JR Motorsports Race Report
|August 25th, 2018|
|Race 23 of 33:||Johnsonville 180 at Road America|
|Track Specs:||4.048-mile road course / 45 laps|
|Weather:||Sunny; 74 degrees|
|Race Winner:||Justin Allgaier|
Strategy and a fast BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet gave Justin Allgaier and the No. 7 JR Motorsports team their fourth victory of the season on Saturday at Road America. The victory gives the 32-year-old Illinois driver a second road-course win in 2018 and the third in his NASCAR Xfinity Series career on a road course.
It also gave Allgaier a boost in terms of the NXS Playoffs, as he is tied for the series lead in victories with four and took the overall point lead from Christopher Bell. Allgaier now leads Bell, who finished 23rd, by five points for the regular-season point championship. Just three races remain before the NXS Playoffs begin.
Allgaier started the race 11th and got the feel for his BRANDT Professional Agriculture Chevrolet, which including diagnosing a front-balance problem. He ended the 10-lap run in ninth place, and crew chief Jason Burdett called Allgaier to pit road on lap 11 to change four tires and add Sunoco fuel for Stage Two. Restarting 13th, Allgaier blasted all the way to eighth on the first lap of the 4.048-mile course before another caution waved. During the yellow flag, Allgaier told Burdett that the front handling issue likely centered on the left-front tire and had disappeared when the new set of Goodyear tires went on.
With just three laps to go in Stage Two, Allgaier sat seventh and by the time it ended he was in the top five, getting around Justin Marks in Turn 14. Burdett pulled the first strategy call out at that point, keeping Allgaier on the track while the majority of the field came to pit road. Allgaier assumed the lead for the restart, but Brendan Gaughan got past onto Turn 1. Allgaier radioed that he needed side bite late in the corner and forward drive, and Burdett brought him down pit road under green for four more tires and a full load of fuel later, Allgaier rejoined the race all the way back in 29th place.
A caution waved almost immediately following, and Allgaier again stayed out while the entire lead pack hit pit road again for their final sets of tires and fuel. With 14 laps remaining, Allgaier took the green flag from second spot with Ryan Sieg the leader. Despite a shot from rival James Davison off Turn 1, Allgaier held off the charge and caught Sieg at the exit of Turn 5. Immediately, Allgaier stretched his lead to nearly a second as Davison battled with Sieg. It stayed that way for the next five laps, as Davison whittled down Allgaier’s advantage to just more than half a second. Allgaier reported that he was losing rear lateral grip during that span, but a yellow flag waved yet again for a car off the track in Turn 12. Burdett advised Allgaier to save as much fuel as possible.
That set up a seven-lap shootout with Davison, the British sports-car racer, on the outside of the front row for the restart. Davison got the lead off Turn 3 and tried to get away, but Allgaier stuck close. Coming into Turn 8, Davison’s car twitched and shot up the track, leaving a lane for Allgaier to slip through and back to the lead. By the time Allgaier got back to start/finish, he had a five-length lead. The next time by he was 1.344 seconds ahead and in a groove.
With three laps remaining, Marks and Davison tangled while battling for second and spun off-course, losing a precious five seconds to Allgaier, and two laps later Allgaier crossed the finish line for the victory. It was the ninth triumph for Allgaier in the NASCAR Xfinity Series and seventh with longtime partner BRANDT Professional Agriculture paint on his car. As well, it was JR Motorsports’ fourth overall victory on a road course, second of the season and first at Road America. Allgaier’s victory puts the JRM victory total to 42 as well and continued a personal streak of 11 straight races with at least a top-10 finish.
Trailing Allgaier to the finish were Matt Tifft, Daniel Hemric, Cole Custer and JRM teammate Elliott Sadler.
Justin Allgaier, driver No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture team
“I spun the tires really bad on that last restart when I got from behind, and I thought that I had just given it away. When he (Davison) made the mistake down in Turn 8, I knew I just had to be smooth and fast. This team is awesome. I told them after the race that it is an honor driving this race car. I can’t say thank you enough to everyone on this team and back at JR Motorsports and all of our other partners. Rick and Sierra (Brandt) weren’t here this weekend because Sierra started college this week. This team is incredible. They never give up, and the fans here this weekend were incredible. I drove around the track and there wasn’t an ounce of this track that wasn’t covered by awesome race fans. I never thought we could have had a dream season like this one. Can you believe two road-course victories? All in all, it was a great day, and ultimately, the guys on the box and making the pit stops won this race.”
No. 7 BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro
|Laps Completed (Led)||45 of 45 (14)|
|Points (Bonus)||48 (5)|
|Point Standings (from leader)||1st (+5)|