DARLINGTON, SOUTH CAROLINA -
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series made its annual trip to Darlington Raceway for the SportClips 200. The track known as “Too Tough To Tame” brought plenty of stressful and challenging situations for drivers, all while putting on a great show for a big crowd of fans that came out to watch.
Landon Cassill, driver of the No. 01 Flex Seal Chevrolet, started off his day by impressing many with a 10th place qualifying effort, and it appeared as if he was on his way to a solid run all throughout the first half of the race. Cassill earned one stage point in Stage One by finishing 10th, and was on the cusp of gaining another in Stage Two, but ultimately finished 12th. With fifteen laps remaining, however, the Iowa native got caught up in a spin off of turn four, which significantly hurt the No. 01’s aerodynamics. The crew was able to work hard on repairing the damage, and Landon was able to bring the car home with an 18th place finish.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 4 South Carolina Education Lottery Chevrolet, rolled off from the 23rd position to start the 147 lap race. McLeod layed low early on in Stage One and Stage Two, finishing 26th and 22nd respectively, but really started to gain some positions later on once the halfway mark was crossed. The pit crew made some important changes to McLeod’s Chevrolet late in the race, and he was able to earn a 19th place finish, right behind his JDM teammate in Landon Cassill. This finish keeps BJ McLeod solidly in 20th position in the drivers’ points standings heading into Indianapolis.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 15 JD Motorsports Chevrolet, overcame adversity throughout the entire day on Saturday. Leicht was feeling under the weather in the morning, and took a trip to the infield care center to make sure that he would be hydrated for the grueling race on Darlington’s wore-out track surface. Stephen qualified in the 24th position, but fought an ill-handling car for the majority of Stage One and Stage Two, where he finished 34th and 31st, respectively. The #15Machine crew went to work on making significant changes to his Chevrolet in the final stage, and they were able to elevate Leicht to a 26th place finish. Stephen remains 19th in the drivers’ points standings leaving Darlington.
Similar to Leicht, Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Mike Mittler Tribute Chevrolet, also had to overcome adversity throughout Saturday’s race. The Ligonier, PA driver rolled off the starting grid in 29th, and fought handling issues throughout the race. Smithley finished in 30th for Stage One, and followed it up with a 29th place ruin in Stage Two, and had to make a green flag unscheduled pit stop late in the race during the final stage for four tires. The issue kept Garrett trapped a few laps down, and the lack of cautions meant he was unable to position himself back in contention at the end of the race. The #NumberNuthin driver earned a 29th place finish at Darlington, keeping him 18th in the drivers’ points standings.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway this Saturday for the tour’s yearly stop at the oldest racetrack on the circuit. Different aerodynamic packages will throw the teams a curveball, and if last year’s race is any indication, this weekend will be one of the most exciting races of the season. Be sure to tune into NBCSN at 4:00 PM ET for live coverage. For all things JD Motorsports, follow our social media channels with the username @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM