Xfinity Series News (5945)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
“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 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.
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.
“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
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
"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
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.