Allgaier Conquers The Lady in Black; Berry and Annett Follow with Top-Six Efforts

JR Motorsports | 5/8/2021

Bass Pro Shops Black Rifle Coffee Darlington Raceway gatorade Good Humor Josh Berry Justin Allgaier Michael Annett News Noah Gragson Pilot Flying J Race Report Tire Pros TrueTimber XFINITY Series

Taking a late lead, Justin Allgaier, driving the No. 7 Good Humor throwback tribute to Dale Earnhardt Sr., scored his second win of the season and handed JRM its 54th Xfinity Series win.

Race Results | Xfinity Series Points

Race 9 of 33: Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway
Track Specs: 1.366-mile oval / 147 laps      
Weather: Mostly cloudy; 78 degrees
Race Winner: Justin Allgaier 

Allgaier's Finish: 1st

Berry's Finish: 2nd

Annett's Finish: 6th

Gragson's Finish: 40th

 


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier, driver of the throwback No. 7 Good Humor Chevrolet, captured his second NASCAR Xfinity Series victory of the season on Saturday afternoon at the famed Darlington Raceway. Allgaier, who first took the lead with 10 laps remaining, held off JR Motorsports teammate Josh Berry and overcame a green-white-checkered restart to secure his first victory at “the Lady in Black”. By virtue of today’s triumph, Allgaier becomes just the second driver to score multiple wins this season in the NXS and has qualified for the final race in the Dash 4 Cash next weekend at Dover International Speedway.

Stage One Finish: 8th

Allgaier lined up in the 16th position for the special throwback event in a scheme paying homage to the famed No. 3 Tasmanian Devil Chevrolet driven by Dale Earnhardt in the 2000 Daytona 500. In a caution-filled opening 20 laps Allgaier worked his way forward, improving nine positions to seventh by the time the competition caution was displayed. Once back under way on lap 25, the driver of the Good Humor Chevrolet maintained his track position inside the top 10 despite reporting that he had developed a loose-handling condition on entry and a tight-condition on the exit of the corner. Despite the dueling handling conditions, Allgaier ran consistent lap times and took the green-and-white checkered on lap 45 in the eighth position. The stage-ending result earned Allgaier and the No. 7 team three valuable stage points to kick off the afternoon.

Stage Two Finish: 8th

While under the stage-ending caution, crew chief Jason Burdett called the driver of the Good Humor Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and a chassis adjustment. Allgaier returned to the track following the stop in the 10th position but wasted little time moving back toward the front, methodically maneuvering back up to sixth by the completion of lap 75. Then, a late-stage caution on lap 82 provided Burdett an opportunity to work with some strategy as he called Allgaier back to pit road after the JRM driver reported that he thought he had an issue developing with one of his tires. Restarting in 19th for the three-lap shootout to the stage-end, Allgaier charged through the field, taking advantage of the outside line to drive back into the top 10 and up to eighth by the time the green-and-white checkered was displayed on lap 90. The eighth-place stage result also netted Allgaier an additional three points, bringing the No. 7 teams race total to six on the day.

Final Stage:

Prior to the beginning of the third and final stage, Burdett made the call to bring Allgaier back to pit road for four tires and another round of adjustments. As a result of the stop, the Illinois native was scored in 15th when the green flag waved on lap 99. Once back underway Allgaier again ascended up the leaderboard, needing just 14 laps following the restart to rejoin the top five. The driver of the Good Humor Chevrolet held steady in fifth from there until a lap-125 caution period provided Burdett with one last chance to bring Allgaier back to pit road. Returning to the track following a strong pit stop by the JRM crew in third, Allgaier chose the inside line for the lap-131 restart and quickly moved into second before the field was slowed once again on lap 132.

Lining up on the front row for the lap-137 restart, Allgaier opted for the inside lane below JRM teammate Josh Berry. Entering the first corner side-by-side, the driver of the Good Humor Chevrolet emerged as the race leader as the pair exited Turn 2. Now out front, Allgaier looked to drive away, but a lap-141 caution brought the field back together and set up NASCAR’s version of overtime.

Choosing the outside line for the final restart of the day, Allgaier was able to fend off a hard charge from Berry to regain sole possession of the top spot and drive off to score his second victory of the season and first at the track “Too Tough to Tame.”

With the win, Allgaier will now be one of four drivers competing for next weekend’s Dash 4 Cash prize at Dover.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 Good Humor Chevrolet team

“This is special. All of the guys on this Good Humor Ice Cream Camaro kept fighting all race long and we were able to be right where we needed to be at the end. To check off Atlanta and now Darlington I couldn’t be more appreciative of this entire race team. I just can’t thank everyone enough both here and at JR Motorsports. This is going to be a win we will celebrate for a long time.” 


Josh Berry

Josh Berry, driver of the No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet, rallied from a 24th-place starting position to finish second in Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Darlington Raceway. Berry, who ran inside the top 10 for much of the day, earned valuable stage points at the conclusion of Stage Two and was able to lead eight laps en route to a runner-up finish to teammate Justin Allgaier.

Stage One Finish: 12th

With the field being set via the rulebook, Berry lined up for the 147-lap event from the 24th position. From the drop of the green flag Berry charged forward, needing just 14 laps to race into the top 15. The driver of the Tire Pros Chevrolet maintained his track position from there until the scheduled competition caution on lap 21. While under caution, crew chief Taylor Moyer made the call to keep the JR Motorsports driver on track to save a set of fresh tires for later in the race. Choosing to restart from the top of row seven, Berry set his sights forward as he gained three important positions before crossing the green-and-checkered flag to end Stage One on lap 45 in the 12th position.

Stage Two Finish: 4th

Moyer brought the driver of the Tire Pros Chevrolet to pit road during the stage-ending caution for four fresh tires, fuel and a slight air pressure adjustment, sending the Hendersonville, Tenn. native back out for the start of Stage Two in the 11th position. Once back under way, Berry continued his ascent up the leaderboard as he joined the top 10 for the first time on lap 55 and was up to seventh when the next yellow flag flew on lap 82. Pitting for four tires, fuel and another air-pressure adjustment, Berry utilized fresh tires against the lead pack to move his way from 23rd to fourth as the Tire Pros Chevy crossed under the green-and-white checkered to end Stage Two on lap 90 to earn a valuable seven stage points.

Final Stage:

Prior to the start of the third and final stage, Moyer made the call to keep the Tire Pros Chevy on track as they had just three laps on their tires and he wanted to keep track position. Choosing to restart from the outside of row two, Berry settled in to third and began saving tires for the long run that ensued. Falling to fourth on lap 121, Berry was saved by a yellow on lap 125 as he maintained his fourth-place running position. Taylor Moyer made the call to bring the 2020 NASCAR Weekly Series Champion to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Gaining two spots on pit road, Berry restarted from the inside of the front row and wouldn’t look back as he took the lead immediately following the drop of the green flag.

Holding strong in the lead just in front of teammates Justin Allgaier and Noah Gragson, the caution waved on lap 132. With a decision to make for the ensuing restart, Berry chose to restart from the outside of the front row, which proved costly as teammate Justin Allgaier was able to clear the Tire Pros Chevrolet by the exit of Turn Two. Keeping close to Allgaier, Berry was able to get one last shot at his teammate as a lap-142 caution brought the field back together.

Choosing to restart from the bottom of the front row, Berry jumped to the lead but couldn’t clear his JRM teammate and settled into the second position where he ultimately crossed under the checkered flag to earn his second top-five and fourth top-10 finish of the 2021 season.

Josh Berry, driver No. 8 Tire Pros Chevrolet

“We had a great Tire Pros Chevrolet today and Taylor (Moyer, crew chief) made the right calls to get us to the front. We were able to lead some laps and run towards the front all day, so there’s nothing to complain about. I can’t thank Tire Pros enough for coming on board for the remaining open races we had and this car looks so good. We will head to Dover to race for the Dash 4 Cash next week and I know the No. 8 team will bring us a fast car to put us in a great position for that big payday.”


Michael Annett

Michael Annett raced to his fourth top-10 finish in the last six races on Saturday, taking his No. 1 Gatorade-themed Pilot Flying J Darrell Waltrip throwback to a sixth-place finish in the Steakhouse Elite 200 for NASCAR Xfinity Series cars at Darlington Raceway. Annett and his JR Motorsports teammates all finished in the top seven on a banner day for the team, which began with team owner Dale Earnhardt Jr. pacing the field in his father’s No. 8 Chevrolet from the late 1980s.

Stage One Finish: 10th     

Beginning the annual throwback race from 20th position following NASCAR’s mathematical formula was applied earlier in the week, Annett sorted out his No. 1 Chevrolet over the first 20 laps, rising five positions on the opening lap and picking off positions to 11th before the competition caution waved at lap 20. Annett told crew chief Mike Bumgarner early in the run that his Chevrolet had good speed and was handling well over most of the worn track surface on NASCAR’s first superspeedway. Staying on-track, Annett moved to the top 10 for the restart and stayed there for the remainder of the 45-lap Stage One, eventually finishing 10th to pick up a valuable stage point. On the break, Annett told Bumgarner his car was handling well but building a little tight in Turns 1 and 2 and asked for a chassis adjustment to help with that. Bumgarner responded with four tires, fuel and a slight adjustment to the chassis, sending his driver back out in 14th position for Stage Two.

Stage Two Finish: 7th    

In traffic as the 45-lap Stage Two got under way, Annett jumped two spots up the order just a couple of laps and cracked the top 10 at lap 63. He was ninth at lap 84 when the caution waved for a two-car accident in Turn 1. With just six laps remaining until the Stage Two checkered, Annett stayed out as several cars ahead decided to take tires early. That put him fifth for the short run to the green-and-white checkered flag to end Stage Two. Over the remaining laps, Annett ran as high as third before the cars with fresh tires caught up, and he ended the stage in seventh. That earned him four more stage points and put him in good position for the end of the race. Coming to pit road for his service, Annett got four tires, fuel and a bit more of the same adjustment he received on his first stop. Exiting pit road, Annett slotted into 14th position for the final segment.

Final Stage:

As the green flag once again waved over the field, Annett was in the middle of the pack and was caught out on an entry to Turns 1 and 2 early on which put him back to 21st at lap 101. From there, Annett began to move forward once the field had settled out. The Iowa native was up to 15th by lap 112 and continued to pick off cars. Annett rose to 12th at lap 121. Six laps later, a big crash on the backstretch brought the caution flag out again, which left the No. 1 Pilot Flying J team with a chance to come to pit road for fresh tires. On the stop, Annett took four tires and fuel with another chassis adjustment and returned to the event in 14th. Once the green flag replaced the yellow, Annett began to move forward again, sitting 12th when the eighth caution flag of the day waved at lap 133. With a set of tires still sitting in the pits, Annett made the decision to stay out for the final run, saying his Gatorade-themed Pilot Flying J Chevrolet was handling well. Back under green at lap 137, Annett was 12th at lap 143 when the caution waved yet again for a spin. Bumgarner asked his driver if he wanted the last remaining set of tires for the run to the finish, and Annett decided to stay on the track with what he had. That turned out to be a solid move, as he moved to seventh for the green-white-checkered finish that would come. Over the final two-lap run, Annett held seventh position and cement his fourth top-10 run in the last six races. Following the race, Annett was moved up to sixth after one of the cars ahead of him was disqualified.

JRM’s Justin Allgaier won the race, with JRM teammate Josh Berry a close second. Brandon Jones was third ahead of Daniel Hemric and Jeremy Clements. Annett led the second five with Brett Moffitt, Ryan Sieg, Alex Labbe and Harrison Burton.

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

“It wasn’t really what we wanted today, but it’s a good start for this summer stretch. Our Gatorade Pilot Flying J Chevrolet was pretty good most of the day and I messed us up by losing some track position in Stage Two. The car handled pretty well all day long and we had a good day in the points. I hope DW liked our throwback to his 1979 Gatorade Chevrolet, and we had fun. Congratulations to Justin on the victory. It was a great day for JR Motorsports with all four of us in the top 10.”


Noah Gragson

Much as he did at Talladega Superspeedway two weeks ago, Noah Gragson was focused on winning Saturday’s Steakhouse Elite 200 at Darlington Raceway. Despite having one of the best cars on the 1.366-mile oval all day long, Gragson did not reach Victory Lane, initially finishing fourth at the end of 147 laps. In post-race inspection, however, Gragson’s No. 9 Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber/Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet was disqualified and he was relegated to 40th at the finish.

Stage One Finish: 2nd   

Gragson fired off from the fifth position for the scheduled 147-lap event on NASCAR’s first superspeedway after the lineup was set earlier in the week per NASCAR’s mathematical formula. As the cars got sorted out, Gragson was still there when the caution flag waved five laps into the race. Under caution, Gragson told crew chief Dave Elenz that his car was a little tight in Turns 3 and 4 and skittish on exit. When the green flag replaced the yellow, Gragson settled down and started to move, taking third place on lap 9. After another caution flag, Gragson went to work, taking the lead on a restart at lap 16 and holding it through the competition caution at lap 21 despite a stiff battle with Austin Cindric. When the race resumed at lap 26, Cindric took the top spot with Gragson settling into second, working different grooves to gather information for the later stages. Despite banging off the wall on a couple of occasions, Gragson finished second to Cindric at the end of Stage One and picked up nine stage points in the process. Gragson told Elenz that he needed more rear grip to move forward, and Elenz made an air-pressure adjustment and a chassis change in addition to four tires and fuel, coming off pit road without losing a position. He would start Stage Two from the runner-up position. 

Stage Two Finish: 2nd

When the green flag waved to start Stage Two, Gragson stayed second and remained quiet on the radio. The young driver lost a spot to third just before the caution flag waved at lap 84. Gragson told Elenz he wanted the same adjustments made on the first stop as well as tires and fuel, and was 20th when the field cycled through after the stops. With so few laps remaining in the second stage, Gragson needed to make a statement and he did. Firing off from 16th after choosing the inside line, Gragson took the green flag with three laps remaining and ran all the way to second place by stage end. It was his second straight runner-up finish in the stages and earned another nine points. Since he made a pit stop so late in Stage Two, Gragson stayed out for the final 57-lap stage.

Final Stage:

When the green flag finally flew at lap 99 to begin the final stage, Gragson went right back to the lead and held off continued challenges from second-place Harrison Burton. As the laps wound down, Gragson stretched his lead to a full second with 30 laps remaining and tacked on an additional eight tenths of a second over the next six laps. The caution flag waved again with 22 laps remaining, which saw Gragson come down for fuel and four tires with no adjustments. He came off pit road in third place and chose the top groove for the restart. After a couple of cautions saw Gragson fall to fourth in the order, the final yellow flag waved with five laps remaining and put the race into a green-white-checkered finish. Gragson told Elenz he wanted to stay out rather than take his final set of tires, a decision taken by the majority of the field. Gragson lined up third after Burton went to pit road for tires, but could not gain over the remaining two laps and came home fourth.

JRM teammate Justin Allgaier won the race over teammate Josh Berry, with Brandon Jones finishing third. Gragson was fourth across the line but fell to 40th following the disqualification. That moved Daniel Hemric to fourth and Jeremy Clements to fifth. JRM’s Michael Annett was sixth, with Brett Moffitt, Ryan Sieg, Alex Labbe and Burton the remainder of the top 10.

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

“I got beat on pit road on the last stop and I have to go back and look to see if I could have done anything better on our speeds. I think that was a difference-maker. It was a good day overall. We led laps in the Bass Pro Shops/TrueTimber®/Black Rifle Coffee Chevrolet, and I’m very thankful for Johnny Morris and all of our sponsors. At the end of the day, we race for wins and we didn’t. I can always do better and I’m pumped for our teammates and JR Motorsports.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • June 12 04:00 PM ET
    Alsco Uniforms 250Texas Motor Speedway
  • June 19 03:30 PM ET
    Tennessee Lottery 250Nashville Superspeedway
  • June 27 12:00 PM ET
    Pocono Green 225Pocono Raceway
  • July 3 02:30 PM ET
    Henry 180 Road America
  • July 10 03:00 PM ET
    Atlanta Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

After B&L Transport 170

Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course | 6/5/2021
RankDriverPointsBehind
1Austin Cindric5580
2AJ Allmendinger462-96
3Daniel Hemric437-121
4Harrison Burton437-121
5Jeb Burton419-139
6Justin Haley401-157
7Justin Allgaier395-163
10Michael Annett326-232
11Noah Gragson324-234
16Josh Berry #256-302