This past Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) took to the high banks of Talladega Superspeedway in Talladega, Alabama for the running of the Money Lion 300. This was the series’ second visit to a super speedway in the 2019 season, following the season opener at Daytona.
Longtime JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) driver Landon Cassill made a return to the team driving the No. 4 Flex Seal / Contec Chevrolet Camaro, filling in for Ross Chastain. The Cedar Rapids, IA driver made it his goal to have a clean race and return the car in one piece, so he rode around the 20th position for most of the race.
As the big wrecks continued to take out numbers of cars, Cassill found his way up near the Top 10 late in the going. Team Owner Johnny Davis gave him the signal that it was ‘go time’, and with that, the 4 shot up to the front. With the last restart being a Green White Checkered finish, Landon methodically sliced his way through the pack in the two-lap sprint, coming home with a clean car and a 9th place finish – his first in the series since 2015.
Coming in right behind Cassill was Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Flex Tape Chevy. He, like Landon, rode around near the middle of the pack for most of the afternoon to avoid all of the crashes that come with super speedway racing. However, he found himself running right behind Cassill on the last restart, and followed him through the pack to a 12th place finish. This marked Smithley’s best finish of the season, and he moved up two spots in points up to 16th. Not a bad way to celebrate your 27th birthday!
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Camaro, exercised a similar strategy as the two drivers previously mentioned, but rode off of the pack along with the three cars that he is a team owner for. He knew that he needed to have a clean weekend to get to Daytona in July with no issues, so the team was content with him saving his equipment back near the rear of the pack. As the smoke cleared from the carnage, McLeod came home with a 22nd place finish, further securing his 22nd position in points – now just a lone point out of 21st.
Bad luck continued to strike the No. 01 Flex Glue team of Stephen Leicht, who started the day out by out qualifying all of his JDM teammates in 20th. He ran right with Cassill and Smithley for the majority of the event, but “The Big One” late in the race on the backstretch crumpled his hopes of coming away with a Top 15 finish. Thankfully, the crew was able to repair his car by putting loads of Flex Tape on the left front fender, allowing him to stay in the draft for the rest of the race. Stephen came home with a 24th place finish, but actually was able to move up a spot in the standings, now up to 25th.
Ross Chastain, who normally pilots the No. 4 Chevy, ran up front for the majority of the race, capturing some valuable Stage Points and laps led. However, as he was avoiding the crash that caught Stephen up, he ran over a piece of debris that broke an internal component of his racecar, forcing him to retire from the race early. He came away with a 30th place finish, but still sits in 13th in the season standings, just 36 points outside of the Playoffs. He returns to the JDM No. 4 Protect Your Melon Camaro this weekend in Dover looking to get back into the swing of things.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Dover International Speedway in Dover, Delaware this Saturday afternoon for the running of the Allied Steel Buildings 200. The track is often referred to as “The Monster Mile”, and with blindingly fast speeds and high banks, it is a driver’s paradise. Be sure to tune into FS1 at 1:30 PM ET to see all of the JD Motorsports drivers take on the concrete and try to tame Miles the Monster. For all things JDM, follow along with us on our social media accounts @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM