JRM's Bid for First Victory of the Season Comes Up Short

JR Motorsports | 3/13/2021

Bass Pro Shops Black Rifle Coffee Brandt Chevrolet Josh Berry Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Phoenix Raceway Pilot Flying J Race Report TrueTimber XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier led 38 laps at Phoenix Raceway, but couldn't make the pass on the leader on the final restart. Allgaier finished eighth, the highest of the JRM cars.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

 

Race 5 of 33: Call 811 Before You Dig 200 at Phoenix Raceway

Track Specs: 1-mile oval / 200 laps 

Weather: Mostly Cloudy; 61 degrees

Race Winner: Austin Cindric

 

Allgaier's Finish: 8th

Berry's Finish: 36th 

Annett's Finish: 38th 

Gragson's Finish: 39th 

 


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro, nearly got his first NASCAR Xfinity Series win of the season on Saturday afternoon at Phoenix Raceway. The race came down to a late restart and he was battling hard for the lead on the outside when he was pushed up out of the traction compound and brushed the wall. Even after losing momentum, he still came home with a hard-fought eighth-place finish. The result is the first top 10 of the year for Allgaier and the No. 7 team after a challenging start to the season.

Stage One Finish: 6th

Allgaier rolled off the grid from the 12th position and steadily worked his way forward, moving into the ninth position before the competition caution came out on lap 20. During that run, he reported to crew chief Jason Burdett that the BRANDT Camaro was good on entry, tight center and was lacking right-rear security on exit, but that it started to get better as he ran. Opting to stay out under the caution, he lined up seventh for the lap-26 restart and raced his way up to fifth before ultimately taking the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage One in sixth.

Stage Two Finish: 3rd

After claiming five stage points, Allgaier took his BRANDT Chevy to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment during the stage break. A fast stop by the pit crew allowed the veteran driver to gain a spot on pit road. Using the choose cone, he lined up third for the start of Stage Two on lap 56 and was running in the fifth position when the caution flag came out again just a couple laps later. Staying out on the track, Allgaier restarted in fourth and improved his position to third on lap 63, holding on to the same spot until the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end Stage Two on lap 90.

Final Stage:

Under the caution, Allgaier reported that the BRANDT Chevy was really tight through the corners and freer on exit that run. The team took the opportunity during the stage break for four tires, fuel and adjustments to improve the No. 7’s handling. Another fast stop by the pit crew allowed Allgaier to win the battle off of pit road. He held on to the lead after the drop of the green flag to start the final stage on lap 98 and he was still holding the point position when the caution flag came out on lap 124.

The team debated whether or not to come to pit road, and ultimately led most of the field in for their final set of fresh tires. With some cars on differing pit strategies, Allgaier lined up third for the lap-129 restart. He continued to battle inside the top three through a series of cautions and after a restart on lap 154, he was in second and gaining on the leader when another yellow flag waved on lap 166.

Opting to take the outside line for the restart, Allgaier took the green flag in the third position and once again worked his way to second. He was holding a good pace as the laps wound down and would get one more chance to try to retake the lead when the final caution of the race came out on lap 192.

The field took the green flag with two laps to go and Allgaier made his move to the outside of the race leader, but he was pushed up into the marbles and made slight contact with the wall. Still, Allgaier continued to fight hard for position, taking the checkered flag in eighth to secure his best finish in five starts this season.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet

“That was a little disappointing there. We got to his (Austin Cindric’s) outside and I thought we had it and he just got me up out of the PJ1 and into the marbles. Unfortunately, the wall comes up quick when you’re above of the PJ1, but I’m just proud of everybody at JR Motorsports and this BRANDT Professional Agriculture team. We didn’t fire off the race the way we wanted to and we rallied. We had incredible pit stops all day and just made good adjustments and worked our way to the front. We learned a lot for when we come back here in the fall.”


 

Josh Berry

Josh Berry, driver of the No. 8 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, had a strong run come to an abrupt halt on Saturday afternoon in the NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Phoenix Raceway. Berry, who had driven his way into the top three during the final stage, sustained a flat left-rear tire following contact with another competitor that ultimately sent the JR Motorsports driver hard into the outside retaining wall on the entry of Turn 3. The subsequent damage from the incident proved to be too severe for Berry to continue, relegating the driver of the Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet to a 36th-place finish.

Stage One Finish: 11th

Berry took the green flag in the ninth position for the 200-lap event after the field was once again set via NASCAR’s mathematical formula earlier in the week. The Hendersonville, Tenn. native battled inside the top 10, moving up to as high as sixth, throughout the opening laps until the scheduled competition caution was displayed on lap 20. While under caution, Berry reported to crew chief Taylor Moyer that the Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet was building tighter as the run progressed. That tight-handling condition steadily worsened following the lap-26 restart, shuffling Berry back to the 11th position by the time the green-and-white checkered flag was displayed on lap 45.

Stage Two Finish: 8th

During the stage-ending caution, Moyer called the driver of the Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment in the hopes of alleviating the tight-handling condition. Returning to the track in the 10th position following the stop, Berry looked to continue his move forward during Stage Two, but a flurry of cautions through the opening 20 laps of the stage delayed that progress. Then, following a lap-76 restart, Berry made his move, taking advantage of the 14-lap run to the end of the stage to race up to the eighth position and earn three extremely valuable stage points.

While under the caution flag following the completion of the second stage, Berry reported to Moyer that the Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet had fired off better, but still needed some more help with the front turn rolling through the corner. Based off of his feedback, Moyer called the JRM driver to pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments prior to the start of the third and final stage of the afternoon. 

Final Stage:

Following a strong stop by the Chevrolet Accessories pit crew, Berry took the green flag for the start of the final stage from the fourth position on lap 98. Now inside the top five, the 2020 NASCAR Weekly Series National Champion continued his climb toward the front, methodically making his way up to the third position on lap 105 and remaining there until the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 123. While under caution, Moyer made the call to bring Berry back to pit road with the rest of the leaders for the final set of fresh tires.

Lining up in fourth for the ensuing restart on lap 129, Berry was forced into a three-wide situation entering Turn 1, shuffling him back to seventh. Berry remained in seventh when the field was slowed by the yellow flag on lap 131. During this caution period, Berry had to make a return trip to pit road as a result of a loose wheel. Undeterred by the loss of track position following the stop, Berry charged forward, improving seven positions over the next lap-and-a-half to 24th before a lap-139 caution period.

Berry continued his rapid ascent up the leaderboard on the ensuing restart, needing just two laps to rejoin the top 15. Then, while battling for 13th on lap 146, Berry and another competitor made contact, knocking the No. 8 Chevrolet into the wall on the exit of Turn 2. As he made his way down the back straightaway, the left-rear tire went down, sending Berry hard into the outside retaining wall on the entry to Turn 3. The resulting damage was too severe for Berry to continue, bringing an end to the JRM driver’s day shy of the finish.

Berry was ultimately scored with a 36th-place finish.

Josh Berry, driver No. 8 Cehvrolet Accessories Chevrolet team

“We had a great Chevrolet Accessories Camaro today and I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and the guys on this JR Motorsports team enough. We are continuing to get better each and every week and I just hate that we didn’t get to finish where we were running tonight. We’ll keep our heads up and be ready to go for next week in Atlanta.”


 

Michael Annett

Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J team were running in the top 10 near the end of Stage Two on Saturday at Phoenix Raceway when an engine problem derailed his 300th NASCAR Xfinity Series start. Prior to the mechanical issue, Annett had run to a ninth-place finish in Stage One and was in the top 10 when the issue became apparent. He finished the Call 811 Before You Dig 200 in 38th position.

Stage One Finish: 9th     

Starting eighth for the 200-lap event, Annett sorted out the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet over the first few laps and stayed within or just out of the top 10 over the first 20 laps, when the competition caution waved. Sitting 11th at the time, Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner that his Camaro was loose from the start and had just started to come back when the caution waved. Staying out to preserve a set of tires, Annett withstood the initial scramble on the restart and settled in, waiting for the car’s handle to come to him. At lap 37, Annett passed Myatt Snider to get back into the top 10, and two laps later passed JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry for ninth. He would stay there over the final five laps of Stage One to earn two valuable stage points. It was the third straight stage in which the Iowa native had earned points, dating back to last week’s race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway. A crash on the final lap of the stage closed pit road for several laps before Annett could get in for service. Once on pit road, Bumgarner called for four tires, fuel and a slight adjustment, and the Pilot Flying J pit crew held serve, sending their driver back out in ninth position for Stage Two.

Stage Two Finish: 20th    

Stage Two got underway at lap 57, and Annett stayed ninth for the first two laps before another crash slowed the field. Annett told Bumgarner that he was sideways on the restart, yet managed to maintain his position. On the ensuing restart, Annett dropped two spots before recovering to ninth and was still there on lap 69 when JRM teammate Noah Gragson suffered a mechanical failure to bring the caution out once more. After an extended cleanup period, the race got back under way at lap 77, and that’s when Annett’s problems began. As he accelerated for the start, he called to Bumgarner that something was amiss under the hood. He dropped from ninth on the restart to 17th the next time by the flag stand and eventually fell to 20th, hoping to make it to the end of Stage Two. He did, but went directly to the garage for analysis. Bumgarner and the team reported that the mechanical issue was too much to overcome and Annett retired from the race shortly thereafter. With the finish, Annett dropped one spot to 12th in series points.

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

“We had a good Pilot Flying J Chevrolet today, and had earned points in the first segment. We were managing the handling and had a good plan for the end of the race, but it wasn’t to be for us. It’s a shame, because we’ve run really well here at Phoenix. We will regroup and go to Atlanta looking to put another solid race together.”


 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet, earned stage points in Stage One and battled inside the top three during Stage Two of Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Call 811 Before You Dig 200 at Phoenix Raceway. Then, while running in fourth following a lap-62 restart, the No. 9 became engulfed in flames due to an issue under the hood, forcing Gragson to the garage and ending the JR Motorsports driver’s day after just 67 laps. Gragson was ultimately scored with a 39th-place finish.

Stage One Finish: 5th 

Gragson fired off from the 10th position for the 200-lap event as the lineup was set earlier in the week per the rulebook. The Las Vegas native worked his way to seventh as the competition caution waved on lap 20 and reported the Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro was a little loose after returning to the gas pedal throughout the turns. Staying on track during the competition caution, Gragson utilized NASCAR’s choose cone to restart from the top of the fifth row. Using the sticky substance NASCAR applied to the surface, Gragson started his ascent up the leaderboard as he joined the top five on lap 30. Gragson held steady inside the top five from there, crossing under the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage One in fifth-place on lap 45 and earn six stage points to begin the afternoon.

Stage Two Finish: 39th

Following Stage One, Gragson brought the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro to pit road for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to help a loose-handling condition. Exiting the pits following the stop in third, Gragson chose to restart from the top of the second row and took advantage of the preferred lane to move into third before a yellow slowed the field on lap 58. Once again choosing to restart from the top of row two for the ensuing restart, Gragson’s No. 9 Chevrolet began to leak fluid, which quickly turned into smoke and fire began billowing out from underneath the Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro, bringing an untimely end to Gragson’s day on lap 67.

In the end, Gragson was scored with a 39th-place finish.

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

“We had a really fast Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro and we were really looking to learn what we needed to do for the season finale here. We took the green and I could see smoke in my mirror and then the oil pressure gauge spiked and the car ended up catching fire. It’s really unfortunate but it’s nice knowing we had speed.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • August 7 04:00 PM ET
    Skrewball Peanut Butter Whiskey 200Watkins Glen International
  • August 14 04:00 PM ET
    Pennzoil 150Indianapolis Motor Speedway Road Course
  • August 21 03:00 PM ET
    New Holland 250Michigan International Speedway
  • August 27 07:30 PM ET
    Wawa 250Daytona International Speedway
  • September 4 03:30 PM ET
    Sport Clips Haircuts VFW Help A Hero 200Darlington Raceway

XFINITY Series Standings

After Ambetter Get Vaccinated 200

New Hampshire Motor Speedway | 7/17/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric7970
2AJ Allmendinger715-82
3Daniel Hemric684-113
4Justin Allgaier653-144
5Harrison Burton615-182
6Jeb Burton589-208
7Justin Haley577-220
8Noah Gragson544-253
11Michael Annett450-347