WATKINS GLEN, NEW YORK –
On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS) started its first leg of a string of road course races at Watkins Glen International. Always a fan favorite, Watkins Glen offers both the high speeds of super speedways and the close quarters of a short track – all while turning both left AND right.
Stephen Leicht, driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet, is not necessarily somebody that comes to mind as a road course ringer, but this weekend he was able to prove his ability is much greater than what most people had originally thought. Leicht started the race from the 28th position, but ran consistent throughout the entire race, keeping his car on track and out of harm’s way. In Stage One, Stephen was 27th, followed by a 25th place effort in Stage Two. In the latter part of the 82 lap race, Leicht maintained a focused attitude, methodically passing cars without risking damaging his Camaro. At the conclusion, Stephen came home with a 20th place finish, keeping him 19th in the driver’s points standings.
Garrett Smithley, who drove the No. 0 Trophy Tractor Chevrolet, raced right around Leicht for the majority of the day, but unfortunate circumstances would place him behind where he should have finished. The #NumberNuthin Chevy rolled off the starting grid in 29th, and Garrett conserved his equipment early on, putting him 30th in Stage One. However, Smithley excelled in Stage Two, coming home with a 21st place run, which propelled him into the final 40 laps. Just as it looked as if Garrett would come home with a Top 20 run, a flat left front tire forced him to pit under green. It was then found out that the sway bar arm had been sheared off from being dragged around the 2.45-mile course. Garrett was able to rebound to a 24th place finish at “The Glen”, keeping him 18th in the driver’s points standings.
BJ McLeod, driver of the No. 15 Chevrolet, just couldn’t seem to catch a “brake” on Saturday, and was forced to bring his Camaro behind the wall numerous times to fix issues with the braking system. McLeod qualified in the 33rd position, but the brake issues brought him into the garage early, hurting his positions in Stage One and Stage Two. The #15Machine crew was able to get him back out on the track, where he finished 27th. BJ moves back up into the Top 20 in driver’s points, now back in 20th position.
Ross Chastain made his return to JD Motorsports with Gary Keller in the No. 4 Protect Your Melon New York Chevrolet for the first time since Michigan earlier this season. Throughout both practices and qualifying, Chastain looked to have a solid run going, and started Saturday’s race from the 19th position. He was up into the Top 15 early on when he had contact with another driver, sending the driver around in the bus stop. Though the incident was not intentional, the other driver caught back up to Ross on the last lap of Stage One and slammed him off the racetrack and into the tire barriers, ending the No. 4’s day early with significant damage. Ross brought his Chevrolet home with a 33rd place finish, a disappointing end to a solid effort.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series returns to road course racing this weekend on Saturday at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course. This track is known as being the most technical road course on the schedule, and drivers must be on their A-game if they want to have a good finish here. Be sure to tune into NBCSN at 3:00 PM ET to watch the B&L Transport 170. For all things JDM, follow along on our social media pages @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
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