Xfinity Series News

Xfinity Series News (5945)

NASCAR Xfinity Series News

Kaulig Racing driver Blake Koch finished 25th at Iowa Speedway on Saturday night after getting caught a lap down when an an untimely caution was displayed on Lap 218, just as the team had completed their final green-flag pit stop of the race. Koch was running in the top 10 before the series of pit stops, but was not able to gain ground once the race returned to green with 21 laps to go.

“We made great adjustments all weekend and had a really good car by the last stage of the race, but just had bad luck with the caution coming out after we pitted," said Koch. "I can't thank my No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team enough for all of their hard work this weekend. Our finish definitely is not a reflection of how good the car was or the work we put in." 
Koch qualified 13th on Saturday afternoon for Saturday night's race under the lights at Iowa Speedway. After fighting the handling of the car during Friday's two practice sessions, the team changed the setup overnight prior to qualifying. Koch reported the changes were good as he made it through to the second round of qualifying. 
 
After firing off from the 13th position, Koch had raced his way up to 11th by the time the first caution was displayed on Lap 24. At that time, he reported to the team that he needed help getting into the corners. The team did not pit under the caution, leaving Koch 11th for the restart on Lap 30. 
 
When the stage ended on Lap 60, Koch took the yellow/checkered flag from the 12th position. Crew chief Chris Rice brought Koch down pit road under the caution on Lap 64 for fresh tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. The team gained a spot on pit road, putting Koch 11th for the restart on Lap 69.
 
The third caution of the race was displayed on Lap 78. Koch reported that he may have run over some debris, but he continued to soldier on, restarting 15th on Lap 86. As the run went on, Koch reported that the car was really loose. A caution with eight laps remaining in Stage 2 gave the team a chance to make adjustments. Koch pitted from the 19th position on Lap 114 for fresh tires, fuel, track bar, wedge and spring rubber adjustments. He restarted 25th with two laps remaining in stage two before eventually ending the stage 20th. 
 
Koch restarted 14th on Lap 129 and had raced his way up to 11th by the next caution on Lap 144. After the restart, the caution flew again on Lap 161. He restarted 12th on Lap 169 but continued to gain ground, breaking into the top 10 on Lap 189. With 50 laps to go, Koch made the pass for eighth and ran there until it was time for a green-flag pit stop on Lap 116. After a clean four-tire stop, Koch returned to the track just as the caution was displayed. Because of where Koch was in the pit cycle, he was trapped a lap down and in the 26th position for the restart with 21 laps to go.
 
The caution was again displayed with 17 laps remaining as Koch fought his way back through the field. Unfortunately, not enough time was left to gain much ground. Koch crossed the finish line 25th at the end of the 250-lap American Ethanol 250 presented by Enogen at Iowa Speedway. 

Koch and the No. 11 LeafFilter Gutter Protection team leave Iowa Speedway 12th in the NXS championship standings. The team returns to racing action Friday, June 30th at Daytona International Speedway. 
 
Kaulig Racing PR
Dakoda's Armstrong's family grows corn on their farm in New Castle, Indiana and as a result the cornfields of Iowa must feel like home for the 25-year-old racer.  For the second consecutive race at Iowa Speedway, Armstrong posted his career best NASCAR XFINITY Series finish with a fifth place finish in the running of the American Ethanol E15 250 at the Newton, Iowa track.
 
"We had a really fast No. 28 WinField United Toyota all night," said Armstrong.  "We qualified seventh but had a flat left rear sitting on the starting grid and had to start at the rear, so we were playing the strategy game right from the beginning. The car was a top-10 car all night but we just couldn't get the track position. We got it there at the end but we didn't have new tires. We had like 20-lap scuffs, but if we'd have had new tires I thought we had a good enough car to finish second there.  Still a great job for the guys to recover from all that and get a good top-five - a good points day for us."
 
Dakoda would have a strong qualifying effort and be in the seventh position on the starting grid.  However, disaster struck in pre-race ceremonies as a flat left rear tire was discovered as the result of running over a transponder pin. 
 
The bad luck would force the changing of the tire and the loss of starting position - relegating the No. 28 WinField United Toyota to start from the rear of the field.  Armstrong would show the speed in his car right from the drop of the green flag and worked his way inside the top-20 by the end of the first stage.
 
A trip down pit road in between the first two stages, would once again present a challenge as a fueling issue resulted in no fuel getting into the No. 28 WinField United Toyota.  A caution early in the second stage allowed Dakoda to make a return trip down pit road and put him on a different pit strategy than the rest of the field.  Once again back to the rear of the field, the No. 28 WinField United Toyota would flex its muscle and charge through the field. With varying pit strategies at the end of the second stage, Armstrong would charge up to 10th as the second stage concluded.
 
The second half of the 250-lap event would find the pit strategy come into play again which had the No. 28 WinField United at the back of the field for the third time of the evening.  But as twice before, Dakoda would show how strong of a car he had and work his way through the field.   With a timely caution late in the race shuffling the field, Dakoda would find himself sitting in the fourth position with only 20 laps remaining.  Armstrong would hang tough on the old scuff tires that he had left and come home with his second straight top-five finish at Iowa Speedway.
 
"Thanks to everyone at JGL Racing for bringing us a fast race car," added Dakoda.  "Everyone did an awesome job overcoming the many challenges we had tonight starting with the flat tire on the starting grid.  It was a good points day and a good momentum boost that we really needed."
 
The fifth-place finish moved Armstrong up to the 11th spot in the NASCAR XFINITY Series overall driver standings - 28 points behind 10th place.
 
Armstrong and his JGL Racing team will next head to Daytona International Speedway for the running of the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250.  The 15th race of the NASCAR XFINITY Series season will be Friday June 30th and can be seen LIVE on NBCSN at 7:30 pm ET.  It can also be heard on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SiriusXM Channel 90.

ISM PR

Using both of Friday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) practice sessions to try prepare for Saturday night’s race at Iowa Speedway, Spencer Gallagher and the No. 23 Allegiant team felt comfortable with the progress they showed throughout the day. He would go on to qualify 19th for the American Ethanol E15 250, still confident with his long run race setup.

 

With the sun just beginning to set as the 250-lap began, Gallagher settled into the 18th position. He reported early on that he was battling “loose in, tight middle, loose off” as the run ensued in his Allegiant Camaro. However, as stage one was coming to a close, Gallagher had a right front tire go flat. Unable to hold on until the stage break, Gallagher was forced to pit under green for four tires, fuel and a track bar adjustment. He returned to the track in the 36th position, two laps down.

 

Before going green on stage two, Gallagher took the wave around to get one of his laps back. Remaining patient, Gallagher worked his way into the free pass position, and was the beneficiary when the caution came out on lap 114. Crew chief Joey Cohen called the No. 23 down pit road for four tires, fuel and both a track bar and air pressure adjustment. Gallagher restarted 29th, back on the lead lap, and gained three spots before stage two ended just two laps later.

 

As pit strategy ensued, Gallagher was able to restart 18th for the start of the final stage. Methodically working his way through the field, the NXS rookie found himself closing in on the top-10 when he was collected in an accident by the No. 16 on lap 163. Sustaining major rear-end damage, the Allegiant team went to work trying to repair the No. 23 Chevy Camaro. Still able to continue, but not up to pace with the field, Gallagher toughed it out for the remaining laps to finish the race on track in the 30th position, five laps down.  

 

Quote

“We had a great Allegiant Chevrolet tonight and had made our way back to be in contention for our best short track finish of the season. Obviously that’s not how our night ended. I really hate it for all the guys at GMS Racing though. They put together a fast Chevy and the finish they deserved got taken away from them. Hopefully Daytona will fare better, it has in the past.”

 

GMS Racing PR

Chastain Fast Fourth at Iowa

25 Jun 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson

Ross Chastain posted the best finish of his Xfinity Series career Saturday night, charging late in the race to finish fourth in the American Ethanol E15 250 at Iowa Speedway.

Racing on one of his favorite tracks, Chastain started sixth on the night’s final restart and played traffic perfectly to move up in the order and roll home fourth in the Georgia Watermelon Association No. 4 Chevrolet.

“My guys kept swinging at it,” Chastain said. “It’s a testimony to the 4 car and what we can do and what the short tracks can do for us. This is good momentum going into the summer months.

“Watermelons in the top five feels good, and we’re going home to celebrate.”

Team owner Johnny Davis said Chastain drove like a winner over the closing laps.

“We all knew the last restarts were going to be crazy,” Davis said. “Ross could have tried to overdrive the car and crashed out, but he picked his spots and made up positions. It was a great night for Ross and the whole 4 crew.”

JDM PR

Smithley Strong 10th at Iowa

25 Jun 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson

Garrett Smithley scored one of the best runs of his NASCAR career Saturday night at Iowa Speedway, finishing 10th in the American Ethanol E15 250 Xfinity Series race.

Smithley ran with the lead pack much of the night and was in eighth place, behind JD Motorsports with Gary Keller teammate Ross Chastain, for the final restart.

The finish was Smithley’s second best of the season. He finished eighth in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway.

“What a great night,” Smithley said. “It was quite a thrill to run up front with all those guys, particularly near the end of the race when everybody was scrambling around trying to find an open space. I’m very proud of the guys on the ‘Number Nothin’’ team. They did a great job all night.”

Smithley moved to 21st in Xfinity driver points with the fine finish.

JDM PR

Rhodes Parks with Engine Trouble

25 Jun 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson

Engine problems relegated Harrison Rhodes to a 36th-place finish in Saturday night’s American Ethanol E15 250 Xfinity Series race at Iowa Speedway.

Rhodes parked his JD Motorsports with Gary Keller Chevrolet after 118 of the race’s 250 laps.

“A tough night for us,” Rhodes said. “Had to end the night with engine problems. We’ll bounce back at Daytona next week.”

The series moves on to Daytona International Speedway for a Friday night race. Rhodes finished a season-high 10th in the 2017 opener at Daytona.

Rhodes is 24th in Xfinity driver points 14 races into the season.

JDM PR

Strong Start, Tough Ending for Majeski in NASCAR Debut

25 Jun 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson

Ty Majeski got off to a fast start in his NASCAR debut, driving his iRacing Ford Mustang inside the top five from the 10th position in just the first lap of Saturday night’s XFINITY Series Race at Iowa Speedway.  However, a tire issue forced the him to lose track position midway through Stage 1 and Majeski eventually got caught up in an accident when the No. 18 car spun out just in front of him midway throught the race.

The team worked feverishly to repair the damage, with Majeski even battling back to get back on the lead lap with the free pass, but the damage would prove too extensive, leading to a blown tire that sent the No. 60 Ford into the wall on lap 144 and ending the promising debut.

“I hate the fact that we were not able to finish the race,” said Majeski. “But we learned a lot and I’m excited to get back here in July. We had a fast car early and was able to really take off, but the car’s handling went away towards the end of the run and I just could not get it to turn.

“We would have been fine, but we got caught up in that accident and were never able to recover,” added Majeski. “The team did a great job and we’ll take what we learned and build on that when we come back.”

Majeski advanced all the way to the third and final round of knockout qualifying and started an impressive 10th. Once the green flag dropped he wasted little time showcasing his talent, moving all the way to fifth position on the race’s first lap. He would run inside the top five for the next 20 laps, before settling into sixth position. He continued run inside the top 10 for 20 laps, before the cars handling disappeared with what appeared to be a chording tire.

With the handling fading, Majeski dropped back to 17th positon by the end of Stage 1. He moved back inside the top 15 by lap 95, but was unable to avoid a spinning No. 18 car coming out of turn four on lap 120. The team made repairs to the car, stopping several times under caution; eventually going a lap down.

When the race returned to green, Majeski was able to move into the ‘Free Pass’ position, after a quick caution. However, the damage to the front end of Majeski’s Ford Mustang would prove to too severe, eventually leading to a blown tire that sent the car into the outside wall on lap 144. The car was too damaged to continue and the team had to take it behind the wall; forced to settle for a 34th-place finish.

Majeski is set to make his next start at Iowa Speedway on July 29. The start will mark the 600th start for Roush Fenway’s iconic No. 60 Ford.

RFR PR

Ryan Reed was making his move on the top-five late in the race when a flat left-front tire sent him into the outside wall and down pit road for repairs.  Reed had previously rebounded from earlier contact thanks to a fast No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford, but the flat tire cost him the track position he had earned.  Reed was able to stay on the lead lap and cross the finish line 19th.

“Tough night, had a really fast Lilly Diabetes Ford Mustang,” said Reed.  “Didn’t have the qualifying speed, but as soon as we got into the race I drove up into the top 10 and even the top five at some points during the race.  We definitely had a sixth or seventh-place car, but on a good run we were top five.  We got put into the fence late in the race and then just had some bad luck.  After getting into the fence we blew a tire and that was pretty much the end of our night.  Tough night, but we know we’ve got speed for when we come back here next month.”

Reed’s No. 16 Lilly Diabetes Ford lacked speed in qualifying, but rebounded when the green flag dropped.  Reed started the race 17th and despite reporting his Ford was “tight center” was able to work his way through the field to close out stage one in ninth.  Over the stage break Reed pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment.

Reed started stage two ninth and just 10 laps in cracked the top five.  Reed solidly was able to keep his No. 16 Ford in the top 10 over the course of stage two.  In stage three, Reed’s luck took a turn for the worse.  He was forced into the outside wall twice, which caused the team to change tires and fix sheet metal multiple times.

As the amount of fresh tires dwindled in the No. 16 pit box, crew chief Phil Gould had to gamble with some pit strategy and just when their risk was paying off, the No. 16 was sent spinning.  Reed was running ninth when he was hit and his Ford went for a spin on the track.

Reed pitted and took the next restart 13th, and despite a damaged Ford worked his way up to sixth when the left-front tire went flat and sent Reed into the wall.  Despite the damage, Reed was able to stay on the lead lap and take the final restart with 10 to go from the 19th position.  Reed was the last car on the lead lap and finished 19th

RFR PR

Ben Kennedy Shows Speed in the No. 2 Rheem Chevy in Iowa
"We had a great race tonight. Our No. 2 Rheem Chevy was really fast, especially on the long run. My team did a great job getting it dialed in. We started out pretty free, but we made good changes and progressively got better throughout the night. It's unfortunate that the finish doesn't reflect how our strong our race actually was, but that's what happens in racing. I'm excited to hop back in the No. 2 car with Rheem next week and come back to Iowa next month."

- Ben Kennedy

Scott Lagasse Jr. Runs Into Bad Luck in the No. 3 Screen Your Machine/American Cancer Society Chevrolet
"I was ready to finally get to hop into my No. 3 Screen Your Machine/American Cancer Society Chevy this weekend after waiting all season. We had a fast car for the first segment and ran inside the top 10 for the entire stage.  We lost our balance a bit in Stage 2, but it was finally coming back to us in the last stage until a wheel vibration sent us to the garage and nearly ended our night. We got back out there but couldn't do much from 14 laps down. I'm proud of the Screen Your Machine/American Cancer Society team's fight and can't wait to be back with them in August."
 
- Scott Lagasse Jr.

Daniel Hemric Spends Most of Race at Iowa Speedway in
Top-Five
"Some days just aren't your day at the track. We had a great No. 21 Blue Gate Bank Chevrolet Camaro and spent most of our race up in the top-five once the sun went down. The changing track conditions played in our favor for much of the race. That late-race caution unfortunately got us trapped one lap down like the rest of our teammates. We fought so hard to get that lap back. The race just never fell our way again after that." 
 

- Daniel Hemric

Late-Race Caution Traps Brandon Jones in a 23rd-Place Finish
"This finish does not reflect how our No. 33 ATLAS / Menards Chevy was running tonight. We had a great long-run car but needed more grip for drive into the corners to race up front with the leaders. It's just terrible luck for us that there was a late-race caution right after we made our final pit stop of the night. We got trapped a lap down with our teammates and just ran out of time."
 
- Brandon Jones

Brendan Gaughan Pilots the American Ethanol / Kum and Go Chevrolet to First Stage Win at Iowa Speedway 
"It was great to represent American Ethanol and Kum and Go this weekend at Iowa Speedway. We earned a playoff point with the stage win, which is great. Excellent strategy and pit calls by crew chief Shane Wilson set the American Ethanol E15 Chevrolet up to be a top-five car, or a top-10 car at worst. The untimely caution cost us, I almost made it back to the start finish before it flew. I missed it by less than two car lengths. We will move on to plate racing at Daytona next weekend."
 
- Brendan Gaughan

RCR PR

American Ethanol E15 250 Results from Iowa

25 Jun 2017 Written by Steven B. Wilson

Byron Scores First Career NXS Victory at Iowa

24 Jun 2017 Written by Caleb Whisler

After coming up short at Michigan International Speedway last weekend, William Byron was able to score the victory in the American Ethanol E15 250 from Iowa Speedway.

 

“It feels awesome. Thank you Mr. H (Hendrick) for giving me this opportunity. Everything has come full circle for me. I think we had a first or second place car. Really proud of these guys,” said Byron to Fox Sports 1 in victory lane.

 

This is Byron’s first career victory. Byron becomes the second driver to score their first victory at Iowa Speedway. The win by Byron gives JR Motorsports five consecutive season with multiple wins. Byron scored his eighth top-10 finish of 2017.

 

Byron was able to grab score the victory by playing the game correctly on pit road. As the field was undergoing green flag pit stops in the final stages of the race, the caution flag flew leaving many of the top-contenders one lap down. Byron and his team had yet to make a pit stop. Because Dylan Lupton stayed out on old tires, he trapped the dominant cars one lap down. With the restart on lap 230, Byron was able to grab the lead and set course for his first career victory.

 

After holding off Tyler Reddick in the closing laps, Ryan Siege was able to score a second place finish at Iowa for his best career finish.

 

“It was crazy. I just can’t thank everybody enough. It’s amazing. It was crazy when I was driving around, I cant believe we are second. It’s really awesome. It was a lot of fun racing with tyler there, racing for the win. I just can’t thank everybody enough,” said Sieg post race to Fox Sports 1.

 

Although he scored his career best finish, Reddick was disappointed in a third place finish.

 

“Well, we had a car that could really roll the center good, but couldn’t get back to the throttle. Unfortunately, that is where I was getting ate up most of the night. It was really cool to be able to race here at Iowa under the lights. I just feel like we should’ve came away with the victory there. I just couldn’t get anything going on the bottom. Feel like we gave one away here. It’s going to be a tough one to swallow,” said Reddick post-race.

 

Ross Chastain, Dakoda Armstrong,Michael Annett, Jeremy Clements, Elliott Sadler, Justin Allgaier, and Garrett Smithley rounded out the top-10.

 

There were 11 lead changes among six drivers. Christopher Bell led the most laps at 152. The race was slowed nine times for 55 laps.

 

Next up for the NASCAR Xfinity Series is the final restrictor plate event of the season, the Coca-Cola Firecracker 250 from Daytona International Speedway. NBCSN and Motor Racing Network will have the call on Friday, June 30th at 7:30 p.m. EDT.