GAFFNEY, SC –
The NASCAR Xfinity Series raced this past Saturday afternoon at Pocono Raceway nestled deep in the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania for the Pocono Green 250 recycled by JP Mascaro & Sons. JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) drivers Ross Chastain, Garrett Smithley, BJ McLeod, and Stephen Leicht entered the weekend looking to build on momentum gained from four great runs last time out in Charlotte.
Ross Chastain, driver of the No. 4 Georgia Watermelon Association Chevrolet, started the race from the 14th position after a solid qualifying effort under NASCAR’s new qualifying procedures. From there, he began to inch his way closer to the Top 10 during Stage 1, and with the help of some pit strategy, Chastain was able to finish seventh in the stage, securing four bonus points. When Stage 2 rolled around, Ross felt like he had lost some of the balance in the rear end, causing him to slip back a few spots.
Though the No. 4 team did not earn any bonus points in Stage 2, they made some valuable adjustments which helped position Ross within striking distance of the Top 10 late in the race. On the final Green-White-Checkered restart, Ross lined up 11th, but ultimately came home with a 14th place finish after a chaotic scramble coming to the checkered flag. Coming out of Pocono, Ross still sits 13th in points, now just 23 markers back of the Playoffs cutoff.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 JD Motorsports Chevrolet, started the race with the least amount of laps on track with just two. He rolled off the grid from the 16th position, right behind Chastain. McLeod ran a quiet, methodical race within the 18th-25th spots all day, laying low and staying out of any trouble. By the time the finish came around, however, he had positioned himself to go to work. He came home with a 17th place finish, which is his best finish of the season. This was McLeod’s third Top 20 finish of 2019, and he now sits 22nd in the standings, just four points shy of the Top 20.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 JD Motorsports Chevrolet, started the 100 lapper from the 25th position. For the majority of his race, Leicht seemed to race right around BJ McLeod in the 18th-25th positions. The No. 01 Chevrolet fought a tight condition throughout the race, but a late caution aided the crew to allow Stephen to race well into the Top 20. On the last restart, however, he unfortunately got moved out of the way, allowing multiple cars to pass coming to the checkered flag. As they crossed the start/finish line, Leicht was scored in the 23rd position, which is also where he remains in the NXS points standings.
Garrett Smithley, driver of the No. 0 Trophy Tractor Chevrolet, had a tough going this past weekend in the Poconos. It appeared as if the car’s setup was never truly right to his liking, and there was an overall lack of speed. Smithley began the race from the 34th starting position, but quickly made his way up inside the Top 25 early on. Garrett continued to run up inside the Top 25 for a good portion of the day, but unfortunately, near the ¾ mark of the race, a vibration forced him to bring his car to the garage for repairs. The Number Nuthin’ crew worked feverishly to get Smithley back out on the racetrack, where he finished 29th, 17 laps down. Smithley drops one spot in the points standings to 17th position heading into the next race at Michigan.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Michigan International Speedway for the running of the LTI Printing 250 on Saturday, June 8th. Be sure to watch FS1 for live coverage at 1:30 PM ET, or listen along on the radio on MRN. For all things JD Motorsports with Gary Keller, be sure to follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
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