Annett Scores Top Five in Thursday Night Action at Kentucky Speedway

7/10/2020

Brandt Jeb Burton Justin Allgaier Kentucky Speedway Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Race Report Rocky Boots Switch XFINITY Series

Team JRM put on a strong showing in a special Thursday night NXS race at Kentucky Speedway but late-race caution stymied a trio of top 10s for the four-car team.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

Race 14 of 33: Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky Speedway
Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 134 laps
Weather: Clear; 76 degrees
Race Winner: Austin Cindric

Annett's Finish: 5th
Gragson's Finish: 11th
Allgaier's Finish: 20th
Burton's Finish: 34th

 

Michael Annett

Michael Annett started fourth in Thursday night’s Shady Rays 200 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines, and when the checkered flag waved in overtime at Kentucky Speedway, the Iowa native had logged his second top-five finish in three races. A good restart in overtime for Annett’s TMC Transportation Chevrolet gained three spots at the finish, as a last-lap crash scrambled the field in the middle of the back straightaway. Over his last three races, Annett has finished fifth twice and ninth once, an average result of 6.3. He also moved up a position to eighth in the points after 14 races.

Stage One Finish: 6th    

Annett started the black and gold No. 1 TMC Transportation Camaro from fourth position at the initial green flag and very nearly did not make it through Turn 2. JRM teammate Jeb Burton, starting third, came off Turn 2 in the bottom groove and slid sideways up the dusty track, directly in front of Annett’s machine. Annett eased higher off the corner and narrowly missed Burton’s Chevrolet, which was then slammed by Brandon Jones. Annett radioed to crew chief Travis Mack that there was no contact and his car was good. The crash necessitated a lengthy cleanup to prepare the racing surface, and when the green flag came out again, Annett moved up to third place. He would stay there through the competition caution at lap 17. On that restart, he lost third to Ross Chastain and got pinned to the bottom groove to lose three more. With six laps remaining in Stage One, Annett passed Justin Haley for sixth, which he would hold for the remainder of the stage. It would not be the last time Annett and Haley battled on a restart. Mack called his driver down pit road for four tires and fuel, with no adjustments, and he would line up for Stage Two in 10th position after some cars stayed out.

Stage Two Finish: 7th    

When the green flag launched Stage Two, Annett wasted no time picking up positions. He was eighth across the line and briefly rose to sixth place before getting stuck on the low line again and giving one of the positions back. With 13 laps to go in Stage Two, Annett got past Brandon Brown for sixth, taking JRM teammate Justin Allgaier with him. From there, Annett concentrated on increasing his pace and logged his fastest lap of the race just eight laps later. With two laps remaining in the stage, Annett got trapped behind the slower car of Alex Labbe entering Turn 3 and Allgaier sneaked past for sixth, leaving Annett seventh at the green-checkered flag. On the ensuing pit stop, Annett took four tires and fuel with an air-pressure adjustment to help his lateral grip and returned to the track in eighth place.

Final Stage:

At the start of the 67-lap final stage, Annett went back to what had been working before. He passed Ryan Sieg for seventh the second time by, but lost two spots at the bottom of Turn 1 on the next lap to run ninth. He was eighth at lap 88 when the caution waved again for Brown’s crash, and Mack called him back to pit road for four tires and fuel to the end. He came off pit road in 11th position, as different strategies played out in terms of tires. Chastain was penalized on the stop and Annett would take the green again from 10th place on the preferred outside groove. When the cars crossed the line under the green, Annett was up to ninth, and the race leader got caught on the low line ahead of him. That jammed up the pack and Annett sailed around the logjam to pick up four spots to fifth the next time by. He was still fifth on lap 102 when Chastain and Brett Moffitt tangled on the front straightaway to bring out the caution flag. He remained on the track in fifth position for the restart, telling Mack that he felt like his No. 1 Chevrolet was the best car out there. Haley, who had taken two tires on the previous pit stop, was ahead of him when the green flag waved, and when Annett tried to go to the high side into Turn 1, Haley moved with him. That stalled Annett’s run and cost him three positions before the lap was over.

Annett held station in eighth until lap 121, when Colby Howard spun into the wall to bring out the caution flag after a door-banging battle with Anthony Alfredo. With little time remaining in the race, Annett stayed out under caution. When the green waved again at lap 125, Annett began a battle with Harrison Burton that raged for four laps until Burton spun while battling the No. 1 machine. The resulting caution flag put the race into overtime. Annett told Mack that he had tightened up on that run with the cooling temperatures, but could not give up the track position to pit. Lining up eighth for the two-lap shootout, Annett was able to sweep to fifth position as the field battled ahead of him and he held it to the checkered, nipping Alfredo at the line for the spot.

Austin Cindric won the race over Riley Herbst, with Ross Chastain, Chase Briscoe and Annett the top five. Alfredo was sixth, followed by Haley, Kyle Weatherman, Ryan Sieg and Moffitt.

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 TMC Transportation Chevrolet team

“We got a good restart there at the end in the overtime, and the TMC Transportation Chevrolet was really solid all night long. We had some trouble the restart before with a car on older tires, and we were able to get him on the last one. It was a good night here in Kentucky, we scored points in both stages and finished in the top five again. We get to do this again tomorrow night, and we’ll know a lot more about what we have to start with. Good day in the points, and good for our momentum.”

 


 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet, finished 11th in Thursday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Shady Rays 200 at Kentucky Speedway. Gragson started the race from the pole position after the lineup was set by a random draw earlier in the week. Gragson led for a career-high 87 laps and captured two stage wins, netting the 21-year-old two additional playoff points for the 2020 season.

Stage One Finish: 1st 

Gragson fired off from the pole position after a random draw earlier in the week set the lineup for the scheduled 134-lap event. The first caution flag of the event flew almost immediately after taking the green flag for a multicar wreck in the first corner as Gragson remained the leader of the event. Taking the green on lap 7, Gragson continued to pace the field until the lap 15 competition caution took place. During this break, Gragson remained on the track and maintained the lead. With 11 laps to go in Stage One, the green flag flew and Gragson continued to pick up where he left off as he led every lap of the opening stage, earning the Las Vegas native 10 stage points and a coveted playoff point in the process.

Stage Two Finish: 1st

The No. 9 Switch Camaro decided to pit following the stage-break for four tires, fuel and no adjustments as the team was happy with the balance on the car. Gragson restarted from the second position as one car chose not pit. The No. 9 Camaro took off on the restart and gained the lead by the exit of the second corner. Stage Two went caution-free from there with Gragson remaining out front and earning his seventh stage win of the year, the most among all drivers in the series. The driver of the Switch Chevrolet also added an additional 10 stage points and another valuable playoff point to his season total.

Final Stage:  

Prior to the final stage, Gragson came into the pits for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help remove the chatter from the right front corner of the No. 9 Camaro. Following the stage-break, Gragson restarted from first and led until a lap 88 caution. Gragson came down pit road for four tires and fuel during this yellow and restarted third as the top two cars only took two tires. The bottom line on restarts proved to be extra difficult with the top being the preferred lane and Gragson quickly dropped to eighth following the restart. A single-car incident on lap 102 brought out another caution flag period and caught Gragson in the eighth position. Restarting on the high side with less than 30 laps remaining, Gragson was able to power his way into the top five on lap 117 as another yellow flag flew.

The No. 9 Camaro stayed on track and restarted from fifth with nine laps remaining and Gragson used a power move to jump within the top three. Shortly after Gragson made his way into the third position, the field was slowed for another caution, creating a green-white-checkered restart. Taking the final green flag of the evening from the inside lane, Gragson drove into Turn 1 and the car slipped out from underneath him, causing him to fall outside of the top 10, ultimately crossing the finish line in the 11th-position.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9  Switch Camaro SS

“My JR Motorsports team brought me a great Switch Chevrolet and I thought we were going to be able to grab that checkered flag today. Restarting from the bottom with less than 40 laps remaining destroyed our momentum as we couldn’t get the grip that the outside groove had from the PJ1 that was laid down before our race. We dropped back and we were able to get back to within the top three before having the air taken away on the restart and almost losing control of the car which dropped us outside of the top 10, but I want to thank everyone for giving me a car that was capable of winning. We will come back tomorrow and try to put it all together.”

 


Justin Allgaier 

Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 Thank You Team BRANDT Chevrolet, raced inside the top 10 for much of Thursday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Kentucky Speedway. Unfortunately bad luck struck again and Allgaier was caught up in an incident during NASCAR’s version overtime that caused damage to the No. 7 Camaro, ultimately relegating him to a 20th-place finish. Allgaier remains sixth in the NXS point standings heading into Friday night’s second event at Kentucky Speedway.

 

Stage One Finish: 8th
 

Allgaier rolled off 10th for the 134-lap race and had worked his way up to ninth before the competition caution waved at the completion of lap 15. Under the yellow flag, he relayed to crew chief Jason Burdett that the BRANDT Camaro was lacking rear grip. Restarting in ninth, the Illinois native steadily worked his way forward, but got loose while battling for the fifth position. Dropping back a few spots, Allgaier battled hard to work his way back forward, ending the first stage in the eighth position on lap 30. The team called Allgaier in under the stage-ending caution for four tires, fuel and adjustments to try to improve the handling on the No. 7 Camaro.

 

Stage Two Finish: 6th
 

Lining up in 11th for the start of Stage Two on lap 38, he pressed forward and worked his way inside the top 10. As the run went on, he continued to gain positions on the track, ultimately ending the caution-free second stage in the sixth position on lap 60. Under the stage-ending caution, Allgaier reported that the BRANDT Chevrolet needed more grip on entry and at max compression, so the team called him in for another round of adjustments, four tires and fuel.

 

Final Stage:
 

A fast pit stop put Allgaier in the sixth position to start the final stage. He was up to fourth by lap 83 and was battling for the third position when a caution came out on lap 89. Burdett radioed for Allgaier to come to pit road for the last stop of the night for four tires and fuel. He lined up 11th for the restart with 40 laps to go and utilized a three-wide move to gain five positions in one lap. He was in sixth when another caution flag waved with 32 laps remaining. Back under green, Allgaier raced his way up to fourth and remained inside the top five through another caution period.

 

The JR Motorsports driver was in the fourth position when another wreck brought out they yellow flag yet again, sending the race into NASCAR’s version of overtime. Allgaier lined up fourth for the green-white-checkered finish, but contact from another car caused Allgaier to lose track position and he was caught up in an incident on the last lap, damaging his No. 7 Camaro. Allgaier ultimately ended the night with a 20th-place finish.

 

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Thank You Team BRANDT Chevrolet

“That was a really frustrating ending to our race there. The guys did a great job working on adjustments all night. We had a fast car and had great track position for the final restart. I really thought we were going to end up with a top-five finish. We’ll regroup and be ready to go for the win tomorrow night with our BRANDT Camaro.”

 


Jeb Burton

Jeb Burton, driver of the No. 8 Rocky Boots Chevrolet, ran into misfortune immediately after the green flag was displayed in Thursday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kentucky Speedway. Heading into the first corner behind teammate Noah Gragson, Burton was involved in an incident that severely damaged the rear end of his JR Motorsports Camaro. After pitting several times for repairs, Burton returned to the track to make as many laps as he could before the determination was made that the damage was too severe to continue, ultimately relegating Burton to a 34th-place finish. 

Stage One Finish: 34th 

Burton took the green flag for the 134-lap event from the third position after the field was once again set via a blind draw earlier in the week. After giving a shove to help Gragson move into the race lead as the field crossed the starting line, Burton found himself battling side-by-side for the second position entering the first corner. However, as Burton headed toward the inside line, the rear of the Rocky Boots Chevrolet snapped sideways, sending the JRM driver back up the track into the path of the No. 19 of Brandon Jones. The resulting contact between the two badly damaged the rear end of Burton’s Camaro.

Crew chief Taylor Moyer called the Halifax, Va. native to pit road several times during the ensuing caution period to survey the damage following the incident, sending Burton back out for the lap 7 restart in the 35th position. The driver of the Rocky Boots Chevrolet continued to soldier on for the remainder of the opening stage, improving one position to end Stage One on lap 30 in 34th.

Stage Two Finish: 34th  

Burton returned to pit road for additional repairs prior to Stage Two getting under way on lap 37. However, after turning a handful of laps on the track, Burton relayed to Moyer that it felt like something was seriously wrong with the Rocky Boots Chevrolet as a result of the earlier incident. After a brief stop on pit road, the determination was made to take the car behind the wall as the damage was deemed too severe to continue, ending Burton’s evening shy of the finish.

Burton was ultimately scored in the 34th position. 

Jeb Burton, driver No. 8 Rocky Boots Chevrolet team

“I hate that the incident happened on the opening lap. These guys on this No. 8 team worked really hard today with our Rocky Boots Chevrolet and I hate that we couldn’t get to really show the speed we had. I just can’t thank JR Motorsports enough and I’m ready to rebound from this and get after it in Texas.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • October 31 03:30 PM ET
    NXS at Martinsville*Martinsville Speedway
  • November 7 05:00 PM ET
    Desert Diamond West Valley Casino 200*Phoenix Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After O'Reilly Auto Parts 300*

Texas Motor Speedway | 10/24/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Chase Briscoe (P)31330
2Austin Cindric (P)3103-30
3Justin Allgaier (P)3097-36
4Justin Haley (P)3093-40
5Brandon Jones (P)3089-44
6Ross Chastain (P)3078-55
7Noah Gragson (P)3069-64
8Ryan Sieg (P)3050-83
10Michael Annett2128-1005