Gragson's Sure Victory for JRM Ends in Heartbreak at Homestead

JR Motorsports | 2/27/2021

American Heart Association Bass Pro Shops Black Rifle Coffee Brandt FilterTime Homestead Josh Berry Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Race Report TrueTimber XFINITY Series

Gragson took the lead with 30 laps to go before being involved in a late caution. Josh Berry scored a top-10 finish, the highest of the JRM drivers.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

 

Race 3 of 33: Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Track Specs: 1.5-mile oval / 167 laps 

Weather: Partly cloudy; 77 degrees

Race Winner: Myatt Snider

 

Berry's Finish: 10th

Annett's Finish: 13th 

Gragson's Finish: 33rd 

Allgaier's Finish: 38th 

 


Josh Berry

Josh Berry, driver of the No. 8 FilterTime Chevrolet, rallied back from a flat right-rear tire mid-way through the final stage of Saturday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Homestead-Miami Speedway to improve 21 positions and score a hard-fought 10th-place finish. Berry, who ran inside the top 10 for much of the night, earned valuable stage points at the conclusion of Stage One and drove up to as high as the third position prior to the right-rear tire going down. The result is Berry’s third top-10 in nine career starts in the NXS and his best finish in four starts on mile-and-a-half tracks. 

Stage One Finish: 8th

With the field being set via the 2021 NXS Owner Points, Berry lined up for the 167-lap event from the 20th position. From the drop of the green flag Berry charged forward, needing just one lap to race into the top 15. The driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet maintained his track position from there until the first caution of the day was displayed on lap 25. While under caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the strategy call to bring the JR Motorsports driver to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment as Berry had reported that he developed a tight-handling condition from the center to the exit of the corner.

Due to a variety of strategies among the front runners, Berry returned to the track following the stop in the 28th position. Undeterred by the loss of track position Berry pressed forward, taking advantage of his fresher tires to march into the top 10 and up to eighth by the time the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed to end Stage One on lap 40. The stage result netted the No. 8 team three valuable stage points to take into the rest of the evening.

Stage Two Finish: 17th

Moyer made the call to bring the driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet back to pit road during the stage-ending caution for four fresh tires and another round of adjustments, sending the Hendersonville, Tenn. native back out for the start of Stage Two in the ninth position. Once back under way Berry continued to fight for position, despite reporting that the tight-handling condition had returned, especially through the third and fourth corners. Although not handling to his liking, Berry remained inside the top 15 until a lap-67 caution period again affected the race strategy.

Having already pitted early during the first stage, Moyer made the call to keep Berry on the track during this caution period in the hopes of preserving a set of tires for later in the event. Lining up 11th for the lap-74 restart, Berry fought hard to remain inside the top 15 before the fresher tires from behind ultimately prevailed, shuffling the JRM driver back to 17th at the conclusion of Stage Two on lap 80.

Final Stage:

Prior to the start of the third and final stage, Moyer brought the 2020 NASCAR Weekly Series National Champion to pit road for four fresh tires and another round of adjustments. Returning to the track following the stop in 21st, Berry quickly marched forward, reporting that the handling had gotten much better as the driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet raced up to the 12th position during the 16-lap green-flag run that followed. Then, during a lap 97 caution period, Berry again returned to pit road with the rest of the front-runners for their second-to-last set of fresh tires.

Lining up 13th for the ensuing restart, Berry utilized a four-wide move to catapult into the top 10 by the exit of Turn 2. Once back inside the top 10 Berry continued to press onward, moving into sixth before the field was again slowed by the yellow flag on lap 109. Opting for the outside line for the lap-115 restart, the driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet charged toward the front, utilizing the upper groove to move into the third position by the time the field hit the back straightaway.

Berry continued to battle for several laps, racing two and three-wide before settling in to 10th as the race leaders continued to jockey for position. Then, while working through the preferred outside line, Berry sustained a flat right-rear tire after making slight contact with the outside retaining wall, forcing the driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet to make an unscheduled pit stop under green on lap 135. Utilizing a never-give-up attitude, Berry took advantage of his fresh tires to rapidly ascend up the leaderboard and race his way back onto the lead lap as the race remained green.

Now back on the lead lap, Berry set his sights on regaining as much lost track position as he could. With the rest of the leaders worrying about fuel mileage, Berry was able to go all out and quickly rejoined the top 15. The driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet didn’t stop there, as Berry took advantage of the long green-flag run to race back into the top 10 before an inopportune caution on lap 164 slowed the field once again. While under caution, Moyer was forced to bring Berry to pit road for a set of fresher, scuffed tires as the No. 8 team was out of sticker tires due to the green flag stop on lap 135.

Following a quick caution during NASCAR’s first attempt at a green-white-checkered finish, Berry lined up for the final restart of the night as the fifth car on the outside line on lap 177. The driver of the FilterTime Chevrolet fought hard over the final two laps before taking the checkered flag in the 10th position.

The Top-10 result is the third for Berry in nine career starts in the NXS.

Josh Berry, driver No. 8 FilterTime Chevrolet Team

“We had a fast FilterTime Chevrolet tonight and I’m really happy with the way we were able to recover and fight back after that flat tire. I really hate that that happened but I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and all the guys on this JR Motorsports team enough. I’m learning more and more each time out here and I can’t wait to get back after it next week.””


 

Michael Annett

A flat tire near the end of Saturday’s Contender Boats 250 ended what could have been a top-10 finish for Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association team at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Annett and crew chief Mike Bumgarner rallied to get back on the lead lap after the tire problem and ended up 14th at the finish of the extra-distance NASCAR Xfinity Series event on the 1.5-mile oval. Following the race, the second-place car of Tyler Reddick failed post-race technical inspection and Annett was moved up one place to 13th in the final finishing order.

Stage One Finish: 9th     

Starting 18th by virtue of NASCAR’s formula for determining the lineup, Annett wasted no time moving toward the front of the field. At the initial green flag, Annett moved from 18th to 12th and kept it wound up, moving to 10th after just four laps. By lap 7, he was eighth. Staying in and around the top 10, Annett hit pit road at lap 27 when the caution flag waved for an incident involving Stefan Parsons. Bumgarner called for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to help a loose condition on entry to the corners. Exiting in 25th position for the final 10 laps of the 40-lap Stage One, Annett repeated his charge toward the front and cracked the top 10 in just four laps. Two laps later, he took ninth place and held it to the end of the stage, earning two valuable stage points in the process. Bumgarner again brought his driver to pit road for four tires, fuel and further adjustments. The Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association crew sent Annett back out in 10th position for Stage Two.

Stage Two Finish: 14th    

Once Stage Two got under way, Annett lost a couple of positions in the initial scramble on the restart and was running 12th at lap 69 when the caution waved again for fluid on the track. Annett told Bumgarner that his Chevrolet had developed a bit of a tire chatter on the entry to Turn 3, but the team elected to stay on track and gained a pair of positions when others ahead came down pit road. Annett restarted from the eighth position with five laps remaining, but developed a loose condition on entry and ended up 14th under the green-white checkered flag to end Stage Two at lap 80. Under caution, Annett pitted again for four tires, fuel and another adjustment to cure his handling issues. He would start the final segment from 17th position.

Final Stage:

As he had done the previous two stages, Annett was able to advance on the restart and gain positions on the break. Running 12th at lap 99, Annett was in position to make a pit stop when the caution waved for a crash that involved teammate Justin Allgaier. After taking four tires and fuel, Annett gained positions on the break and cracked the top 10 in less than two laps. The caution waved again at lap 111 with Annett eighth in the order. On the ensuing restart, Annett immediately began to experience a loose condition and dropped back to 14th. As the run wore on, Annett was able to regain his handle and moved back into the top 10 at lap 137. Still in 10th with just two laps remaining in the race and on the way to a top-10 finish, Annett came over the radio to Bumgarner and said that a tire was going down. Calling his driver to pit road, Annett was getting service when the caution waved again for a crash in Turn 3 that took out JRM teammate Noah Gragson, who was the race leader. Having lost a lap for the green-flag pit stop, Annett rejoined the race in 25th position. Over the remainder of the extra-distance race, Annett was able to take the wave-around to get his lap back. On the final restart at lap 177, Annett drove from 20th at the green flag to 14th at the finish on lap 179.

 

Myatt Snider won the race over Reddick, who was disqualified. That moved Brandon Jones up to second, followed by Daniel Hemric, Jeb Burton and Austin Cindric. Justin Haley led the second five, with Brett Moffitt, Ryan Sieg, Jeremy Clements and JRM’s Josh Berry in tow.

 

Michael Annett, driver No. 1 Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association Chevrolet team

“We just had bum luck tonight. The Pilot Flying J/American Heart Association Chevrolet Camaro was a lot better than 14th, that’s for sure. We were in good shape for a top-10 finish when the tire went down and we had to come to pit road. We were better than where we finished, and I hate that it happened the way it did, but we rallied back after the flat and it turned out better than it could have been.”


 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet, was in position for his first victory of the 2021 season with just over two laps remaining in Saturday evening’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Contender Boats 250 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Then, as Gragson looked to lead his 35th lap of the day, he made contact with a slower car, causing severe damage to the nose of his JRM Camaro and erased an eight-second lead. Following a quick survey of the front end, it was determined that the damage was too severe for Gragson to continue, bringing an untimely end to his strong night shy of the finish. Gragson was ultimately credited with a 33rd-place finish. 

Stage One Finish: 10th

Gragson fired off from the 23rd position for the 167-lap event and wasted little time moving forward, driving inside of the top 10 by the completion of lap 8 and up to third by the time the first yellow waved on lap 26. Staying on track during this caution, Gragson chose to restart on the bottom of row two for the ensuing restart. Taking the lead for the first time following the restart, Gragson set his sights forward. However, with differing strategies playing out among the race leaders, fresher tires from behind prevailed as Gragson was shuffled back to 10th as he crossed under the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 40, earning one stage point in the process.

Stage Two Finish: 3rd

The No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro came to pit road following the stage-break for four tires, fuel and a trackbar adjustment to tighten the car up for this run. When the race went back green, Gragson restarted from 12th but quickly drove inside the top 10 and was up to second when the yellow waved on lap 67. Remaining on track again, Gragson restarted from the inside of the front row and took the lead as they entered Turn 1. Fresh tires again prevailed with differing pit strategies, sliding Gragson back from the race lead to third as he crossed under the green-and-white checkered flag on lap 80. The stage result earned Gragson an additional eight points on the night, bringing his race total up to nine.  

Final Stage:   

During the final stage-break, Gragson came into the pits for four tires, fuel and no adjustments to the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro as the team was happy with how the car handled late in the run. Coming out of the pits in second and restarting third on track, Gragson entered Turn 3 and was forced sideways, slightly making contact with the outside wall as another driver slid into his left rear. Saving the car with minimal damage, Gragson once again set his sights forward as he rode around in fifth. A lap 98 yellow slowed the field as Gragson ran fifth before coming to pit road for four fresh tires. Needing to fix the damage from the on-track contact, Gragson exited the pits in the 22nd position. Restarting on the outside of the 10th row, Gragson utilized both the high and low lines of the 1.5-mile facility to enter the top 10 on lap 107. The field was slowed again on lap 111 as Gragson rode 10th. Remaining on track, Gragson restarted from the outside of row four.

Once the field went green, Gragson wasted no time moving forward as he jumped into the top five on lap 116. Battling with teammate Josh Berry, Gragson settled into the seventh position until a lap 127 slide job on Berry started his climb up the leaderboard.

Gragson then reentered the top five on lap 129 and was in the runner-up position on lap 135. Taking the lead on lap 137, Gragson settled in just inches off the wall and started to drive away from second. Building his lead to over eight seconds in the closing laps, Gragson was in position to bring home the victory before a slower car veered to the wall just in front of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro with just over two laps remaining. The ensuing damage proved to be too severe for Gragson to continue, bringing an end to the 22-year-olds night just shy of the checkered flag.

Gragson, who led a race-high 34 laps, was scored in the 33rd position.

Noah Gragson, driver No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro SS

“Another race at Homestead and another race that the Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro should have been celebrating in Victory Lane. I can’t thank Dave Elenz enough as this is the third time we have brought the best car to Homestead and the third time we should be leaving with a trophy. This one stings. We head back to my hometown next week and all we can do is go out and win to try to turn our luck around.”


 

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier was battling for a top-10 position during the final stage of Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Homestead-Miami Speedway when his BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro got tight over a seam on the track and slid up into the front of another car, sending Allgaier hard into the outside retaining wall. The No. 7 Chevy sustained heavy damage that was deemed too severe for Allgaier to continue, ending the veteran driver’s day with 98 laps complete. Allgaier was relegated to a 38th-place finish.

Stage One Finish: 6th

Allgaier rolled off the grid in the 19th position and was up to 12th by lap 20. Running in that same spot when the first caution of the race came out on lap 26, he radioed to crew chief Jason Burdett that the BRANDT Camaro was lacking grip and was tight through the center of the turns. Allgaier took the opportunity to come to pit road for four tires and fuel while some opted to stay out.

Restarting back in 23rd on lap 30, Allgaier made the most of his fresh tires, maneuvering his way inside the top 10 within three laps. He continued to steadily pick up positions as the stage went on, taking the green-and-white checkered flag in sixth on lap 40.

Stage Two Finish: 15th

During the stage-break, Allgaier came to pit road for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment after relaying to the team that the handling was the same on the BRANDT Camaro. He lined up eighth for the start of Stage Two on lap 47 and continued to race inside the top 10. Scored in the eighth position when a caution flag came out on lap 68, Allgaier and the No. 7 team decided to stay out on the track to save their sets of tires. Restarting on old tires from the sixth position, Allgaier fought hard to remain inside the top 10. However, fresher tires prevailed and Allgaier was scored in 15th at the conclusion of Stage Two on lap 80.

Final Stage:

The team called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments, sending him back out to start the final stage from 15th on lap 87. Methodically, he advanced his position and was closing in on the top 10. While battling for position on lap 97, Allgaier’s BRANDT Camaro got tight over a seam and slid up into the front of the No. 98 of Riley Herbst and hard into the outside retaining wall. Allgaier limped his Chevrolet to pit road, but the damage was too severe to continue and his day was done. Allgaier was ultimately scored with a 38th-place finish.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet

“This season is just not getting off to a good start for our No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team. I feel awful for Riley Herbst. I got super tight over the last seam and there was nothing he could have done to avoid me. I hate it for the guys on this team too. They worked hard to prepare this car and we were making some good adjustments to try to get the handling closer to where we needed it to be. I’m ready to get out of Florida and head to Las Vegas and get this bad luck out of the way.”

Articles

image

XFINITY Series Schedule

  • April 24 04:00 PM ET
    Ag-Pro 300Talladega Superspeedway
  • May 8 01:00 PM ET
    Steakhouse Elite 200Darlington Raceway
  • May 15 01:30 PM ET
    Dover International Speedway
  • May 22 04:00 PM ET
    Pit Boss 250Circuit of the Americas
  • May 29 01:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 300 at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Cook Out 250

Martinsville Speedway | 4/9/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric3170
2Daniel Hemric275-42
3Harrison Burton242-75
4Justin Haley230-87
5Jeb Burton221-96
6AJ Allmendinger218-99
7Myatt Snider206-111
8Justin Allgaier199-118
11Noah Gragson168-149
12Michael Annett168-149