Coming off the first NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) race of the season in Daytona with four clean cars, the JD Motorsports with Gary Keller (JDM) race teams headed to Atlanta Motor Speedway full of confidence.
The first mile and a half intermediate track is always a tough one on both the equipment and the tires, as the track surface hasn’t been repaved since the late 1990’s. Atlanta is known as a driver’s track, one that showcases drivers’ abilities more than others due to its’ difficult nature.
Ross Chastain made his triumphant return to JDM this past weekend driving the No. 4 Chevrolet Camaro SS, and he led the way for the team in all on track sessions. Due to qualifying being rained out, however, the field was set by owner’s points from last season, relegating Chastain to a 15th place starting spot. He hung in tough all afternoon, running a smart race near the Top 10, all while keeping care of his equipment. He brought his Chevy home in the 14th position, scoring the team’s first Top 15 finish of the year.
Nipping at Ross’s heels most of the race was Garrett Smithley in the No. 0 “In Memory of Hippie” Chevrolet Camaro SS. Owner’s points had Smithley starting from the 22nd position, but he was able to quickly work his way through the field, and with a fortunate caution, he was able to receive the Free Pass to put himself back on the lead lap. He finished in 17th place and moves up a few positions in the points standings.
For BJ McLeod’s No. 15 crew, they had a solid, under the radar type of day. McLeod was able to take care of his equipment and manage his tire wear throughout the event, coming home with a 24th place finish after starting in 29th in his No. 15 Chevrolet Camaro SS.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 “In Memory of Hippie” Chevrolet Camaro SS, had a relatively successful weekend as well. Crew Chief Mark Setzer set the car up with a neutral feeling to maximize tire life, and it proved to be beneficial during the final stage. Some clean driving allowed them to bring home a 25th place finish after starting in 30th place.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads out west to Las Vegas, Nevada for the first leg of the “West Coast Swing” on Saturday, March 2nd. The Boyd Gaming 300 can be viewed live on FOX Sports 1 at 4:00 PM ET (1:00 PM local). Be sure to tune in to cheer on all four JD Motorsports with Gary Keller race teams and see how well they are able to roll the dice in the desert.
9th. Ross Chastain (-33)
16th. Garrett Smithley (-66)
23rd. BJ McLeod (-76)
31st. Stephen Leicht (-88)
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