Gaffney, SC –
After what could be best described as a challenging weekend to say the least in Texas, JD Motorsports drivers Ross Chastain, Garrett Smithley, BJ McLeod, and Stephen Leicht look to get back into their mojo this Saturday during the first short track race of the year at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Chastain, who started the day off qualifying his No. 4 Swan Transportation Services / Perpetua Advisors Camaro in 18th place, ran solidly in around the 10th to 15th positions all day. A strategy call from veteran crew chief Paul Clapprood at the end of Stage 2 allowed the No. 4 crew to gain some valuable Stage points with an impressive 2nd place finish.
From there, Ross made his way near the back half of the Top 10, but an unfortunately timed caution came out as he made his way down pit road. This put the team trapped one lap down, leaving them forced to fight it out with the other lap-down cars with less than twenty laps to go. At the end of the day, Ross brought his Chevy home with a 16th place finish. He remains sitting in the 13th position in points, now just a mere ten points out of the elusive Playoff field.
Stephen Leicht, who qualified his No. 01 “In Memory of Hippie” Camaro in the 30th position to start off the day, quietly started knocking positions off one by one throughout the race. Though at one point he was scored two laps down, in danger of going a third lap behind, a lucky caution break allowed crew chief Mark Setzer to make a gutsy call and keep Leicht out on the race track to pick up a lap via the wave around.
They were able to save enough fuel to stay out for the remainder of the race, and matched their best finish of the year with a respectable 22nd place finish. Stephen jumps up two spots in the points standings to 26th place, just seven markers behind 23rd.
Garrett Smithley’s weekend at Texas could be summed up as being a very unlucky one at best. The Ligonier, PA native who drove the No. 0 Trophy Tractor Chevy started out behind the eight ball with a crash in qualifying which left his car with serious damage only hours before the race. He would have to start shotgun on the field, but his Number Nuthin’ crew was able to repair all of the damage and get his car out to the grid with minutes to spare.
From there, he sliced his way through the pack, running at one point all the way up to 16th. Just as it seemed it was going to be a great way to end an unfortunate start, disaster struck yet again. This time, however, it was from the engine department. Terminal damage set Smithley back and out of the race early, resulting in a 31st place finish. He drops a couple spots in points, down to 18th position.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Camaro, had his fair share of bad luck as well in the Lone Star State. Starting off from the 28th position, BJ ran solidly in the 20th-25th positions for the beginning part of the race, but a vibration in the suspension forced him to bring his car behind the wall to fix the issue. He ended up spending a total of 60 laps in the garage area, relegating the 15 Machine team to a 32nd place finish. He slips back to 22nd in the standings, and looks to make up the lost points at the Bristol short track this weekend.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Bristol Motor Speedway on Saturday, April 6th, for the running of the Alsco 300. Bristol, which is known affectionately as the Last Great Coliseum, always puts on a great show for the fans, and a challenging one for the drivers. Be sure to tune into the race broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 and PRN radio at 1:00 PM ET on Saturday to see JD Motorsports’ drivers take on the World’s Fastest Half Mile. Also, to gain an all-access behind the scenes look at the race weekend, follow our social media accounts @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
13th. Ross Chastain (10 behind Playoffs Cutoff)
18th. Garrett Smithley (-84)
22nd. BJ McLeod (-101)
26th. Stephen Leicht (-116)
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