Allgaier Sixth; Burton Ninth in Texas Shootout with Two Races Remaining

JR Motorsports | 11/3/2019

Cessna Jeb Burton Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Playoffs State Water Heaters Suave Texas XFINITY Series

With only one race remaining to determine the Championship 4 contenders, team JRM emerged from Texas Motor Speedway with mixed results.

Race 31 of 33: O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile D-shaped oval / 200 laps
Weather: Clear; 46 degrees
Race Winner: Christopher Bell

Allgaier’s Finish: 6th    
Burton’s Finish: 9th 
Annett’s Finish: 11th 
Gragson’s Finish: 30th      

Justin Allgaier 

Justin Allgaier and the Suave Men team rallied to a sixth-place finish at Texas Motor Speedway after having to start at the rear of the field in Saturday’s race. The effort was Allgaier’s 15th consecutive top-10 finish dating back to Kentucky in July. The JR Motorsports driver earned points in each stage, allowing him to remain in the fourth position in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs, 18 points above the cutoff line with one race remaining before the field is narrowed down to the Championship 4.

Allgaier qualified sixth for the 200-lap race, but had to start at the back due to an engine change after Friday’s practice sessions. The Illinois native fired off strong from the drop of the green flag determined to get inside the top 10 before the end of the first stage to collect coveted stage points. Allgaier was up to 13th when the first caution flag of the day waved on lap 19. Under the yellow, he reported that the Suave Men Camaro could use more rear lateral grip in Turns 3 and 4 and was tight through the center of Turns 1 and 2. The team opted to stay out and restart in the 12th position on lap 26 and Allgaier was able to advance his position to ninth by time the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end Stage One on lap 45.

Under the stage-ending caution, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel, and adjustments to try to improve the handling of the Suave Men Camaro. Allgaier took the green flag for Stage Two from the ninth spot on lap 53 and steadily improve his position, running in fifth when a caution came out on lap 79. He stayed out on the track while some cars decided to pit and restarted in third, working his way to up second before the end of Stage Two on lap 90.

The team made a fast stop for four tires and fuel and Allgaier lined up to start the final stage in the 12th position. He again continued to advance his position when the green flag waved, running in seventh when a caution came out on lap 128. He reported to the team that the Suave Men Camaro was still tight through the middle of Turns 1 and 2, so Burdett called Allgaier to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment. He restarted in eighth and was up to third before yet another yellow flag waved on lap 140. Under the caution, Allgaier came to pit road for a fuel only stop in an effort to try to make it the rest of the race without having to stop again.

Allgaier restarted in seventh on lap 145 and was up to second in a hurry. He was in that same position when a wreck brought out the caution on lap 150. When the race was back underway on lap 157, Allgaier dropped to fourth, but moved back up to third before the final caution of the race came out on lap 161. The team decided to stay out and he continued to race inside the top five following the restart. He was battling for the fourth position when a lapped car interfered, causing the Suave Men Camaro to slide up the track and lose momentum. He continued to fight hard for position in the closing laps, taking the checkered flag in the sixth position. The finish allowed him to remain fourth in the NXS Playoff standings.

Christopher Bell earned the victory, earning a spot in the Championship 4, and was followed by Ross Chastain, with Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek rounding out the top five.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Suave Men team

“Unfortunately at the end there we just lost some spots. It’s disappointing because I know we had a solid top-five Suave Men Camaro. Hats off to everybody at JR Motorsports and the Hendrick engine department though. To have to change engines and start from the back and then be able to come through the field and battle for the lead there and earn points during the race was really good. It was a solid points day for us, so now we’ll head to Phoenix next week, one of my favorite tracks, and try to lock our way in to Homestead as part of the Championship 4.”

 

Jeb Burton

Jeb Burton and the No. 8 State Water Heaters team locked down a ninth-place finish in Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway in Xfinity Series action. The placing notched Burton his fifth top-10 showing in six starts this season.

Burton took off from an eighth-place qualifying position and paced himself in the early going as he battled a loose racecar during the opening stage. With feedback enough to keep crew chief Taylor Moyer apprised of what was needed during the opening stop, Burton finished out the initial stage in 10th.

The team adjusted for the free condition on pit road with Burton lining up for the Stage Two restart in 10th. The changes on the State Water Heaters entry helped bring the car to life and Burton wheeled up to sixth. When the fourth caution of the night flew on lap 80, Burton came back to pit road for a scheduled stop that put him off sequence with his competitors. The strategic call netted Burton 10th position to conclude Stage Two, but he’d gain valuable track position under the stage-ending caution as other competitors pitted.

Burton rose to fourth as the green flag presided over the final stage. He made good use of the call for track position and held a firm grasp among the top six over the next 35 laps while posting some of fastest laps on the track. As the night wore on, the handling conditions on the State Water Heaters entry became more of a challenge and the No. 8 found the ninth position prior to the checkered flag.

Christopher Bell won the race. He was followed to the line by Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and John Nemecheck.

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

“We had a decent car and it was pretty good there for a couple runs. We just missed a little bit to be able to win. The last run we were just way too tight and didn’t get the result we wanted. But all the guys on this State Water Heaters team put in a great effort all weekend long. We showed we had some speed tonight. Also, a big thanks to everyone from State Water Heaters that came out to cheer us on this weekend.”

 

Michael Annett

Michael Annett drove the No. 1 Pilot Flying J “Thank You Veterans” Chevrolet Camaro to an 11th-place finish in Saturday night’s O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Texas Motor Speedway. That means the Iowa native and his No. 1 team will know exactly what needs to be done next week at ISM Raceway to advance to the Championship 4 two weeks hence.

Starting 19th for the 200-lap event, Annett wasted little time moving forward on the 1.5-mile track. In just four laps, Annett had passed five cars to run 14th, and by lap 15 he was 13th. As the field separated itself, Annett kept moving forward and eventually ran 11th with 13 laps remaining in the 45-lap Stage One. He finished there and told crew chief Travis Mack that his car was really good off the wall but needed front turn to move further forward. Mack gave his driver four fresh tires and fuel and made an air-pressure adjustment, sending him back out in the same position.

For Stage Two, Annett ran in the top 12 until the yellow flag waved for a crash on the front straightaway with 10 laps remaining. While some of the lead group pitted to beat the Stage Two break, Mack kept Annett on the track, which advanced him to seventh place for the restart, which took place five laps from the end of the stage. On the green flag, Annett got away well, but action in the pack in front of him broke his momentum and the lead cars swarmed, dropping him to 13th at the green checkered flag.

Pitting for four tires and fuel on the break, Annett returned to the track in 16th position for the restart. Gaining three positions in the first three laps of the final stage, Annett looked poised to make a run into the top 10 and did so at lap 114, passing Ross Chastain for 10th. Annett was still in 10th on lap 128 when the caution flag waved for a crash in Turn 2, and Mack made his second gamble of the night by calling Annett to pit road for four tires and all the fuel that the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet could hold. As Annett left pit road, Mack told his driver to save fuel at every opportunity and even brought him down again with one lap to go before the green flag to top off the tank again.

The ensuing restart was a wild one, and Annett got caught in a pack of cars, losing four spots in short order. Another yellow waved at lap 141, which allowed Mack to play another strategy card by keeping Annett on the track at the very edge of the fuel window. That put the No. 1 Pilot Flying J machine on the outside of the front row for the restart in second place. Another yellow, this time for JRM teammate Noah Gragson’s incident on the front straightaway on lap 150, saw Annett sixth in the order. NASCAR put out the red flag for cleanup, and Annett stayed on the track in sixth for the restart with 44 laps remaining. Another wild restart saw Annett lose four spots to 10th and when the caution came out at lap 162, Annett told Mack his car was on top of the track. Mack brought Annett down pit road three laps later for four tires, fuel to the end and an adjustment. When the green flag waved again with 30 laps remaining, Annett was 18th, and he drove to 11th over the next eight laps. He could not advance any farther over the remaining distance and finished 11th at the checkered flag. The result leaves Annett and the No. 1 team sixth in series points, 28 points below the cut line for the Championship 4 heading into next week’s determining race on the 1-mile ISM Raceway in Phoenix, Ariz.

Christopher Bell won the race to qualify for the winner-take-all finale in two weeks at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Chastain was second, followed by Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek. JRM’s Justin Allgaier was sixth, with Harrison Burton, Cole Custer, JRM’s Jeb Burton and Ryan Sieg rounding out the top 10.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J ‘Thank You Veterans’ team

“We will know our goal next week when we get to Phoenix. We are still sixth in points and we have a path to Miami, so we’ll have to capitalize on everything to get there. Our Pilot Flying J “Thank You Veterans” Chevrolet was good all night, but track position wasn’t in our favor. We have a chance to move on at Phoenix and we just have to make sure we do.”

 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Cessna / Southern Tire Mart Chevrolet Camaro, had a promising run come to an early end in Saturday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Texas Motor Speedway. Gragson was battling for position inside the top 10 with just over 50 laps to go before contact with the No. 18 through the quad-oval sent the JR Motorsports driver sliding through the infield, causing severe damage the nose of the Cessna / Southern Tire Mart Camaro. As a result of the incident, Gragson was relegated to a 30th-place finish and now sits eighth in the playoff seeding with one race remaining in the Round of 8.

Gragson took the green flag for the 200-lap event from the 10th position and remained inside the top 10 until contact with a lapped car in the left-rear forced the JRM driver to come to pit road under the first caution of the evening on lap 18 for four fresh tires. Undaunted by the loss of track position, Gragson charged forward, improving 13 positions over the final 20 laps of the opening stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 45 in 13th.

During the stage-ending caution, Gragson reported to crew chief Dave Elenz that he needed help with both the entry and the exit of the corner. With that feedback in mind, Elenz called the 21-year-old driver to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment, sending Gragson back out for the beginning of Stage Two in the 19th position. Once back underway the Las Vegas native again pressed forward, racing back up to the 11th position before a lap 78 caution period provided an opportunity for Elenz to play with some strategy. With a number of the leaders choosing to come to pit road, Elenz opted to keep Gragson out on the track in the hopes of gaining some track position. The strategy call paid off as Gragson moved up to sixth for the ensuing restart on lap 84. The driver of the Cessna / Southern Tire Mart Chevrolet remained in the sixth position as the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end Stage Two on lap 90, earning five valuable stage points in the process.

Prior to the beginning of the third and final stage, Gragson returned to pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments after reporting that he needed more help with rear-end security on the entry of the corner. Returning to the track following the stop in 15th Gragson once again moved forward, driving back up to 11th before a lap 127 caution gave Elenz another chance to make improvements to the Cessna / Southern Tire Mart Chevrolet. Following a quick four tire stop, Gragson lined up for the lap 134 restart in the ninth position and remained there until the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 138.

With the fuel window now open to make it to the end, Elenz called Gragson back to pit road for a fuel-only stop, sending the rookie-of-the-year contender back out for the ensuing restart in 11th as a handful of cars stayed on-track. Despite the loss of track position, Gragson marched on, utilizing a three-wide move to race back into the top 10 just one lap after the restart. Then, contact while battling for the seventh position with the No. 18 sent Gragson sliding through the infield, ultimately causing severe damage to the nose of the Cessna / Southern Tire Mart Chevrolet. The subsequent damage left Gragson unable to continue, relegating the JRM driver to a 30th-place finish.

With the result, Gragson sits eighth in the playoff seeding with one race remaining in the Round of 8.

Christopher Bell earned the victory, with Ross Chastain, Austin Cindric, Brandon Jones and John Hunter Nemechek rounding out the top five.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Cessna / Southern Tire Mart team

“It’s really unfortunate that our night was cut short tonight with our Cessna / Southern Tire Mart Chevrolet. I just want to thank everyone on this JR Motorsports team for all of their hard work. We know what is ahead of us next week in Phoenix and I can’t think of a stronger group of guys to go to battle with to do what we can to make the Championship 4 in Homestead. We’re going to give it all we can and see what we can do.”

 

 

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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