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XFINITY

Tyler Reddick gambles on fuel to win at Las Vegas Motor Speedway

LAS VEGAS – Tyler Reddick and his Richard Childress Racing Team gambled and hit the jackpot at Las Vegas Motor Speedway Saturday evening – taking a chance on fuel mileage; racing just hard enough and simultaneously saving just enough fuel to hold off Christopher Bell by .738-seconds in the NASCAR Xfinity Series Rhino Pro Truck Outfitters 300.

Reddick, who hoisted his fifth trophy, also officially earned the regular season championship based on points, on lap 71 of the 200-lap race. He was running fifth place at the time.

“Christopher Bell had a really fast race car today, but we were just able to come in and get fuel and tires and run really fast laps to keep us in front of him,’’ said Reddick, whose 30 laps led to close out the win were the sum of his laps out front.

“Hat’s off to [crew chief] Randall [Burnett] and all the guys, we’ve had a really fast car in the past, unfortunately today we didn’t have it but we got them with strategy.’’

Brandon Jones was third, polesitter Cole Custer was fourth and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top five. Veteran Elliott Sadler, 44, a four-time Xfinity Series championship runner-up and 13-race winner, finished 10th in his last NASCAR national series race.

It was a strong statement for Reddick, 23, who earned his fifth victory to close out the regular season and now begins the Playoff run on a high note – the regular season champion and the most recent winner heading into the title run. The Californian has a series-best 20 top-five and 22 top-10 finishes in 26 races and is the defending Xfinity Series champion.

A six-race winner this season, Bell led a race-high 154 laps on the night and was understandably disappointed in the outcome after an especially strong showing Saturday. He pit for tires and fuel with 30 laps remaining and returned to the track to try to make up Reddick’s nearly 20-second advantage at the time. He slowly gained but ultimately came up short.

Although Bell’s impressive effort on the night didn’t earn him the race trophy, he does go into the Playoffs with the points lead. He is the top-ranked driver with 2,055 points as they are reset. Custer and Reddick are tied for second as the points re-set, 11 points behind Bell.

The rest of the Xfinity Series Playoff qualifiers in their re-seeded order include Austin Cindric, rookie Chase Briscoe, veterans Justin Allgaier and Michael Annett, rookie Noah Gragson, Brandon Jones, Justin Haley, Ryan Sieg and rookie John Hunter Nemechek. The seven-race Championship Playoffs begin next week at Richmond Raceway.

Sieg failed post-race technical inspection, but fortunately for him, it didn’t cost him a Playoff berth.

Custer, who bested Bell for the pole position Saturday afternoon, earned his fourth consecutive top-10 at the track and although disappointed not to win, seemed optimistic about his Playoff potential.

“We were just tight,’’ Custer said of his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford. “We tried to make adjustments to fix it. Just a tough weekend. ‘’

But, he added. “We had a great regular season and looking forward to the Playoffs. I’m pumped for it. I think all the tracks in the playoffs we’ll be strong and everybody should look out for us.’’

Reddick’s crew chief Randall Burnett conceded it was a risky move to get the victory, but said he was feeling the Vegas vibe and that a strategic gamble was their only hope in besting the faster Bell.

“We felt like we weren’t going to be able to get up there and compete with the 20 (Bell) he was the class of the field all day,’’ Burnett said. “We saw an opportunity there. We knew we would be really close. None of the other guys came down (pit road). We really didn’t have anything to lose at this point.

“We got back out there, he [Reddick] did a great job managing and holding pace. We just managed our pace based on how fast the 20 was catching us. We had to pick it back up at the end.

“It just worked out. “The 

Categories
XFINITY

NASCAR Xfinity Series Regular Season Comes to Close in Las Vegas

It’s Vegas, baby! And what happens in Vegas stays in Vegas … unless it’s the last NASCAR Xfinity Series race of the regular season. Then, everyone will know exactly what happened.

We find ourselves at the culmination of the Xfinity Series’ regular season. So far, we haven’t seen any betting odds at sportsbooks online, but we have had a look at the entry list and we know a thing or two about this track. So, let’s take a gander.

NASCAR Xfinity Top-Five

Tyler Reddick leads the pack of Xfinity drivers with 1078 points. Christopher Bell is riding the second-place slot 2i5h 1028 points and in a couple of ways is having a better season than Reddick, given he has two more wins than the No. 1 driver. Cole Custer sits in third and he has a chance to finish the season with an even higher seed if he keeps his momentum through this weekend. Cole finished seventh in Indianapolis, adding another 39 points to his tally.

Justin Allgaier hasn’t taken a checkered flag yet this season, but he has a whole handful of top finishes. His second-place finish at the Lilly Diabetes 250 attests to that. His 10 top-fives are good enough for 4th place. Rounding out the top-five, Austin Cindric has 877 points but had a bit of trouble over at the Brickyard with a DNF.

Can No.7 Keep Momentum?

Justin Allgaier should be on our list of top fantasy drivers for the final race of the regular season. His consistency for finishing in the top 10 has been astounding. Last weekend, he qualified at No. 8, which made nine straight top-ten starts. Look for him to qualify well in Las Vegas as well and bring that number to 10 consecutive top-tens.

The No. 7 car immediately started moving up the board after the start. Allgaier gained a couple of positions and finished sixth during the first stage and even took the second-stage win and another playoff point by holding off Kyle Busch. That said, he couldn’t hold the Buschwacker off forever. Kyle Busch was gifted the lead after a crash with just eight laps to go. He also got a push from Allgaier’s teammate. So, the win ‘wasn’t in the cards’ for Justin Allgaier. He was hoping to get back to back wins at the Brickyard but instead had to settle for his fourth second-place finish this season.

Kyle Busch admitted that he got a lot of help from the drivers behind him and that if the race would have gone on for just two more laps, the No. 7 car would have caught him. Instead, he took his 96th victory lap in the Xfinity Series.

Back to the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Kyle Busch won here back in March, but he’s not on the entry list for Joe Gibbs Racing this Saturday, So, will Justin Allgaier finally get a win on the 14th? If he finishes strong, he could collect a full 8 playoff points – getting by Cole Custer– and make a strong run at Homestead and possibly even the Championship.

Points leader, Tyler Reddick should be considered as well as the Indiana race-leader Christopher Bell. Both of these drivers took hard collisions at the end of the race in Indiana and will be looking for some redemption in Las Vegas.

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

Categories
XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway

Some of NASCAR’s loyal fan base have been begging for the old Bristol Motor Speedway to return – single-groove along the bottom, with bumpers and rooting needed to make ground. The racing on Thursday for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East and NASCAR Gander Outdoor Truck Series gave hope that was the direction headed for concrete half-mile.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series debunked the theory with drivers using the top lane, but that was fine as the racing was still exciting all throughout.

Just like the last night with the other two series, there was racing all the way around the half-mile for positions all the time. It did not seem that a driver could be found by themselves as if they cleared their competitors, lap traffic came into question. That was fine, since it gave the fans something to watch all night long.

Although the top groove was the place to be, there was a way for passes to be made through the middle and bottom lanes of the track. Just ask Tyler Reddick. He started from the tail of the field, and drove his way to the second. He would spin while underneath Justin Allgaier for position, but managed to drive his way from 24th back to the front once again.

Essentially, he was a beast behind the wheel – fitting with Tame The BEAST as the sponsor of the No. 2 Chevrolet, and deserved to be in victory lane by race’s end. However, he did not have the quickest car at the end of the event.

Allgaier had been able to gap Reddick on the long green flag run, and was able to do so on the restart until a tire issue took him out of contention. Now after leading over 300 laps in both Bristol Motor Speedway races this year, he has just a 30th and eighth-place finish to show for it.

As he said post-race, that’s been “the story of our season,” in a year that has seen the veteran overshadowed by the big three young stars in the series – Reddick, Cole Custer, and Christopher Bell. After winning five races last season, the No. 7 has yet to reach victory lane in 2019 with nine top-five’s in 22 races. It has not been for lack of effort, as he has ran up front throughout the year, but bad luck in the form of mechanical issues or wrecks has continued to take him out of contention when it matters.

Considering JR Motorsports is one of the big teams in the series, it’s a shock to realize they have not won since Michael Annett scored the victory in the season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. It’s certainly got to be disappointing after placing three drivers in the Championship 4 in 2018.

While Allgaier’s disappointment is the highlight of the night, there’s many ways the race at Bristol could have gone differently on Friday night. Kyle Busch blew up after winning the second stage – what if that does not happen? There was also the incident on Lap 38 that collected Custer, Bell, Erik Jones, and Joey Logano at once. What if they would have gotten to contend? The worst part is a lap car caused those contenders to be out of the event. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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News

Reddick rebounds from penalty to win for first time at Bristol

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Tyler Reddick’s No. 2 Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet had the word “BEAST” in big block letters on its hood Friday night.

The car was aptly named.

Even though Reddick had to come from the rear of the field twice in his Tame the Beast Camaro — once the result of a stiff penalty and once after a spin — he still needed a bit of luck to win the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

A bit of luck — and large measure of heartache for Justin Allgaier.

On older tires than Reddick had, Allgaier shot forward after a restart on Lap 287 of 300 and had a comfortable advantage until a flat tire sent him into the outside wall on Lap 289 and handed the top spot to Reddick, who had battled Brandon Jones and eventual runner-up Chase Briscoe for the second position behind Allgaier.

“I don’t know (how we did this),” said the reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series champion, who picked up his fourth victory of the season, his first at Bristol and the seventh of his career. “I thought we made the wrong adjustment on the last (pit) stop, but we had a really fast Chevrolet. We had fresher tires than Justin Allgaier there. We came down pit road and we were just too tight and I thought we were done for.

“I don’t know what happened. Everything just happened at the right spot. I fell back to fourth, and Jones hit the fence and then (Allgaier) had some sort of issue. As you can see, I’m speechless. I couldn’t believe what was happening.”

Minutes after limping home in eighth place, two laps down, a crestfallen Allgaier was still struggling to process what had just happened.

“I’ll be honest with you, this is the story of the year,” said Allgaeir, who led 131 laps, second only to the 137 of Kyle Busch, who fell out because of engine failure after winning the second stage. “We had a great car tonight. I don’t know if we could have beaten the 18 (Busch) apples to apples, but when he fell out, I thought — especially at the end — we had the best car.

“I don’t know what else to do, man. It’s just so frustrating. These guys deserve a win. It’s just a tire went down, and there’s nothing you can do about it.”

John Hunter Nemechek ran third, followed by Jeremy Clements, pole-winner Austin Cindric and Gray Gaulding, the last driver on the lead lap.

Reddick’s adventurous evening started with the first 85-lap stage. After his No. 2 Chevrolet failed pre-qualifying inspection four times, Reddick was not allowed to post a lap in time trials, started from the rear of the field and immediately served a pass-through penalty that put him a lap down.

But Reddick earned a free pass as the highest-scored lapped car when NASCAR called the first caution on Lap 7 for Mason Diaz’s crash on the backstretch. Back on the lead lap, Reddick hustled his car through the field, and on Lap 81 he was fighting Allgaier for the lead.

But Reddick spun in Turn 4 underneath Allgaier’s Chevrolet, knocking the right rear of Allgaier’s car into the outside wall. Brandon Jones sped past and scored the stage victory under caution.

Stage 2 was even more bizarre. Reddick worked his way back to second, passing Allgaier for the position with eight laps left in the stage. Kyle Busch was first to the green-checkered flag on Lap 170, but his engine had begun to fail with five laps left and gave up the ghost as he crossed the start-finish line.

That came long after championship contenders Christopher Bell and Cole Custer and Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series regulars Erik Jones and Joey Logano all sustained serious damage to their cars in a multi-car pileup on Lap 37.

Custer went three-wide on the top to pass the lapped car of Matt Mills, who moved up the track, pinching Custer’s No. 00 Ford into the outside wall. Custer’s car bounced off the wall and slammed into Bell’s Toyota, sending both cars sliding sideways. With no clear lane, Jones plowed into Custer’s car, and Logano’s Ford slid into Jones’ Toyota.

Both Logano and Jones retired from the race. Bell and Custer lost three laps and four laps, respectively, while their teams hustled to repair their cars.

“Typical Bristol crash,” Logano said. “You see them wrecking in front of you, and you’re on the brakes as hard as you can, and they just keep piling in, and you can’t stop quick enough. Some of that comes from a poor qualifying effort and from that you get caught up in things.

“I thought we were OK. Even saying that, we were still up to seventh or eighth. We weren’t that far back from starting 19th. We were picking our way through there, but it just happens.”

Categories
XFINITY

Tyler Reddick to Start Xfinity Race from Tail of Field Following Penalty

Tyler Reddick is going to have a tall hill to climb on Friday night if he wants to finish well in the Food City 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Richard Childress Racing’s No. 2 Chevrolet failed technical inspection four times prior to qualifying. As a result, car chief Cam Strader has been sent home, with the team being penalized 10 driver and owner points. Additionally, Reddick will not be allowed to qualify, forced to start from the tail of the field and serve a pass through penalty down pit road once the green flag is waved. 

RCR has been in the spotlight with penalties over the past couple of weeks, as the qualifying times for Austin Dillon and Daniel Hemric were thrown out during last week’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway. They were also penalized for a modified deck lid in the Cup series earlier this year on Dillon’s car at Talladega Superspeedway. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER:@ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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News

Fuel strategy pays off for Tyler Reddick in Michigan Xfinity win

BROOKLYN, Mich. – “Three” was the magic number in Saturday’s LTi Printing 250 at Michigan International Speedway, and that was just fine with Tyler Reddick.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series leader—one of the so-called “Big Three” in the series this year—saved enough fuel over the closing 44-lap green-flag run to win for the third time this season, matching fellow Big Three members Christopher Bell and Cole Custer for most so far this year.

After Custer and Bell pitted for fuel from the top two positions with 10 and 11 laps left, respectively, Reddick inherited the lead on Lap 115 of 125 with a lead of just over three seconds over Michael Annett. Ultimately, Reddick finished 1.515 seconds ahead of Noah Gragson, who passed Annett for the runner-up spot on the final lap.

Annett held third, followed by pole winner Paul Menard and Justin Allgaier.

The victory was Reddick’s first at Michigan and the sixth of his career, accomplished with three different organizations (Chip Ganassi Racing, JR Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing, his current ride. Reddick overcame a Lap 33 snafu on pit road where he slid through his pit stall and dropped to 10th for a restart on Lap 38.

eddick came to pit road for the final time on lap 78 and got 47 laps out of his last tank of fuel.

“I just didn’t want to burn a lot of fuel there,” the driver of the No. 2 RCR Chevrolet said of the closing run. “Our Chevrolet was really good, but I made some mistakes on pit road, and we didn’t get the track position until the end there.

“A great team effort. I didn’t do the thing I needed to do on the race track but, man, that was a great car and we put ourselves in position to win.”

The victory was Reddick’s third in the last five races.

“All the guys at Richard Childress Racing just make an outstanding effort throughout the week,” Reddick said. “Their efforts back at the shop and their hours spent from morning to afternoon every single day is what’s paying off in getting us back to Victory Lane so often this year.”

Miscommunication between crew chief and driver cost both Bell and Custer chances to win the race. Under caution on Lap 78, after Chase Briscoe’s spin a lap earlier, Bell misunderstood instructions to pit and stayed on the track. Custer was told on his team radio to do whatever Bell did and also missed a chance to refuel his car.

“That was our first time using code words, and we got the code mixed up,” said Bell, who had just picked up his sixth stage win of the season on Lap 60.

Custer finished 12th and Bell 13th.

“We had a really fast Mustang,” Custer said ruefully. “I really wanted to win here for Ford in their back yard and everything. We got the track position and got up front, and I think we had the best car here.

“I don’t know how much the 2 (Reddick) was saving there, but the strategy just didn’t work out for us. That one kind of stings, but I definitely feel like we had a fast car.”

Brandon Jones finished sixth, followed by Briscoe, John Hunter Nemechek, Jeb Burton and Justin Haley completed the top 10. Reddick increased his series lead to 89 points over Bell in second.

Categories
XFINITY

Reddick No Longer an Afterthought in Xfinity Series

Has there been any driver that has proven themselves more in the last nine months than Tyler Reddick? It’s certainly a question to ask as he currently leads the NASCAR Xfinity Series points.

Recall, before the 2018 NASCAR Xfinity Series playoffs, Reddick was an afterthought. Though he had shown signs of strength, the focus was on drivers like Christopher Bell and Cole Custer, as they were pegged as the next big things of the sport.

The biggest consensus was Reddick’s lack of consistency, as he was involved in multiple wrecks, ultimately causing him to not finish five events. The amount of continued damage repair and lack of sponsorship resulted in Reddick being told he would not continue with the team in 2019 as of October 2018.

However, no one could have possibly expected what would happen next, with Reddick going on a remarkable run.

In the next seven races he would score six top-10’s, including three finishes of sixth or better to earn him a chance at a championship. In his final start with JR Motorsports, Reddick would go on to win the Ford 300 at Homestead-Miami Speedway, as well as his first series title in NASCAR.

The question had to be asked though, was this a fluke? Would he be able to carry this momentum from JR Motorsports to Richard Childress Racing? After all, RCR is a team that had seen far less success in recent years.

Well, if 2019 has proven anything it is that Reddick is legit. There have been no signs of slowing down from the 23-year-old, whose only finished worse than fifth twice this season.

Currently, Reddick is on a stretch where he hasn’t finished outside the top-four since Las Vegas Motor Speedway in March. Most recently, he captured his second win of the season in the Alsco 300, where the driver of the No. 2 controlled most of the day at Charlotte Motor Speedway, leading 110 of 200 laps.

After 11 races, Reddick has himself currently positioned atop the points standings with a commanding 65-point lead and 13 playoff points in the bank. In addition, Reddick’s impressive performance in Xfinity, along with a ninth-place finish in his second Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series start, has his owner Richard Childress referring to him as a “superstar”.

So, was his 2018 success a fluke? Absolutely not.

What Reddick has demonstrated during the opening stages of the 2019 season only proves that his time in the spotlight is only beginning. He has not only made his name but established it as a credible threat on a weekly basis. Reddick deserves to be in the conversation with Bell and Custer, getting the same respect and praise those two get.

Point being, Tyler Reddick is the real deal.

EMAIL MITCHELL AT mitchell.breuer@popularspeed.com

TWITTER: @MitchellB66

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway

While the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series continues to explore different packages to make the racing better, it seems the NASCAR Xfinity Series has the right method to the madness.

The hot temperatures on the Charlotte, North Carolina afternoon produced a slick race track, in return delivering the fans a show. With drivers searching for grip through the beginning stages of the event by using the middle lane that was coated in the traction compound, to trying to run as close to the wall as possible in the later half, there was a never a dull moment during the Alsco 300.

It also seems the flange-fit composite bodies being made mandatory for the 2019 season has made a big difference. While a bit of wall contact used to end someone’s day in the past, there is now the possibility to receive repairs and make a comeback. As a result, fans were entertained with seeing whether their favorite driver would be able to drive through the field, like Jeffrey Earnhardt overcoming a spin for a third-place finish.

As the tide continued to turn, nobody was able to throw Tyler Reddick off of his game. The master of rim-riding rose to the top in dominating fashion, pacing 110 of the 200 laps en route to winning the event. The defending series champion had a rough campaign en route to surprising at the year-end with the title last year. However, it seems he is leaving nothing to chance in using the lessons learned to finish races and do so up front.

His performance only shined that much more by the struggles of his closest competitors in the title hunt – Cole Custer and Christopher Bell. Custer finished 24th after contact with the outside wall late, while Bell placed 31st after running over debris and blowing a tire.

Ideally, though, Bell could’ve made his situation better by electing to head down pit road rather than ride around under caution with the flat, allowing it to blow the fender apart as it tore to shreds. His teammate Brandon Jones made the smarter decision in pitting immediately, and was able to fight back to run top-five late in the race before fading to 10th on older tires late.

The issues for both Bell and Jones could’ve been prevented if a caution for debris on the track was thrown by NASCAR. It seems that the sanctioning body missed the boat a couple times on Saturday, as they failed to throw the yellow flag late in the first stage for the same reason, resulting in nose damage for Custer. 

Kaulig Racing also raised a couple red flags today with their decisions. Austin Dillon had to get out of the car with 40 laps to go as a result of his ribs getting too hot from the heat, and carbon dioxide from crush panels being pushed in due to wall contact. The team elected to put Daniel Hemric in the car when Dillon’s complaints began. If you know there’s an issue, why would you put a driver in that is also scheduled like Dillon to run 600 miles on Sunday? 

On the flip side, it seems that JR Motorsports knows what they are doing as they placed all four of their entries in the top-seven at the checkered flag. Justin Allgaier led the way with a runner-up after taking four fresh tires late, while Noah Gragson overcame a pit road penalty to finish fourth.

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

FOLLOW ON TWITTER: @ladybug388

The thoughts and opinions expressed here are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of PopularSpeed.com, its owners, management or other contributors. Any links contained in this article should not be considered an endorsement.

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News

Tyler Reddick charges to NASCAR Xfinity victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR Xfinity Series leader Tyler Reddick ran the top lane throughout most of Saturday’s Alsco 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway—without clobbering the outside wall.

The same couldn’t be said of Reddick’s pursuers, many of whom developed a “Charlotte stripe” on the right sides of their cars.

Ultimately, Reddick, the defending series champion, rolled across the finish line 2.102 seconds ahead of runner-up Justin Allgaier, who couldn’t catch the race winner despite racing on 14-lap fresher tires. The victory was Reddick’s first at Charlotte, his second of the season and the fifth of his career.

“Hats off to all of Richard Childress Racing,” Reddick said of the team to which he migrated after winning last year’s series title with JR Motorsports. “We were pretty good going into the two ‘off’ weeks, but we weren’t really happy with where we were, and they worked really hard and worked on a couple things, and we were so good when we came back here to Charlotte.

“I’m just so pumped about the work ethic of everyone at the shop and the guys here with me today, they just worked their tails off. We held off Justin Allgaier, who is really tough to beat. I won at Charlotte—a place I used to hate.”

Reddick led 110 of the 200 laps at the 1.5-mile track. Allgaier never held the top spot in posting his second straight second-place finish, but by the time he climbed from his car, his thoughts had already turned to the significance of the occasion.

“This is the kick-off to one of the coolest weekends in auto racing but also to Memorial Day,” Allgaier said. “I have a grandfather who is no longer with us who served in a war, and this is a special very special day for me.

“My hat’s off to all those who have lost their lives and their loved ones who are still here. Hopefully, we did them justice today.”

Jeffrey Earnhardt, grandson of seven-time Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series champion Dale Earnhardt, finished third and required medical attention after the race, the result of temperatures that exceeded 135 degrees in the cockpits of some of the cars. Nevertheless, after spinning on Lap 141, thanks to a flat right front tire, Earnhardt rallied to finish third and claim the first top five of his career.

Noah Gragson overcame a penalty for an uncontrolled tire to run fourth, followed by Justin Haley, who rallied from a broken axle during qualifying and consequent start from the rear of the field to post a season-best result.

The race took its toll on several of the top contenders of the series. Cole Custer led the first 16 laps, but a litany of misfortunes—including several brushes with the outside wall and one collision with a crush panel that had fallen out of a competing car—relegated him to 24th place at the finish, four laps down.

After his fifth stage win of the season in the first 45-lap segment, pole winner Christopher Bell was running second on Lap 89 when a blown right front tire, the result of a puncture from debris on the track, sent his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing hard into the outside wall near the apex of Turns 1 and 2.

Half a lap later, Bell’s teammate, Brandon Jones, smacked the Turn 4 wall with a nearly identical issue. Jones brought his car to pit road as Reddick took the green/checkered flag to win Stage 2. Bell stayed out to try to stay on the lead lap, and that decision proved costly.

As Bell rolled down the backstretch, the inner liner of his tire exploded, damaging the right front fender. Bell brought the car to pit road, where the remains of the tire caught fire in the wheel well of his Supra. As flames licked the right side of his car, Bell exited hurriedly, his race over.

“My car was running good there,” Bell said after leaving the infield care center. “I had no warning of blowing a right front. I was actually a little bit loose that entire run. I guess we ran something over.

“I pile-drove the fence, and then, rolling down the back straightaway, I saw my teammate do it there, too. Bummer, but we had a really fast Rheem Supra today.”

Jones, on the other hand, rallied to finish 10th.

NASCAR Xfinity Series Race – 38th Annual Alsco 300

Charlotte Motor Speedway

Concord, North Carolina

Saturday, May 25, 2019

1. (3) Tyler Reddick, Chevrolet, 200.

2. (6) Justin Allgaier, Chevrolet, 200.

3. (9) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Toyota, 200.

4. (10) Noah Gragson #, Chevrolet, 200.

5. (35) Justin Haley #, Chevrolet, 200.

6. (8) Michael Annett, Chevrolet, 200.

7. (16) Jeb Burton, Chevrolet, 200.

8. (12) Ryan Sieg, Chevrolet, 200.

9. (7) Austin Cindric, Ford, 200.

10. (5) Brandon Jones, Toyota, 200.

11. (37) Ross Chastain, Chevrolet, 200.

12. (14) John Hunter Nemechek #, Chevrolet, 200.

13. (17) Jeremy Clements, Chevrolet, 200.

14. (19) Gray Gaulding, Chevrolet, 200.

15. (32) Stephen Leicht, Chevrolet, 200.

16. (28) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 200.

17. (30) Garrett Smithley, Chevrolet, 200.

18. (21) BJ McLeod, Chevrolet, 199.

19. (11) Chase Briscoe #, Ford, 199.

20. (25) Brandon Brown #, Chevrolet, 198.

21. (26) Joey Gase, Toyota, 198.

22. (29) David Starr, Chevrolet, 198.

23. (34) Vinnie Miller, Chevrolet, 197.

24. (2) Cole Custer, Ford, 196.

25. (24) Ronnie Bassett Jr, Chevrolet, 195.

26. (33) Matt Mills, Chevrolet, 194.

27. (22) Josh Williams, Chevrolet, Suspension, 187.

28. (4) Austin Dillon(i), Chevrolet, Overheating, 186.

29. (20) Camden Murphy(i), Chevrolet, Front Hub, 173.

30. (36) Mason Diaz, Chevrolet, Accident, 100.

31. (1) Christopher Bell, Toyota, Accident, 90.

32. (31) Joe Nemechek(i), Toyota, Vibration, 58.

33. (15) Bayley Currey(i), Chevrolet, Electrical, 35.

34. (13) Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, Handling, 31.

35. (18) Timmy Hill, Toyota, Engine, 17.

36. (23) Josh Bilicki, Chevrolet, Vibration, 10.

37. (27) Jeff Green, Chevrolet, Brakes, 6.

38. (38) Chad Finchum, Toyota, Engine, 5.

• Average Speed of Race Winner: 110.69 mph.

• Time of Race: 2 Hrs, 42 Mins, 37 Secs.

• Margin of Victory: 2.102 Seconds.

• Caution Flags: 10 for 56 laps.

• Lead Changes: 15 among 7 drivers.

• Lap Leaders: C. Custer 1-16; C. Bell 17-49; B. Jones 50-71; T. Reddick 72-95; J. Nemechek # 96; C. Briscoe # 97-98; T. Reddick 99-104; N. Gragson # 105; T. Reddick 106-141; C. Custer 142; T. Reddick 143-158; C. Briscoe # 159-162; J. Nemechek # 163-165; T. Reddick 166-177; C. Custer 178-184; T. Reddick 185-200.

• Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led): Tyler Reddick 6 times for 110 laps; Christopher Bell 1 time for 33 laps; Cole Custer 3 times for 24 laps; Brandon Jones 1 time for 22 laps; Chase Briscoe # 2 times for 6 laps; John Hunter Nemechek # 2 times for 4 laps; Noah Gragson # 1 time for 1 lap.

• Stage No. 1 Top-10: 00,1,19,2,20,23,39,7,9,98

• Stage No. 2 Top-10: 00,1,10,18,2,22,23,7,9,98

Categories
XFINITY

OBSERVATIONS: MoneyLion 300 at Talladega Superspeedway

Every driver for themselves, trying to do whatever it takes to get to the front of the field with making sure to time every single move they make right. That is the critical to being successful with the NASCAR Xfinity Series restrictor plate package which sees everybody equal right through the field with consistent three-wide racing. 

Those who followed through were rewarded on Saturday afternoon.

From the drop of the green flag, three drivers showed the determination to make whatever move was necessary – Tyler Reddick, Chase Briscoe, and Austin Cindric. They were rewarded when the checkered flag flew in the MoneyLion 300 with top-five finishes.

Of those three drivers, Reddick pushed the boundaries throughout the event. Sometimes he went a little too far, as notable with his contact with the outside wall during the second stage. Though despite whatever was thrown at him, he showed a constant stream of determined aggressiveness to make his way back to the front on each occasion. His move at the end to get the run on Christopher Bell with 10 to go, followed by blocking Briscoe, were the icing on the cake for the win.

Reddick has often been criticized for his all-or-nothing driving style. It got him into trouble on a couple occasions last year as he threw away races that many believed he should have won. However, he continues to show that it works for him as recall, he won the championship last year for JR Motorsports. Now he could be the perfect driver to put Richard Childress Racing in the conversation this year alongside Joe Gibbs Racing’s Bell and Stewart-Haas Racing’s Custer.

Bell appeared to be in the catbird seat for his third victory of the season, but proved late on a pair of his blocks during the final 30 laps to secure the advantage. It was like irony in watching the driver known for being aggressive everywhere else be almost a bit conservative on Saturday afternoon.

It was also odd to not see a JR Motorsports entry not in the conversation at the end of the event as they have dominated the restrictor plate events in the Xfinity Series for the past couple of seasons. However, Daytona winner Michael Annett and Justin Allgaier were taken out in a wreck together, while Noah Gragson suffered contact with the inside wall. Gragson was their highest finisher in 11th at the checkered flag.

If you are making early picks for the next restrictor plate race, you will want to include the three aggressive drivers from Saturday – but don’t forget about Allgaier. He’s the best driver in the series on the plate tracks to not have a win on his record yet. Saturday’s 28th-place finish marked his first outside of the top-eight at Talladega since 2010. He’s also shown the same ability at Daytona, despite his statistics being up-and-down, seemingly always finding a wreck while up front at the end of these races. 

EMAIL ASHLEY AT ashley.mccubbin@popularspeed.com

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