Smithley Earns Top 20 in Mid-Ohio, Aschenbach & Leight Taken Out Late in the Race

Smithley Earns Top 20 in Mid-Ohio, Aschenbach & Leight Taken Out Late in the Race NK Photography Photo

On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series raced at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course for the B&L Transport 170. JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) drivers Lawson Aschenbach, Garrett Smithley, Stephen Leicht, and BJ McLeod looked to have some solid runs in the second road course race of the season, coming off a rough weekend at Watkins Glen International.

Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Chevrolet, had a very busy schedule this weekend as he raced double duty in both NXS and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series competition at two completely different tracks in two states. It would be a challenge, but the 28-year old from Ligonier, PA was ready for it. Garrett started the Mid-Ohio 75 lapper from the 28th position, and kept his car clean and on the track for the entire race. Stage 1 showed Smithley in 15th, with a one spot improvement for Stage 2 in 14th. Though he lost a few spots in Stage 3, Garrett was able to come home with a respectable 20th place finish, keeping him 18th in the drivers’ points standings heading into Bristol.

BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet, looked to improve on his road course racing skills as this would be just his second ever start at Mid-Ohio. McLeod would start the race from the 33rd position, and made it his goal to stay on track and keep the car clean so he could learn as much as possible. He ended Stage 1 in 28th, and made some spots up in Stage 2, where he finished 25th. The Florida native would finish the race in 26th position, two laps down, marking it his best career finish at the racetrack. McLeod still sits 20th in the drivers’ points standings.

Lawson Aschenbach, driver of the No. 4 GoPro Motorplex Chevrolet, was by far the most experienced road course racer JDM had this past weekend. Though it was just his third NXS start, years of experience racing open wheel and sports cars provided him with hundreds of laps on the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. The Maryland driver qualified in the 19th position, and made some big advances during the race under green flag conditions. Strategy put Lawson in 8th at the end of Stage 1, where he gained some stage points, and 16th in Stage 2, where he would pit before the end of the stage. However, on a restart, Aschenbach was handed a drive through penalty, followed up by a speeding penalty, which put him back in the pack. Unfortunately, contact on track after a late race restart put Lawson out of the race, where he finished 28th.

Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet, had bad luck strike once again on Saturday. Leicht rolled off from the 24th position, and ran solidly within the Top 20 for the start of the afternoon. Stage 1 showed Stephen in 13th, and he was running right around the same mark late in Stage 2 where he unfortunately got caught up in a big wreck coming out of the “keyhole” turn. His Camaro was left in nothing but a mangled mess of fiber glass and sheet metal, and he was forced to retire early. Leicht comes home with a 32nd place finish, but he remains 19th in the drivers’ points standings heading into Bristol.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway on Friday, August 16th for the running of the Food City 300. Bristol, which is known affectionately as the Last Great Coliseum, always puts on a great show for the fans, and a challenging one for the drivers. Be sure to tune into the race broadcast live on NBCSN and PRN radio at 7:30 PM ET to see JD Motorsports’ drivers take on the World’s Fastest Half Mile. For an all-access behind the scenes look at the race weekend, follow our social media accounts @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM


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