Allgaier Rebounds to Lead the JRM Charge of Four Top 10s at Kentucky

7/11/2020

Brandt Daniel Hemric Justin Allgaier Kentucky Speedway Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Poppy Bank Race Report Switch XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier rebounded from early issues to bring home the first of four top 10s for team JRM in the Friday doubleheader at Kentucky Speedway.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

 

Race 15 of 33: Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway 

Track Specs: 1.5-mile tri-oval / 200 laps

Weather: Partly cloudy; 75 degrees 

Race Winner: Austin Cindric

 

Allgaier's Finish: 5th

Gragson's Finish: 7th
Annett's Finish: 8th
Hemric's Finish: 9th

 


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT “Thank You Farmers” Chevrolet, earned a hard-fought fifth-place finish in Friday night’s Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway. The 34-year-old driver was caught a lap down early in the race after having to pit for a flat tire and battled back for his third top-five effort of the season after getting back on the lead lap for the final restart of the night with 13 laps remaining.

Stage One Finish: 30th

The Illinois native had to start at the rear of the field after moving to a backup car for the 200-lap race and drove up to 16th before the first caution of the evening came out on lap 3. Under the yellow, Allgaier reported that a brake rotor had struck the windshield of the No. 7 Camaro, but there didn’t seem to be damage to the car. After the lap 16 restart, it didn’t take Allgaier long to relay that he thought he had a tire going down. Pitting under the green flag for fresh tires, he got back out on the track one lap down. Crew chief Jason Burdett confirmed that there was in fact a right-rear tire flat on the BRANDT Camaro.

 

Allgaier was trying hard to be in position for the free pass, but the leader began lapping additional cars just prior to the lap 20 competition caution, so the JR Motorsports driver remained a lap down. Restarting in 33rd on lap 26, the driver of the BRANDT Camaro advanced his position to 30th before the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end Stage One on lap 45.

 

Stage Two Finish: 16th

The team called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment for the BRANDT Camaro under the stage-ending caution and he lined up 26th for the start of Stage Two. Once again the team began their strategy of being the first car one lap down in an effort to get back on the lead lap. Allgaier had a fast Camaro and was running the same lap times as the leader. As more cars started going a lap down, Allgaier did all he could to track them down and pass them. By lap 86 he was up to 19th and advanced three more spots before the end of the stage on lap 90, but unfortunately was not in position to receive the free pass. 

 

Final Stage:

Allgaier received four fresh tires and fuel during the stage break. A fast pit stop allowed Allgaier to line up 14th for the start of the final stage, putting him in prime position for the free pass if a quick caution were to come out. Instead a long green-flag run ensued and Allgaier was in 13th when scheduled green-flag pit stops began. Burdett had Allgaier stay out as long as possible in the hopes of a caution, but alas the team had to call him to pit road for four tires and fuel with 44 laps to go. Once stops cycled through, Allgaier was again scored in 13th, still one lap down.

 

The team caught a break when a caution flag came out with 22 laps to go. When the lead lap cars opted to come to pit road, Burdett called for Allgaier to stay out and take the wave around to get his lap back. Restarting just outside of the top 10 with 13 laps to go, Allgaier battled hard in the closing laps to bring the BRANDT Camaro home with a fifth-place finish. The result was his third top five of the season and seventh top 10.

 

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT “Thank You Farmers” Chevrolet

“I am so proud of this team. They did a really nice job getting this BRANDT “Thank You Farmers” Camaro prepared. We never gave up tonight. To come back and get a top-five finish after being a lap down for most of the night is incredible. We had a fast car and that has me looking forward to these next two mile-and-a-half tracks we have coming up.”

 


Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Switch Chevrolet, finished 7th in Friday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Alsco 300 at Kentucky Speedway. Gragson started the race from the fifth position after the top-15 finishers from Thursday night’s Shady Rays 200 were inverted and ran up front for much of the evening, capturing his eighth stage win of the season in Stage One before having to overcome a pit road penalty to ultimately earn his 11th top-10 finish of 2020.

Stage One Finish: 1st 

Gragson fired off from the fifth position after the top-15 finishers from Thursday night were inverted to set the lineup for the 200-lap event. The first caution flag of the event flew on lap 2 as Gragson moved into the second position. The lap 7 restart saw Gragson making moves as he was able to grab the lead by lap 11 and remain there until the competition caution flew on lap 20. Gragson decided to stay out during this caution and restarted from the lead on lap 25. Gragson would hold serve as the leader throughout the final 20 laps of Stage One, taking the green-and-white checkered on lap 45 to earn 10 valuable stage points an additional playoff point. Additionally, the stage victory marks Gragson’s eighth of the season, the most of all drivers in the series.

 

Stage Two Finish: 8th

The No. 9 Switch Camaro decided to pit following the stage-break for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to alleviate a tight-handling condition during the first stage. Gragson was caught speeding on his entry to pit road and was forced to restart rom the 27th position. By lap 56, Gragson had cracked the top 15, and by the stage end at lap 90, the Las Vegas native had driven back into the top 10 and up to eighth to earn another three stage points.

 

Final Stage:  

Prior to the final stage, Gragson came into the pits for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment to help remove the tight-handling condition that continued throughout Stage Two. The No. 9 Switch Camaro restarted from eighth and entered the top five by lap 98 of the 200-lap event. Eventually the racing settled down and Gragson ran between seventh and eighth until a tire would start to go down, forcing the No. 9 Camaro to pit road for his lone round of green flag stops. Pitting for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment, Gragson cycled back through following the stops to the eighth position. When the yellow flag flew on lap 178, Gragson was caught in sixth.

 

Crew chief Dave Elenz called Gragson to pit road for the last time during this caution period for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment. On the ensuing restart, Gragson drove into Turn 1 from the fifth position, but lost control of the No. 9 Camaro and slid up the track, losing four spots during the process. Gragson was able to drive his way back up to seventh before the checkered flag flew, earning his 11th top-10 finish of the year

 

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9  Switch Camaro SS

“We had another great car today, we just fought some tight-handling conditions throughout the entire race. It seemed like no matter what we did, the car just would not free up and it didn’t help that I put us behind the 8-ball when I sped on pit road there at the end of Stage One. We were able to claw our way back towards the front and earn another top-10 finish on the year. We will take this finish and head to Texas next week.

 


Michael Annett

Coming to the checkered flag in Friday night’s Alsco 300, Michael Annett was battling for a second straight top-five finish on the 1.5-mile oval at Kentucky Speedway. Through Turns 3 and 4, the Iowa driver fought hard for position with his Pilot Flying J Chevrolet Camaro before contact on the exit of Turn 4 caused Annett to have to settle for a top-10 finish instead. Annett’s eighth-place finish in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event was his fourth straight top-10 result, including a pair of top-fives. One of those came in Thursday night’s event, the opening leg of the weekend doubleheader at Kentucky.

 Stage One Finish: 11th    

Annett started 11th for the 45-lap Stage One, as Thursday night’s top 15 finishers were inverted for Friday’s race. At the green flag, Annett immediately moved into the top 10 and stayed there through the lap-20 competition caution. Under yellow, Annett told crew chief Travis Mack that the front of the car was too positive and the front end was not as hooked up as it was the night before. Battling the handling over the next 25 laps, Annett eventually finished 11th in the stage, missing stage points after doubling up in Thursday’s event. On the ensuing pit stop, Annett received four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. He would line up for Stage Two in 11th place after a penalty was being served ahead of him.

 
Stage Two Finish: 12th    

When the green flag waved to begin Stage Two, Annett needed just four laps to get back to the top 10, passing Brandon Brown for 10th. He would settle in there until lap 69, when JRM teammate Noah Gragson got past. One lap later, Annett radioed to Mack that the front end felt different and the rear tires were out of the track. Ten laps later, Annett told Mack that his Camaro had swung to the tight side. The leaders were on a tear at that point, and Annett would finish the stage at lap 90 in 12th, the last car on the lead lap. On his pit stop, Mack again changed four tires, added fuel and made a track-bar adjustment to help Annett’s handling. A fast stop gained two positions, and he would begin the final stage in the top 10.

 

Final Stage:

As he had done before, Annett took off well and was up to eighth the third time past the flag stand. The ebb-and-flow nature of racing at Kentucky saw Annett drop to ninth at lap 100 and to 10th one lap later. Annett would run 10th for the next 42 laps before green-flag pit stops began, and he climbed as high as sixth before coming to pit road himself with 50 laps remaining in the 200-lap event. Mack made another chassis adjustment in addition to four tires and fuel and sent his driver back out in 12th position, one lap down. As the pit stops cycled through, Annett got back on the lead serial when Ross Chastain finally came in at lap 156. Annett was ninth on lap 180 when teammate Daniel Hemric and Brandon Jones crashed off Turn 2, which set up a thrilling run to the finish.

 

Hitting pit road on lap 182, Annett got four fresh tires and fuel and headed back out in seventh place for the final flurry, which began with 13 laps remaining. Annett immediately took sixth place at the green and cracked the top five at lap 192. Teammates Hemric, Gragson and Justin Allgaier were in the same pack and all were in the battle for the top five spots, and the action got hot and heavy with the checkered flag in sight. Annett pulled to the low side of Hemric in Turns 3 and 4, the two made contact and scrambled the finishing order. With his finish, Annett remains eighth in series points, 136 markers over the cut line.

 

Austin Cindric won the race for the second straight night, topping Chase Briscoe. Justin Haley, Chastain and Allgaier. Anthony Alfredo finished sixth, with Gragson, Annett, Hemric and Riley Herbst rounding out the top 10.

 

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet team

“We had another top-five finish in our hands tonight. I was on the inside of Daniel, and we were going for it on the last lap. I hate that it happened, but everybody was going for it to the checkered. Our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet came alive on the next-to-last pit stop and got better with the final stop. Travis (crew chief Travis Mack) made good adjustments and we got the front to work like it did last night. Two races, and we got a top-five and a top-10. I’ll take that any day. Wish we could have gotten another top-five, but we battled for it. It was a good weekend for this whole No. 1 team.”

 


Daniel Hemric

Daniel Hemric, driver of the No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet, ran inside the top five for much of Friday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Kentucky Speedway, racing up to as high as the second position in the closing laps before a late-race caution bunched the field back together. On the final restart of the night, Hemric charged into the first corner as the race leader but a loose-handling condition quickly developed, shuffling Hemric outside of the top five as a chaotic scramble for position ensued in the closing laps. On the final lap, Hemric was fighting to get back into the top five before contact coming off of Turn 4 forced the JR Motorsports driver into the outside retaining wall, resulting in a ninth-place finish for the Poppy Bank team. 

 Stage One Finish: 9th   

Getting behind the wheel for the second NXS event of the week, Hemric had to take the green flag from the rear of the field as a result of both a driver change between the two races and the use of a backup car following damage sustained to the No. 8 Camaro on Thursday. Despite having to start from the back, the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet charged forward, improving 13 positions in the opening two laps before the first caution of the evening was displayed. Hemric’s ascent up the leaderboard didn’t stop there, as he took advantage of the ensuing restart to drive into the top 15 and up to 12th by the time the competition caution was displayed on lap 20. Hemric again climbed toward the front following the competition caution, utilizing the final 20 laps of the opening stage to move into the top 10 and take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 45 in the ninth position, earning two valuable stage points in the process.

 

Stage Two Finish: 5th    

During the stage-ending caution, Hemric reported to crew chief Taylor Moyer that the Poppy Bank Chevrolet was fighting a loose-handling condition rolling through the corners. As a result, Moyer called Hemric to pit road for four tires and an air-pressure adjustment in the hopes of improving the handling, sending the Kannapolis, N.C. native back out for the beginning of Stage Two in the seventh position. Once back underway, Hemric again pressed onward, racing into the top five during the caution-free second stage to take the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 90 in the fifth position. This stage-ending result also earned Hemric an additional six stage points.

 

Final Stage:  

While under the final stage-break of the evening, Moyer called the driver of the Poppy Bank Chevrolet back to pit road after Hemric had reported that the handling had begun to shift toward the tight side. The 2019 NASCAR Cup Series Rookie of the Year returned to the track following the stop for the beginning of Stage Three in the sixth position and wasted little time marching forward, taking advantage of a long green-flag run to drive up to the second position by lap 140. Hemric held steady in second until the lone round of green-flag pit stops commenced on lap 146. Hitting pit road for four tires and an air-pressure adjustment, Hemric cycled back out to second and in a tight battle with the No. 19 of Brandon Jones.

 

The duo fought for position for several laps before Jones got sideways on the inside of Turn 1 and forced Hemric to make an evasive maneuver, causing the JRM driver to make slight contact with the outside retaining wall. Moyer made the call to bring Hemric to pit road with the rest of the lead lap cars during the caution period that followed. A fast four-tire stop by the Poppy Bank crew allowed Hemric to remain in the second position for what turned out to be the final restart of the evening on lap 187.

 

Taking the green flag as the first car on the inside line, Hemric made a power move heading into the first corner, coming away with the race lead before the Poppy Bank Chevrolet snapped sideways and sent the No. 8 Camaro up the track and out of the preferred groove. Undeterred by the loss of track position Hemric continued to fight, racing hard for a spot within the top five over the closing laps with Anthony Alfredo and JRM teammates Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson and Michael Annett. However, contact while battling on the outside line for the fifth position on the final lap forced Hemric up the track and into wall, halting the Poppy Bank Chevrolet’s forward progress and ultimately leading to a ninth-place finish.

 

With the top-10 result, the No. 8 team now sits 10th in the NXS owner standings, 36 points ahead of the 12th and final playoff position.

 

Daniel Hemric, driver No. 8 Poppy Bank Chevrolet team 

“We had some really good speed with our Poppy Bank Chevrolet tonight and I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and all of the guys on this JR Motorsports team for all of their hard work. These guys worked their tails off to get this car ready to go and we were quick right from the drop of the green flag. I just hate that we ran into some trouble there at the end but I feel like we are definitely heading into the right direction as we move forward.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • August 15 03:00 PM ET
    UNOH 188 Daytona Road Course
  • August 22 04:00 PM ET
    Drydene 200Dover International Speedway
  • August 23 12:30 PM ET
    Drydene 200Dover International Speedway
  • August 28 07:30 PM ET
    Wawa 250Daytona International Speedway
  • September 5 04:00 PM ET
    Sport Clips Haircuts VFW 200Darlington Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Henry 180

Road America | 8/8/2020
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric7710
2Chase Briscoe760-11
3Ross Chastain708-63
4Noah Gragson697-74
5Justin Haley636-135
6Harrison Burton #608-163
7Justin Allgaier598-173
8Michael Annett543-228