Allgaier Plays Pit Call to Perfection To Win at Bristol

JR Motorsports | 9/15/2023

Brandon Jones Brandt Bristol Motor Speedway Dale Earnhardt Jr. Josh Berry Justin Allgaier News Race Report Sam Mayer XFINITY Series

Justin Allgaier won the opening round of the playoffs on Friday night at Bristol Motor Speedway, riding a fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet to the prestigious victory.

 

Race 27 of 33: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway
Track Specs: .533-mile oval / 300 laps
Race Winner: Justin Allgiaer

Allgaier's Finish: 1st

Earnhardt's Finish: 30th

Jones' Finish: 34th

Mayer's Finish: 35th

Berry's Finish: 36th


Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier raced his way out of the first round and into the Round of 8 in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs in dominant fashion on Friday evening, leading three times for a race-high 110 laps en route to the victory at Bristol Motor Speedway, his third of the 2023 season. With tonight’s win, Allgaier becomes the first driver to move on in the NXS Playoffs and now ranks tied for 12th on the NXS all-time wins list with Sam Ard and Tommy Ellis. Additionally, during the post-race celebrations, Allgaier announced that he and cornerstone partner BRANDT Professional Agriculture have resigned with JR Motorsports for the 2024 season.

Race Rundown

  • Allgaier lined up for the 300-lap kickoff to the playoffs from the 10th position following qualifying on Friday afternoon. 
  • From the drop of the green flag, Allgaier went on the attack, as the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet needed just 10 laps to race into the top five before climbing up to the second position on lap 42. Allgaier held steady in second for the remaining 43 laps to take the green-and-white checkered flag in the runner-up position on lap 85 to earn nine valuable stage points.
  • While under the stage-ending caution, crew chief Jim Pohlman called the Illinois native to pit road for four fresh tires and fuel. Returning to the track in second, Allgaier again went on the charge, as the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet powered into the race lead on lap 109 and remained there through the conclusion of Stage Two on lap 170 to secure the stage win and an extremely valuable playoff point in the process.
  • Prior to the start of the third and final stage of the night, Pohlman called Allgaier to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment. Due to varying pit strategies playing out among the front runners, the JRM driver found himself scored in the eighth position ahead of the lap-179 restart.
  • Despite restarting in the back-half of the top-10, Allgaier went back to work, as the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet methodically navigated his way through the pack and back up to the third position before a lap-216 caution period bunched the field back together. While under caution, Pohlman made the strategy call to keep Allgaier on-track while the leaders came to pit road for their last set of fresh tires, moving the JRM driver back out front for the lap-224 restart.
  • Allgaier held on to the race lead for the 23-lap run that followed, before a lap-247 caution allowed Pohlman to bring the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet back to pit road for the team’s final set of sticker tires.
  • As a result of the call to come to pit road, Allgaier took the lap-256 restart from the 14th position in the outside of row seven. Undaunted by the task at hand, Allgaier rapidly ascended up the leaderboard, gaining 12 positions to move back into second on lap 270 before reclaiming the race lead on lap 287.
  • Once back out front, Allgaier set sail, as the driver of the BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet drove away from the field over the final 13 laps to capture his third victory of the 2023 season and his second on the high banks of Bristol.
  • With tonight’s win, Allgaier has locked himself into the Round of 8 in the NXS Playoffs and now sits tied for 12th on the all-time series wins list.

Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet team

“What an unbelievable night. Jim (Pohlman, crew chief) and everyone on this No. 7 team gave me an unbelievable BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet and to cap it off with a win is just incredible. This is such a special victory. To advance into the next round of the playoffs is huge and I just can’t say enough about this team and everyone at JRM. We’re going to enjoy this for sure.”


Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the No. 88 Hellmann’s team were a dominant force in Friday night’s Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway for the NASCAR Xfinity Series machines. Leading 47 laps on the night, Earnhardt Jr. cemented himself as a potential race winner and challenged the front runners through two of the event’s three stages. But misfortune struck 29 laps shy of the finish when a portion of the car’s internal wiring caught fire and forced Earnhardt Jr. to pit road where he safely exited the Hellmann’s machine. The team was relegated a 30th-place finish as a result.

Earnhardt Jr. will be back in action with the No. 88 team at Homestead Miami Speedway (Oct. 21) for the final of his two races in 2023.

Race Rundown

  • Making his first NXS start at Bristol Motor Speedway since 2017, Earnhardt Jr., who wasn’t guaranteed a starting spot and had to qualify on time, posted the 15th fastest lap for the 300-lap event. He used the early part of Stage One to feel out a tight condition on the balance of the car.
  • Earnhardt Jr. eased into the rhythm of the race, climbing through the field to find the top 10 by lap 73 and ultimately finished out Stage One in ninth.
  • Commenting he was “pretty happy about the car,” Earnhardt Jr. brough the Hellmann’s Chevrolet to pit road for tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment. Thanks to a stellar pit work by the crew, the No. 88 gained four positions and returned to the racing surface in fifth for the Stage Two restart.
  • Earnhardt made a quick jump to fourth once back to green-flag racing, and then worked further forward and battled Cole Custer for the runner-up spot.
  • When the caution flag waved on lap 148, crew chief Jason Stockert made the strategic move to bring Earnhardt Jr., who was running fourth, to pit road for fresh tires, fuel and air pressure adjustment. With the lead cars staying out, the call would net the Hellmann’s team valuable track position for the final stage.
  • Earnhardt Jr. ended Stage Two in fourth. While the bulk of the field pitted under the stage-ending caution, the No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet took over the top spot for the ensuing restart.
  • Earnhardt Jr. held serve for the next 47 laps, keeping a stranglehold on the lead and opening up a two-second gap on second place.
  • A caution on lap 217 slowed the field and brought many of the cars to pit road. Earnhardt Jr. was one of the takers but the team managed to cement themselves among the top five for the remainder of their race.
  • On lap 266, Earnhardt Jr., now scored in third, radioed the team that there was “some smoke in the cockpit”. The smoke eventually turned into an interior fire that forced Earnhardt Jr. to pit road where he made a quick but safe exit of the No. 88 machine.

Dale Earnhardt Jr., driver No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet team

“I started seeing a lot of smoke around the dash and above the dash. Then the smoke was getting a little worse. I had them boys racing for the lead up in front of me. I felt the fire [from the leg brace] stinging my leg. I thought, ‘Well, I can’t keep going.’ We had a positive wire short in the top of the dash and the casing on the wire melted down onto the leg brace and caught the cloth cover of the leg brace on fire.

“I was disappointed to have to get out. The Hellmann’s Chevrolet was good tonight. We legitimately led laps, and I’m really happy about that. We had a shot at winning it, if the car was going to run good there at the end. I had fun.”


Brandon Jones

Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 9 Menards/Patriot Lighting Chevrolet, raced inside of the top five after starting eighth in Friday night’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Bristol Motor Speedway, and was running the quickest lap times of the day before being involved in a multi-car incident on lap 167 that resulted in damage that proved too severe to continue and ultimately relegated Jones to a 33rd-place finish.

Race Rundown

  • Jones started in the eighth position after Friday afternoon’s qualifying session set the lineup for the evening’s event. Ascending up the leaderboard, Jones needed only five laps to race into the top five and up to the third position on lap 70. The green-and-white checkered waved on lap 85 while Jones continued on in the third position to earn eight stage points to begin the day.
  • Pitting during the stage break for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment to alleviate a tight-handling Menards Racing/Patriot Lighting Chevrolet. Restarting outside of the second row, contact with another driver resulted in a left rear tire rub on the No. 9. The fender cleared itself after 25 laps. Once clear, Jones raced back into the third position and remained through a lap-146 caution period.
  • Pitting during the yellow for four tires, fuel and air and chassis adjustments, Jones restarted from the bottom of row three and fell back to 10th following the drop of the green flag. Entering Turn 1 on the high side of the .533-mile concrete oval, Jones couldn’t avoid the carnage that ensued just ahead of the No. 9. Pitting to repair damage, Jones took the green for the third and final stage before bringing the No. 9 to the garage, ending his day in the 33rd position.

Brandon Jones, driver No. 9 Menards/Patriot Lighting Chevrolet team

“Man, we had such a fast Menards/Patriot Lighting Chevrolet tonight. I think we definitely had a car capable of winning tonight but the cards just didn’t play in our favor. We will move on from this and head to Texas next weekend to hopefully turn things around.”


Sam Mayer

Sam Mayer, driver of the No. 1 Huck’s Market Chevrolet was in great contention to have a solid finish after qualifying 11th in line to start and chasing the top 10 throughout Friday night’s event until a multi-car wreck in the closing laps of Stage Two sent him into the outside wall and unfortunately ended Mayer’s night, relegating him to a 35th-place finish.

Race Rundown

  • The Franklin, Wis. native put the No. 1 Huck’s Market Chevrolet in the 11th position to start the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway Friday night. With a quiet Stage One, Mayer battled for track position while trying to find his line. By lap 33 the young driver had cracked the top 10 and started to excel through the field, landing an eighth-place Stage One finish.
  • Crew chief Mardy Lindley called the driver of the No. 1 Chevrolet down pit road under the stage break for four fresh tires and some Sunoco fuel. Mayer reported he was a little tight center off but otherwise he had pretty good balance going into Stage Two where he restarted in the 12th position.
  • In the opening laps of Stage Two the Franklin, Wis. native cruised up to 10th and once again started to ascend through the field as he figured out the preferred lane around the .533-mile oval. The yellow flag fell with just 24 laps to go in the stage and Mayer reported to his team he was a bit snug and needed to be freed up in the center. Lindley called for the young driver to come down pit road under caution for four more fresh tires, fuel and a slight trackbar adjustment.
  • With three laps to go in Stage Two, Mayer was collected in an unfortunate multi-car wreck that sent him straight into the outside wall of Turn 1 which ended his night under the lights and relegated the playoff driver to a 35th-place finish.

Sam Mayer, driver No. 1 Huck’s Market Chevrolet team

“Tough night here at Bristol and most definitely not the night we were looking for in the first race of the playoffs. We had a really fast No. 1 Huck’s Market Chevrolet that felt great to me all night and I am disappointed that we could not show our full potential here tonight. Happy for my teammate Justin (Allgaier) on the win and we will move on to Texas.” 


Josh Berry

Just when Josh Berry and the No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs team were coming toward the front in the closing laps of Stage Two at Bristol Motor Speedway, the night took a wicked turn. Battling with JRM teammate Sam Mayer, Berry cut a right front tire down at the entry to Turn 1. The resulting crash eliminated Berry from competition and he finished 36th in the opening race of the NASCAR Xfinity Series Playoffs.

Race Rundown

  • Berry laid down a solid lap in qualifying and timed in second, earning the outside of the front row for the start. The top line on the .533-mile concrete oval was not the preferred line, and Berry began to fall back.
  • Over the first five laps, Berry dropped to fifth, still on the high line and unable to get down to the bottom. He finally was able to get down, but fell back to 15th and finished there at the end of the 85-lap Stage One.
  • Under caution at the end of the stage, Berry told crew chief Taylor Moyer that he was loose on entry and tight in both the center and on exit. Moyer called for four tires, fuel and several adjustments on the stage-ending pit stop, and Berry went back out in the same position for Stage Two.
  • Choosing the top lane for the restart, Berry maintained 15th position until lap 150, when he pitted under another caution flag. The Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs crew cracked off a solid pit stop for four more tires, fuel and more adjustments and got their driver back out in 13th.
  • Choosing the top lane again for the restart, Berry began to move forward, advancing to 12th on the first lap of green-flag racing, and taking 11th at lap 159. At that point, Berry was the fastest car on track and assumed 10th position three laps later.
  • He was ninth on lap 166 when he and Mayer made slight contact off Turn 4. The contact was Berry’s right front to Mayer’s left rear, and as the pair headed into Turn 1, Berry’s Chevrolet jinked to the inside and turned up the track, collecting both Mayer and JRM teammate Brandon Jones on the way to the wall.
  • The right front of Berry’s Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet was destroyed, and the car caught fire on its way down to the apron. Berry quickly exited the car and his night was finished with a 36th-place finish.
  • The accident cost Berry and the No. 8 team dearly in the series point standings. Seventh in the order coming into the race, Berry leaves Bristol in 12th, 24 points below the cutline for advancement to the Round of 8.

Josh Berry, driver No. 8 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Boats & ATVs Chevrolet team

“It was a big lick there, a bad situation. I cut a tire there into Turn 1 and got into Sam (Mayer). I don’t know if Sam and I got together or it was contact elsewhere, but it definitely cut the right front. I’ll go back and watch it and see what happened. It’s a tough situation and really disappointing. I had been running the bottom all the way around and when I went in there, the tire was down. Just a really bad situation for us tonight. We’ll regroup and go to Texas next week and get back in this.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • May 25 01:00 PM ET
    NXS Spring Race at CharlotteCharlotte Motor Speedway
  • June 1 04:30 PM ET
    Pacific Office Automation 147Portland International Raceway
  • June 8 08:00 PM ET
    Sonoma 250Sonoma Raceway
  • June 15 03:30 PM ET
    NXS Race at IowaIowa Speedway
  • June 22 03:30 PM ET
    NXS Race at New HampshireNew Hampshire Motor Speedway

XFINITY Series Standings

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Results are not available.