GAFFNEY, SC –
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) made the trip up north to Michigan International Speedway in Brooklyn, Michigan for the running of the LTI Printing 250. Heading into the weekend, JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) race teams looked to continue a strong run they have been putting together over the past few weeks that included highs of one Top 10, five Top 15, and nine Top 20 finishes.
This past weekend was a big one for JDM, due to new partner Contec, Inc. making their debut as a primary sponsor in NASCAR on board Ross Chastain’s No. 4 Chevrolet. The automotive-based brand was excited to make their mark on the track right outside Detroit, and the team was able to deliver some good results in the process.
Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 4 Contec, Inc. Chevrolet, started off his busy weekend down in Texas racing in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series. This meant that longtime JDM driver Landon Cassill would pilot the No. 4 throughout both practice sessions on Friday in preparation for Chastain’s return Saturday morning for qualifying. Ross qualified his Chevy in 15th position, and raced around the 12th-15th spots for the first couple stages in the race.
In the final stage, the No. 4 Contec, Inc. crew decided to have a little fun with strategy, and opted to stay out on old tires late in the running. This allowed Chastain to position himself up within the Top 5 cars for a good amount of laps until the tires wore out, where he eventually faded through the field back near where he had been running. Though the gamble didn’t necessarily pay off because there was no caution, Ross was still able to bring his Camaro home with a 14th position. Because he has declared points in the truck series over the weekend, Ross no longer is eligible to compete for the NXS points championship, and thus removes himself from the playoff picture.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 #TeamJDM Chevrolet, started his day off from the 23rd position on the grid, and ran his race in typical McLeod fashion: sly and under the radar. Though McLeod rarely positions himself right in the thick of things up near the front of the pack for most of the race, he always finds a way to make up spots late in the going right when the checkered flag is in sight. He spent most of the afternoon racing in the 18th-25th positions, but at the end of the day, he brought his No. 15 Camaro home in 19th place, his third Top 20 finish in a row. He now sits a solid P20 in the season’s standings.
Nipping right at McLeod’s heels at the end of the 125 lapper at Michigan was Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 TeamJDMotorsports.com Chevrolet. Leicht started the day off in 32nd, but quickly made his way through the field up to around the 20th-22nd positions for most of the afternoon. Like McLeod, however, he was able to position himself up inside the Top 20 in the closing laps, coming home with a 20th place run. He moves up to 22nd in the points standings, now just twenty markers out of the Top 20.
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Trophy Tractor Chevrolet, just never seemed to catch a good break throughout the weekend. After qualifying a disappointing 38th, Smithley passed a few cars and ran within the 25th-30th spots for most of the afternoon, but a mysterious vibration hindered his performance greatly at the two-mile oval. The Number Nuthin crew tried their best to eradicate the issue, but it never went away completely, forcing Garrett to come home with a 27th place finish. He now sits 16th in the points standings, 152 points behind the Playoffs cutoff.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Iowa Speedway in Newton, Iowa on Sunday, June 16th for the running of the Iowa NXS 250. Be sure to tune in on FOX Sports 1 at 5:30 PM ET to watch the four JD Motorsports with Gary Keller drivers battle it out at the 7/8th mile multi-grooved short track with high banking and high speed. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
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