Xfinity Series News (7593)
NASCAR Xfinity Series News
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) started its first leg of a string of road course races at Watkins Glen International. Always a fan favorite, Watkins Glen offers both the high speeds of super speedways and the close quarters of a short track – all while turning both left AND right.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet, is not necessarily somebody that comes to mind as a road course ringer, but this weekend he was able to prove his ability is much greater than what most people had originally thought. Leicht started the race from the 28th position, but ran consistent throughout the entire race, keeping his car on track and out of harm’s way. In Stage One, Stephen was 27th, followed by a 25th place effort in Stage Two. In the latter part of the 82 lap race, Leicht maintained a focused attitude, methodically passing cars without risking damaging his Camaro. At the conclusion, Stephen came home with a 20th place finish, keeping him 19th in the driver’s points standings.
Garrett Smithley, who drove the No. 0 Trophy Tractor Chevrolet, raced right around Leicht for the majority of the day, but unfortunate circumstances would place him behind where he should have finished. The #NumberNuthin Chevy rolled off the starting grid in 29th, and Garrett conserved his equipment early on, putting him 30th in Stage One. However, Smithley excelled in Stage Two, coming home with a 21st place run, which propelled him into the final 40 laps. Just as it looked as if Garrett would come home with a Top 20 run, a flat left front tire forced him to pit under green. It was then found out that the sway bar arm had been sheared off from being dragged around the 2.45-mile course. Garrett was able to rebound to a 24th place finish at “The Glen”, keeping him 18th in the driver’s points standings.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet, just couldn’t seem to catch a “brake” on Saturday, and was forced to bring his Camaro behind the wall numerous times to fix issues with the braking system. McLeod qualified in the 33rd position, but the brake issues brought him into the garage early, hurting his positions in Stage One and Stage Two. The #15Machine crew was able to get him back out on the track, where he finished 27th. BJ moves back up into the Top 20 in driver’s points, now back in 20th position.
Ross Chastain made his return to JD Motorsports with Gary Keller in the No. 4 Protect Your Melon New York Chevrolet for the first time since Michigan earlier this season. Throughout both practices and qualifying, Chastain looked to have a solid run going, and started Saturday’s race from the 19th position. He was up into the Top 15 early on when he had contact with another driver, sending the driver around in the bus stop. Though the incident was not intentional, the other driver caught back up to Ross on the last lap of Stage One and slammed him off the racetrack and into the tire barriers, ending the No. 4’s day early with significant damage. Ross brought his Chevrolet home with a 33rd place finish, a disappointing end to a solid effort.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to road course racing this weekend on Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This track is known as being the most technical road course on the schedule, and drivers must be on their A-game if they want to have a good finish here. Be sure to tune into NBCSN at 3:00 PM ET to watch the B&L Transport 170. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
Austin Cindric won his first career NASCAR Xfinity Series race this season, winning the Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International, in the No. 22 Team Penske Ford Mustang. Cindric, became the youngest driver in series history to win at a road course at age 20.
"Congratulations Austin, Tim, Roger and Brian Wilson,” said Doug Yates, President and CEO of Roush Yates Engines. “Austin drove an incredible race and displayed his driving experience in those last nine laps. Brian and Austin were well prepared with their race strategy and they executed flawlessly for the win. It’s great to see all three Ford Performance drivers with wins this year as we approach the 2019 Xfinity Series playoffs.”
Cindric in the No. 22 Ford Mustang was in the lead on lap 69, when his crew chief called him to pit road during the sixth caution of the race for fresh tires. After restarting in ninth, on lap 73, Cindric began working his way through the field. After another quick caution on lap 76, Cindric restarted sixth and quickly moved into second place behind the race leader. On lap 81, during an intense battle, Cindric was able to nudge the leader and took the lead.
“AJ is a hell of a race car driver, so I knew it wasn’t going to be easy even if we got there with way newer tires,” Cindric said. “I’m just so blessed and appreciative of this kind of an opportunity at this stage, racing these types of race cars, and I hope this is first of many.”
All four Ford Performance drivers finished in the top 10 at Watkins Glen International, Team Penske teammates Austin Cindric in P1 and Ryan Blaney in P4 while Stewart-Haas Racing teammates Chase Briscoe finished P6 and Cole Custer P7.
In the Monster Energy NASCAR Series Race, Ryan Blaney, from Team Penske, finished P5 in the GoBowling at the Glen. Ford teammates Kevin Harvick finished in P7, Brad Keselowski in P9, and Aric Almirola in P12.
This weekend the MENCS returns to Michigan International Speedway while the Xfinity Series races at Mid-Ohio. Reference the full 2019 schedule on www.roushyates.com.
Team 08 GPS PURE Chevrolet Camaro:
Gray Gaulding and his No. 08 GPS PURE team started from the 15th position for the first of four road course races on the NASCAR Xfinity Series schedule. The first stage started off hectic with three cautions flags. On lap 11 Gaulding had advanced a few spots to the 12th position when the first caution of the day waved. On lap 14 the second caution of the day waved after the 4 sent the 7 car spinning through the bus stop. Gaulding was able to avoid the early chaos and finish the first stage in the 9th position, accumulating two precious stage points.
Gaulding started stage two from the 19th position after a few of the leaders stayed on track after the opening stage break. On lap 34 the fourth caution of the day waved after the 18 car suffered mechanical issues. With only 4 laps remaining in the second stage, Gray Gaulding restarted from the 18th position. At the end of the stage the 08 team came across the line in the 17th position.
Crew Chief Patrick Donahue called for his driver to stay on track, which put the 08 starting the final stage from the 11th position. On lap 57, Donahue called Gaulding to the pits for their last scheduled stop of the day. On lap 69 debris covered the middle of the bus stop, which brought out the sixth caution of the day. The 08 stayed out on track under the caution and restarted the race from the 7th position with only 10 laps remaining. On lap 72 the 98 car made contact with the 11 car entering turn 1, triggering a multi-car accident. Gaulding was able to steer clear of the carnage, but lost valuable track position in the progress. Gaulding was in the thick of the battle for a top ten position on the last restart until the 20 car got turned sideways in front of the entire pack entering the esses. The 20 miraculously was able to keep from going around; however, the loss of momentum shuffled Gaulding back through the pack for the final laps. Gaulding was able to fight his way to finish in the 15th position. The result marked the team's tenth top-15 finish of the season. With only 6 races remaining until the playoffs, Gaulding remains 13th in the NASCAR Xfinity Series point standings and trails Brandon Jones by 102 points after the Glen.
“I thought we had a really good day. I can't thank GPS PURE and all my guys enough for putting together an awesome race car. Patrick and the guys called a great race, but unfortunately that last wreck with Christopher Bell, we just lost a lot of track position trying to miss that wreck. I don't know how he saved it, but he did and I just couldn't recover. I felt like we should have finished maybe tenth or eleventh, but overall I can't say enough about our partners GPS Pure, Panini, World Wide Safety, everyone that supports us. We can't hang our heads low because we had a good race car, we ran up front all day and unfortunately it just didn't work out at the end. Stuff happens, but we'll move on to next week."
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 08 Team:
“I was really impressed with the 08 team again today. They proved they were a top ten team today. Unfortunately, we were just on the wrong side trying to miss the 20 car and we got shuffled back. I'm excited to bring this car to Mid-Ohio next week and duplicate our performance today."
Team 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet Camaro:
Ray Black Jr. started from the 24th position for the 82 lap sprint at the Glen. On lap 11, the 07 was scored in the 32nd position. On lap 14 caution waved for the 7 car in the bus stop. At the end of the first stage, Black moved up to the 26th position.
Black started the second stage from the 26th position. On lap 34 Black had worked his way up to the 22nd position before caution waved for the 18 car. After a four lap shootout to end stage two, Black was in the 21st position. Jason Miller called Black to the pits for four tires and fuel at the conclusion of the second stage.
The 07 team restarted the final stage from the 25th position. On lap 69 caution waved for debris in the bus stop. Ray Black Jr. had worked his way up to the 12th position before the caution. Miller called for Black to pit under caution for their last stop of the day. With 10 laps remaining in the race, Black restarted in the 24th position. On lap 72 there was a multi-car pile up in turn 1, which Black managed to work his way through unscathed. With 7 laps remaining, Black restarted from the 23rd position. Ray Black Jr. was able to keep his no. 07 Isokern Fireplaces & Chimneys Chevrolet in one piece and finished in the 22nd position.
Ray Black Jr:
“We had a great day until the driver made a mistake. Unfortunately, we were unable to rebound, but I'm excited for Mid-Ohio next week!"
Bobby Dotter Thoughts on the 07 Team:
“The 07 team had a solid performance overall today. Ray did a great job keeping the car out of trouble and Jason called a great race. Those last couple cautions got us shuffled back a little at the end, otherwise I think we could have managed a top-15. Excited for Mid-Ohio!
SS Green Light Racing drivers Gray Gaulding and Ray Black Jr. are currently 13th and 17th respectively in the NASCAR Xfinity Series points standings. With Watkins Glen in the books, the teams will shift their attention to another road course with Mid-Ohio next on the agenda. Coverage of the B&L Transport 170 at Mid-Ohio will begin Saturday August 10th at 3:00 PM ET on NBCSN.
SS Green Light Racing PR
Opportunity knocked for Austin Cindric after a mechanical failure knocked Kyle Busch out of Saturday’s Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International.
And after Cindric and road course ace AJ Allmendinger traded knocks on the final two laps of the NASCAR Xfinity Series race, Cindric—on fresher tires—emerged the winner for the first time in his career.
Following post-race inspection, Allmendinger’s No. 10 Kaulig Racing Chevrolet was disqualified for a rear height violation, dropping Allmendinger to last place in the running order. But fans left the track with the memory of an intense battle over the closing laps.
When NASCAR called the sixth caution on Lap 69 of 82, Brian Wilson, crew chief on Cindric’s No. 22 Team Penske Ford, made a courageous call that later proved decisive. Wilson brought Cindric from the lead to pit road for fresh tires, dropping the 20-year-old driver to ninth in the running order for a restart on Lap 73.
An immediate caution for a pile-up in Turn 1 left Cindric in sixth for the next restart on Lap 76. When Christopher Bell was knocked sideways in Turn 2, and Justin Allgaier and Tyler Reddick lost momentum while fighting for the second spot, Cindric charged around the outside into second place and chased Allmendinger.
It took three laps for Cindric to trim Allmendinger’s advantage from 1.714 seconds to .521 seconds, and from that point, the game was on. On Lap 81, Cindric nudged Allmendinger up the track in the carousel and took the lead. Allmendinger returned the favor approaching Turn 7 and regained the top spot as Cindric was forced wide.
But Allmendinger entered Turn 7 too wide and Cindric drove back underneath to lead Lap 81. On the final circuit he pulled away to win by 1.168 seconds and clinched a spot in the Xfinity Series Playoffs.
Cindric and Wilson had discussed the possibility of a late pit stop before the race.
"I've been on the other side of it,” Cindric said. “(Bell) had been pretty good all day, so it was going to be hard to hold him off depending on which lane he had on the restart.”
The only thing that went wrong was Cindric’s celebratory burnout. But it was helpful that pole winner Kyle Busch had critical issues during the race itself.
“I was kind of bummed,” Cindric said. “I broke the clutch out of it trying to do a burnout, so my guys are going to have to do a little extra work and I'll have to buy them an even bigger dinner. We talked before the weekend, and we knew something would have to go wrong with (Kyle Busch), but I'm so blessed to be able to be here.”
After winning the first stage and pitting thereafter, Busch had just passed Ryan Blaney for the lead entering the inner loop when the upper control arm on the left front of his No. 18 Toyota broke. Busch retired from the race and opened the door for Cindric.
“As soon as KB went out, everybody’s eyes opened up, and it was like, ‘OK, here we go,’” Allmendinger said. “When you take tires like that, it’s all about getting lucky. If you get a restart where you get by a chunk of cars, it makes that strategy work—and he did it.
“Congrats to Austin. He went in there and nudged me, and that was fair. I nudged him—you race how you get raced—but that’s what racing’s all about. He deserved it. He was on it the whole race.”
With the Allmendinger disqualification, Bell inherited the runner-up spot, followed by Allgaier, who traded hard knocks with Ross Chastain, eliminating Chastain from the race after hard contact with the barrier in the carousel. Blaney and Reddick ran fourth and fifth.
Tyler Reddick and No. 2 Anderson's Maple Syrup Team Overcome Multiple Obstacles at Watkins Glen International to Claim Top-10 Finish
"We fought it all today at Watkins Glen and somehow came away with a top-10 finish at one of the most challenging tracks for me. We qualified really well, but on that first lap I was trying to give the 10 a little bit of room but didn't give myself enough time to get back over and missed the bus stop. We pitted right away to get the grass off our nose and played a little bit of strategy to get our track position back. That seemed to be the trend of our day, every time we got track position, something would happen and we would get shuffled back again. My crew chief, Randall Burnett, and all my spotters did a great job of keeping me focused and on track for the rest of the race. Coming out of here with a sixth-place finish is a big accomplishment, and I hope we can keep that momentum going next week at Mid-Ohio."
After completing 11 laps in opening NASCAR Xfinity Series practice, Cole Custer rocketed down the hill into Turn 1 at Watkins Glen International.
The left-side tires of Custer’s No. 00 Ford rolled across the curbing at the outside of the corner. Custer steered to the right, but the car suddenly twitched to the left and shot out of control into the Armco barrier near the entrance to Turn 2.
With the primary car destroyed, Custer’s team was forced to roll out a backup, and crew members spent the remainder of first practice, the break between sessions and the bulk of final practice preparing the new car, an operation that included switching the race engine to the backup.
“I got on those curbs coming off of (Turn) 1 and just got loose and overcorrected it into the wall,” said Custer, who will start from the rear of the field in Saturday’s Zippo 200 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). “Those curbs are really slick in general, and starting the weekend out without any rubber on them, they’re even more slick.
“So I just misjudged it—I messed up. It can happen, but it’s really disheartening. I felt like our car was really good, and just to do that, it just really sucks. Our guys worked really hard, and I can’t thank them enough, getting the (backup) car ready. Our car’s pretty good. It’s just a matter of being there at the end of the race.”
Custer got seven laps on the backup car and was 12th fastest in Happy Hour at 119.814 mph. Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series veteran Kyle Busch led both practices and posted his best lap of the day (121.862 mph) in the final session.
16-YEAR-OLD SAM MAYER BRINGS CONFIDENCE TO FIRST TRUCK START
Sam Mayer doesn’t have a license to drive a street car yet, but he’s set to make his debut in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series a month before he takes his driver’s test.
But inexperience won’t be a problem when Mayer, who turned 16 on June 26, takes to the high banks of Bristol Motor Speedway in the No. 21 GMS Racing Chevrolet on Aug. 15. In the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East race, Mayer won from the pole on April 6, leading all 150 laps in the process.
His remarkable record in the series this year includes wins from the pole at Bristol and Iowa Speedway, along with an average starting spot of 3.1 and an average finish of 3.6 through seven races—combining to give Mayer the series lead.
That, along with a successful test at Bristol in a GMS truck—with traction compound applied to the track—has Mayer understandably confident about his prospects in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series.
“I got the opportunity to test the truck earlier this week,” Mayer said on Friday at Watkins Glen. “We had the VHT (traction compound) down, which really helped my learning curve there. We started out going like 75 percent, just getting a feel for it, but, honestly, it felt a lot like a K&N car there when I’m out there by myself.
“But obviously, it’s going to change a lot with 31 other trucks out there, so I’m going to have to play it by ear there and get a feel for it during practice, racing around other trucks. But right now I feel really comfortable. GMS put together a really good truck for me to test in, so I expect even better when we go out and race.”
IT WASN’T SECOND-GUESSING THAT COST CHASE BRISCOE A SLEEPLESS NIGHT
After leading every lap of the first two stages of Thursday night’s NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series Eldora Dirt Derby, Chase Briscoe would have preferred to have remained on the track and taken a chance on fuel mileage, but crew chief Vance Haefele overruled him.
Briscoe gave up the top spot when he came to pit road and never got it back. Instead, Stewart Friesen inherited the lead and held it the rest of the way in winning his first career NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series race, denying Briscoe back-to-back victories in the only national series race on dirt.
But the decision to pit wasn’t what kept Briscoe up that night. He had to commute from Rossburg, Ohio, to Watkins Glen, with an intermediate stop in Statesville, N.C.
“I got here at 5:30 this morning and woke up at 10,” Briscoe said on Friday after posting the 11th fastest lap in NASCAR Xfinity Series final practice. “I was probably the last guy to the track. (The flight) was supposed to go from Eldora to Watkins Glen, and then there was going to be no flight at all, and I was going to drive through the night and get here about 9 this morning. Luckily, they changed that. There were a couple of other guys in my scenario.
“The airport was about an hour’s drive from the race track. I think we landed in Statesville at 2:30 and flew straight to Watkins Glen. Our hotel happened to be over an hour away. So it was definitely a long night and early morning.”
Nevertheless, Briscoe felt fine during his preparation for Saturday’s Zippo 200 (3 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). The race will be his first on the 2.45-mile road course.
“I wasn’t tired,” he said. “Honestly, I definitely want to be higher up on the speed charts, but I was way more competitive than I thought I would be, for never being here …
“Running Eldora last night I think helped, because how you run these road courses, kind of elbows-up, you’ve got to be aggressive and hustle ‘em, and that’s what we did last night. I think it bodes well.”
Jeremy Clements Racing will have the #51 machine primed, painted and weighed and ready for Darlington Raceway Saturday, August 31st; with a livery that is a little something different than years past. JCR will be throwing back to the #51 EXXON paint scheme from the 1990 film Days of Thunder and will be sponsored by long-time partners RepairableVehicles.com.
“I grew up watching Days of Thunder all the time especially headed to Buck Creek Speedway in our cube van that my Grandpa Crawford built, and it would really get me pumped up to race.” Clements said.
“Man, thinking back brings a lot of great memories in my early years racing with my Grandpa. I love this movie so much so that’s where I got the #51 from and have had it ever since.” Clements went on to say. #MyTrackMyRoots
This is the fifth year that Darlington will hold NASCAR Throwback weekend. Jeremy will make his ninth career start at the Lady In Black. His current best finish at Darlington. is 8th back in 2016.
Fans are welcome to join JCR on the Fan Deck and Ride with Jeremy on Saturday, August 31st. Please see Jeremy Clements Racing on Facebook or www.jeremyclements51.com for more details.