Pollard Wows in NXS Debut at Richmond with Sixth-Place Showing

JR Motorsports | 4/1/2024

Brandon Jones Bubba Pollard Justin Allgaier News Richmond Raceway Sam Mayer Sammy Smith

Bubba Pollard turned heads on Saturday, driving from 37th at the start to sixth at the finish in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut at Richmond Raceway. His performance led the way for JR Motorsports.

Race 6 of 33: ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond Raceway
Track Specs: .75-mile tri-oval / 250 laps
Race Winner: Chandler Smith
Pollard’s finish: 6th
Smith's finish: 9th 
Allgaier's finish: 11th
Mayer's finish: 30th
Jones' finish: 37th

Bubba Pollard

Bubba Pollard made a big splash in his NASCAR Xfinity Series debut, driving the No. 88 Rheem Chevrolet to a sixth-place finish after starting 37th on Saturday at Richmond Raceway. The short-track veteran was on the cusp of the top-five in the closing laps, falling just short of that position at the checkered flag. With guidance from crew chief Andrew Overstreet and spotter TJ Majors, Pollard managed the technical nature of the tight .75-mile tri-oval from the start, driving all the way to 14th at the end of Stage One. In the second stage, the Rheem Chevrolet turned to the tight side and he finished 15th. Over the final segment, Pollard took his final set of sticker tires and was able to stay in the top 20. As the laps wore away, he climbed the standings, entering the top 10 again at lap 206. Over the remaining laps, Pollard rose all the way to sixth at the finish and was closing on the fifth-place machine at the checkered flag.

“Man, I had a great time. Qualifying in the back helped me, taught me to be patient. I would never have had this run if it wasn’t for Andrew (Overstreet) making the late call to get tires. I can’t thank everyone at JR Motorsports enough. I had some trouble on pit road all day, lost some spots, but if we had had some track position, I think we could have been up there running with the leaders. I hope I can do this again. This place is very technical, the most technical track I’ve ever raced. I’m happy with it. I can’t thank JR Jones and Rheem enough for this opportunity, and maybe we can do this again soon.”

Sammy Smith

Sammy Smith started the weekend at Richmond Raceway on a strong note, qualifying 13th for the 250-lap NASCAR Xfinity Series event. In just his second start on the .75-mile short track, the JR Motorsports driver debuted the newly-released Pilot Flying J coffee paint scheme, and spent much of the event working on the handling of his No. 8 Chevrolet, staying in the top 15 for much of the race. As the laps wound down, Smith was forced to make an extra pit stop late, which put him at the rear of the field. Over the remaining distance, Smith was able to advance 10 positions thanks to adjustments from crew chief Adam Wall and finished a solid ninth on the day.

“Richmond was definitely a roller-coaster for us today, especially in the race. Practicing and qualifying in such cold temperatures made it tough for us to get a handle on what the car would do during the race. My No. 8 crew listened to what I needed and got me to a good place in the last 60 laps where I was able to drive back up through the field. We’re making progress each week as a new team and I know it’s going to come together for us soon.”

Justin Allgaier

Justin Allgaier, driver of the No. 7 DeCA / Hellmann’s Chevrolet, rolled the dice on tire strategy during Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Richmond Raceway. Staying out during a lap-172 caution period, Allgaier and crew hoped that a late-race yellow would allow the DeCA / Hellmann’s team to put on their last set of fresh, sticker tires, which would then catapult them up the leaderboard. Unfortunately, that caution never came. Fighting for every position he could, Allgaier held strong before the fresher tires from those behind him ultimately prevailed. In the end, Allgaier was scored with an 11th-place finish. Even though the strategy call didn’t pan out in the end, Allgaier ran strong and up front throughout the 250-lap affair, scoring valuable stage points at the end of both Stage One and Two and leading for 28 laps before securing the top-15 result.

“We decided to take a shot there and save our last set of tires for a late-race caution. It’s unfortunate that that yellow never came, but I’m happy that we took the gamble. If the caution comes out, we would’ve been sitting in the right place at the right time. Jim (Pohlman, crew chief) and everyone on this DeCA / Hellmann’s team gave me a great car today and I can’t thank them enough. Now it’s on to Martinsville where we will hopefully replicate the same success we had there last fall.”

Sam Mayer

Sam Mayer ran strong throughout Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Xfinity Series event at Richmond Raceway, scoring points in both Stage One and Stage Two. Then, while leaving pit road before the start of the third and final stage, Mayer sustained damage to the left-front fender of his 10X Health Chevrolet. As a result of the damage, Mayer was forced to make an unscheduled pit stop under green at lap 162, knocking him off the lead lap. Despite falling off the lead lap, Mayer continued to fight for position before ultimately crossing the finish line for the final time in 30th.

“We had such a fast 10X Health Chevrolet today. Mardy (Lindley, crew chief) gave me a really strong car that let us make our way through the field. I feel like we were in a really good position there going into the final stage, and it’s really just unfortunate that we got that damage and were forced to come to pit road under green. This group is a tough, resilient group and we will be ready to rally back next weekend in Martinsville.”

Brandon Jones

Brandon Jones, driver of the No. 9 Menards / NIBCO Chevrolet, had his strongest qualifying effort of the season Saturday morning at Richmond Raceway and started the 250-lap NASCAR Xfinity Series feature on the outside pole. Jones was strong through the first part of Stage One, running lap times similar to the leaders. Unfortunately, a mechanical failure on lap 43 caused Jones to hit the wall, ultimately ending his day. 

“It’s hard when something like this happens because you can’t really control it and there is nothing to look back and improve on. This No. 9 team put a fast car on the track and I believe we could have been in contention for the win, so I hate we couldn’t get it done. Martinsville is one of my favorite tracks and I have run well there in the past, so our focus now is just making sure we’re ready for next week.”

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XFINITY Series Schedule

  • April 20 04:00 PM ET
    Ag-Pro 300Talladega Superspeedway
  • April 27 01:30 PM ET
    A-GAME 200Dover International Speedway
  • May 11 01:30 PM ET
    NXS Spring Race at DarlingtonDarlington Raceway
  • 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

XFINITY Series Standings

After Dead On Tools 250

Martinsville Speedway | 10/28/2023
Results are not available.