Allgaier Wins, Gragson Fourth in Atlanta Shootout

JR Motorsports | 3/20/2021

Atlanta Axalta Bass Pro Shops Black Rifle Coffee EchoPark Josh Berry Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Race Report Tire Pros TrueTimber XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier hoisted the 52nd Xfinity Series trophy for JRM on Saturday at Atlanta Motor Speedway, driving the No. 7 Echo Park Chevrolet to Victory Lane in the Echo Park 250.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

 

Race 6 of 33: Echo at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

Track Specs: 1.54-mile quad-oval / 163 laps

Weather: Sunny; 55 degrees

Race Winner: Justin Allgaier

 

Allgaier's Finish: 1st

Gragson's Finish: 4th 

Annett's Finish: 7th 

Berry's Finish: 38th 

 


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 Axalta/EchoPark Camaro, powered his way to his 15th career NASCAR Xfinity Series victory in Saturday’s EchoPark 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. The veteran driver led 47 laps en route to his first win of the season, beating out Martin Truex Jr. by nearly 1.5 seconds. The victory extended Allgaier’s claim as the winningest driver in JR Motorsports history with 12 wins and locked him into the 2021 NXS Playoffs.

Stage One Finish: 3rd 

The 34-year-old driver rolled off the grid from sixth, but slid back a few positions at the drop of the green flag. He relayed to the team that the No. 7 Axalta/EchoPark Chevy was hard on the splitter to start and really free on entry and exit. As the run went on though, his car came to him and he was back up to sixth before the competition caution came out on lap 20. Restarting in seventh on lap 24, he steadily improved his position, driving up to third by time the green-and-white checkered flag waved to end Stage One at the completion of lap 40.

Under the stage-ending caution, crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier in for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment to help improve the No. 7 Chevy’s handling.

Stage Two Finish: 2nd

Allgaier took the green flag for Stage Two from the eighth position and it didn’t take him long to radio to the team that the Axalta/EchoPark Camaro had more rear security but was down hard on the splitter. Still, he made quick work of the field, racing his way to third by lap 65. Spotter Eddie D’Hondt relayed to Allgaier that his pace was better than both the cars ahead of him and he was able to pick off one more position to end Stage Two in second. During the stage-break, Allgaier reported that his Camaro was really good on entry that run and was tight through the center but got better once the splitter came up.

Final Stage:

The team called Allgaier to pit road for fresh tires and fuel prior to the start of the final stage, sending him back out in the second position. During the restart, Allgaier battled side-by-side with leader Truex Jr. but ultimately settled into second. Still in the runner-up spot when the caution came out on lap 113, he reported that his Camaro was getting tighter through the center as the run went on. The team took the opportunity to join the rest of the field on pit road during the caution and another fast stop by the team allowed Allgaier to maintain his second spot.

Once pit stops were complete, it was determined the Truex Jr. was speeding on pit road and he was forced to restart from the rear of the field. The penalty allowed Allgaier to have the point position for the lap-117 restart and he took advantage, jumping out to the lead before another quick caution flag came out. Restarting again from the top spot, the Illinois native retook command of the lead once the green flag dropped. He continued to pace the field until a wreck off of Turn 4 brought out the caution flag on lap 131.

During the caution, Allgaier and team lead the majority of the field to pit road for their final stops of the race. The No. 7 team gave Allgaier his last set of sticker tires and sent him back out ready to battle for the race win. Allgaier lined up second for the lap-137 restart, but once again powered his way to the lead and held on to it in the final laps to earn JRM its 52nd NXS victory.

The win was Allgaier’s first at Atlanta and his third on 1.5-mile tracks. He’s now locked into the NXS Playoffs and sits eighth in the point standings.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Axalta/EchoPark Chevrolet

“To have Axalta and EchoPark colors on the car, it’s such a good-looking Camaro. William (Byron) took it to Victory Lane so I had to follow suit. We didn’t start off the day like we wanted to, but these guys persevered. They pushed and made great adjustments on pit road. Jason Burdett (crew chief) and all the guys on the team did a great job. I’m just proud of the effort that we put in today and I can’t thank all of our partners enough.”


 

Noah Gragson

Noah Gragson, driver of the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet, sustained damage at the end of Stage One, but fought back to earn a fourth-place finish in Saturday evening’s EchoPark 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway. After pitting multiple times during the Stage One and Two breaks, the crew was able to repair enough of the No. 9 Camaro to allow Gragson to thrash his way to his second top-five finish of the 2021 season.

Stage One Finish: 20th 

Gragson fired off from the 30th position for the 163-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 caution waved with five laps remaining in Stage One. Taking the restart in sixth, Gragson utilized the high-side to race inside of the top five before being involved in a multicar incident on the final lap of Stage One, and crossed the line 20th as the field took the green-and-checkered flag on lap 40.

Stage Two Finish: 15th

Following Stage One, Gragson brought the No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet to pit road for four tires, fuel and to fix as much damage as possible during NASCAR’s crash clock. Able to reach minimum speed after the drop of the green flag, Gragson set his sights forward. The 22-year-old drove the Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro inside of the top 15 on lap 67 and crossed under the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage Two on lap 80 in 15th-place. Pitting immediately following the checkered to end Stage Two, the No. 9 team went to work thrashing on the Chevrolet in an attempt to fix the toe and body work. Gragson pitted two additional times during the yellow in order to have a car capable of driving to the front for the third and final stage

Final Stage:

Restarting from the rear of the field for pitting while the pits were closed, Gragson utilized both the high and low lines to drive two- and three-wide around slower traffic. The No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro regained position within the top 15 on lap 95 as he sat in 14th place. A yellow on lap 112 saw Gragson running 13th and allowed Gragson to pit for four fresh tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help the car handle throughout the run. Restarting 20th after a multicar collision on pit road, Gragson pressed forward as he joined the top 15 before the yellow waved immediately following the restart. Following the restart, Gragson was inside the top 10 with under 40 laps remaining and joined the top five just five laps later.

A yellow bunched the field back together with just 32 laps remaining and Gragson brought the Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro to pit road for his last set of four fresh tires and fuel. Restarting eighth, Gragson wasted no time moving forward as he moved into fourth-place just three laps after the restart. The No. 9 raced around third-place with Harrison Burton before ultimately finishing fourth, earning his second top-five finish of the 2021 season.

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

“We had a great Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Camaro and I couldn’t be more proud of the heart this No. 9 team had in them today. We had that damage at the end of Stage One that set us back, but they kept thrashing on the car to get it back handling the way it should. The toe and body work were knocked out of it but they got everything straight and we showed the strength of our team as we fought back inside the top five there at the end and had top-five speed all day.”


 

Michael Annett

Michael Annett and the Pilot Flying J team put together a solid race on Saturday, scoring points in both stages and bringing the No. 1 Chevrolet home with a seventh-place finish in the Echo Park 250 for NASCAR Xfinity Series machines at Atlanta Motor Speedway. It was the second top-10 finish in the opening six races of the season for the Iowa driver, and sent the team into a two-week break with some momentum behind it.

Stage One Finish: 5th     

Starting 27th in the 163-lap event after the lineup was determined by NASCAR’s mathematical formula, Annett began moving forward at the drop of the green flag. In the first five laps, Annett had moved all the way up to 19th and was 17th two laps later. At the lap-20 competition caution, Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner that his Camaro was neutral for the most part and was turning well. Once the race restarted, Annett continued his rise up the order, ascending to 13th position at lap 28 and cracking the top 10 for the first time four laps later. Following a caution flag at lap 37, Annett set up for a one-lap dash to the stage flag on lap 39 in ninth place. As the cars swept into Turn 3 coming to the stage flag, Annett was directly behind a three-car skirmish among Brandon Jones, Brett Moffitt and JR Motorsports teammate Noah Gragson. As Jones and Moffitt spun, Annett missed Jones’ car by a matter of inches and finished fifth to earn six valuable stage points. After several laps on track while cleanup was effected, Annett pitted for four tires and fuel with no adjustments. The Pilot Flying J pit crew accomplished the work in good time and Annett would return to the track in ninth place after a few cars stayed out.

Stage Two Finish: 6th    

When the green flag waved to start Stage Two, Annett swept up to seventh on the initial green and took sixth place a lap later, battling with teammate Justin Allgaier for the top five. Dropping to eighth for a few laps, Annett got back to seventh by passing Ryan Sieg at lap 57 and spent the majority of the remainder of the segment there, chasing Myatt Snider for sixth. With four laps remaining until the green-checkered flag would wave over the field, Annett got past for sixth and finished there, adding five more bonus points to his total for the day. After some discussion about changes, Bumgarner called his driver to pit road for four more tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. After the stop, Annett would come off pit road in eighth position for the 83-lap run to the checkered flag. An extended caution period saw the green flag wave on lap 88, leaving 75 laps to the conclusion.

Final Stage:

As it had all day, the Pilot Flying J Chevrolet did not take off well, but built momentum as the run went on. Annett dropped to 10th position on the restart but came back to ninth within 10 laps, battling with Brandon Brown for eighth. He took the position at lap 103 and was running there at lap 114 when the caution waved again for a single-car spin. With two sets of tires in the pits, Bumgarner opted to bring his driver down pit road to bolt one of them on and add fuel. Rejoining the race in ninth position, Annett would start the race from the outside of the second row via the choose rule. As the race restarted, Jeremy Clements led the outside line and spun his tires hard, leaving Annett stuck behind him. Clements then had contact with another car and spun in front of the No. 1 Pilot Flying J Chevrolet entering Turn 1, and Annett narrowly missed a collision. When the race restarted again at lap 123, Annett was eighth, and he swept to sixth with a move to the middle groove off Turn 2. Battling with Martin Truex Jr. and Santino Ferrucci, Annett found himself seventh at lap 133 when Sieg and JRM teammate Josh Berry tangled off Turn 4. That brought out the caution flag and Annett came down pit road with the rest of the leaders for his final set of tires.

Two drivers stayed out on old tires, which made the restart somewhat perilous. Choosing the bottom line, Annett was able to avoid the lead car of Colby Howard, who went high into Turn 1 and cleared the way for the lead pack to resume racing. Annett continued to move forward, taking sixth place with 20 laps remaining. He would hold that spot until lap 151, when Riley Herbst got around him. Over the final 12 laps, Annett maintained his position and finished the event in seventh place.

Allgaier held off Truex Jr. for the victory, with Harrison Burton, Gragson and AJ Allmendinger the rest of the top five. Herbst was sixth, followed by Annett, Justin Haley, Daniel Hemric and Sieg.

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

“Our Pilot Flying J Chevrolet was really good today, and we had a good chance to move even farther up the finishing order. The track cooled off a little late and we weren’t able to get higher than where we finished, but it was a solid day all the way around. We had a good car, did a good job in the pits and earned another good finish. We were able to score points in both stages and really put a complete race together. We get a little time off now and we’ll continue to build on this.”


 

Josh Berry

Josh Berry, driver of the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet, was battling for position inside the top 10 in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Atlanta Motor Speedway before an incident on lap 130 brought an abrupt end to a promising run. Berry, who had rallied toward the front on two separate occasions, was racing for the ninth position when contact with the No. 39 sent Berry sliding toward the infield. After initially making the save, the front splitter made hard contact with infield grass, causing severe damage to the front of the Tire Pros Chevrolet and rendering Berry unable to continue. The JR Motorsports driver was ultimately scored with a 38th-place finish.

Stage One Finish: 8th

Berry lined up for the 163-lap event from the 22nd position after the field was again set via NASCAR’s mathematical formula earlier in the week. From the drop of the green flag, Berry marched forward, taking advantage of the opening 20-lap run prior to the scheduled competition caution to improve 11 positions to 11th. While under the competition caution, Berry reported to crew chief Taylor Moyer that the Tire Pros Chevrolet was handling really well overall, but was just a little bit snug rolling through the corner. Taking the lap-23 restart as the fifth car on the outside line, Berry continued to fight for position inside the top 10 until the caution flag was displayed once again on lap 35.

This caution ultimately set up a one-lap shootout to end Stage One. Lining up on the inside line for the restart, Berry battled three-wide for position on the exit of Turn 2 when a multi-car incident broke out right in front of him. Diving down to the apron, the driver of the Tire Pros Chevrolet narrowly avoided the trouble and was able to cross under the green-and-white checkered flag in the eighth position. The stage result also netted Berry and the No. 8 team three valuable points to begin the afternoon.

Stage Two Finish: 15th

During the stage-ending caution, Moyer called the driver of the Tire Pros Chevrolet to pit road for the first set of fresh tires and fuel. However, a penalty during the stop forced Berry to fall to the rear of the field for the start of Stage Two on lap 50. Taking the green from the 34th position, the Hendersonville, Tenn. native methodically moved forward, taking advantage of the caution-free second stage to improve 19 positions to take the green-and-white checkered flag in 15th. While under caution following the stage, Berry reported that the Tire Pros Chevrolet felt really quick throughout that run, even though he remained a little tight through the corner. As a result, Moyer called the JRM driver back to pit road prior to the start of the third and final stage for four tires and an air-pressure adjustment.

Final Stage:

A fast stop by the Tire Pros pit crew sent Berry back out in the 11th position for the start of the final stage on lap 88. Once back under way the 2020 NASCAR Weekly Series National Champion again climbed the leaderboard, moving up to the ninth position after initially getting shuffled back to 13th before the caution flag was displayed on lap 112. During this caution period, Moyer called the driver of the Tire Pros Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and another air-pressure adjustment. However, an issue getting into his pit box forced Berry to have to back up, sliding the JRM driver back to 18th after the stop. Utilizing a never-give-up attitude, Berry looked to again charge forward. Following a quick yellow after the lap-117 restart, the driver of the Tire Pros Chevrolet took advantage of the ensuing restart to improve eight positions and rejoin the top 10 on lap 127.

Then, while running on the outside line battling for ninth in Turn 3 on lap 130, the No. 39 made contact with Berry’s left-rear, sending the JRM driver for a long slide toward the infield on the exit of Turn 4. After initially saving the car following the slide, the front splitter of the Tire Pros Chevrolet dug into the infield grass, badly damaging the nose of the JRM Camaro. The damage proved to be too severe for Berry to continue, bringing an untimely end to the day.

Berry was ultimately scored with a 38th-place finish.

Josh Berry, driver No.  8 Tire Pros Chevrolet team

“We had a really fast Tire Pros Chevrolet today. We were able to come from the back to the top-10 twice today and we had some really good speed throughout each run. I can’t thank Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) and everyone on this Tire Pros team enough. We’ve had some really strong cars these last two weeks and I hate that we don’t have the finishes to show it. But we will rebound from this and be ready to go in a couple of weeks at a track that I have a lot of experience at in Martinsville.”

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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