6Austin Cindric75-17
7Ryan Sieg73-19
8Justin Haley73-19
9Justin Allgaier70-22