July 17, 2011
JR MOTORSPORTS RACE REPORT: NEW HAMPSHIRE
Kahne & Almirola Score Top-5 Finishes For JRM
LOUDON, N.H. (July 16, 2011) – It might’ve required a good bit of survival, but JR Motorsports’ two entrants – Kasey Kahne in the No. 7 GoDaddy.com/Verisign Chevrolet and Aric Almirola in the No. 88 GT Vodka Chevrolet – avoided late-race attrition to score top-five finishes in the NASCAR Nationwide Series New England 200 Saturday at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It marks the first time this year both JRM cars finished with top-fives in the same race. Kahne, who finished third, completes his two-race run in the JR Motorsports No. 7 with top-fives in each, as he finished fourth last week at Kentucky. He also improves the No. 7 team’s string of consecutive top-10s to four dating back to Road America on June 25. Almirola, who finished fifth, scores his second top-five of the season and ninth top 10. Kyle Busch tied Mark Martin’s record of all-time Nationwide Series wins with his 49th victory. It was also his 100th win among all of NASCAR’s top three touring divisions.
No. 7 GO DADDY/VERISIGN CHEVROLET KEY MOMENTS
Start – 12th / Finish – 3rd / Laps Led – 0 / Owner Point Standings – 10th
Pitting with his teammate late in the race for right-side tires and fuel, Kahne restarted in 16th with 28 laps to go. He eclipsed six spots on the ensuing 14 circuits, putting him smack in the middle of what was about to be carnage central. Three yellow flags peppered the final 15 laps, and Kahne found himself around all of the mayhem. Fortunately for him, he not only avoided the wreckage but took advantage of it, as three cars in front of him took each other out with 10 to go (moving Kahne from 10th to seventh) and two more found trouble with five to go (allowing Kahne to jump from seventh to fifth). On a green-white-checkered restart, Kahne made a bold move to the bottom of Ricky Stenhouse Jr. when the rookie drove his No. 6 Ford too deep into turn one. The move was good for two more spots, and Kahne took home his second top-five finish in as many weeks.
“We were a sixth-, seventh-, maybe eighth-place car, but we took advantage of some stuff and came out of here with a pretty good finish,” Kahne said. “The cool thing for me was I got to be behind everybody when they were wrecking. I saw some cool stuff. I avoided three or four cars weaving and wrecking coming down the straightaway. It was actually pretty entertaining from my seat. The Go Daddy team did a great job. We’ll take a solid third-place finish for what was probably a seventh-place car.”
No. 88 GT VODKA CHEVROLET KEY MOMENTS
Start – 4th / Finish – 5th / Laps Led – 0 / Points – 39 / Driver Point Standings – 5th
Like Kahne, Almirola took advantage of the race’s sixth caution by pitting on lap 168 of 200; however the No. 88 took two tires instead of four, putting Almirola in 11th place on a restart with 28 to go. Until then, the team had been battling a “bouncing” of the car that made it difficult to drive. But race-long alterations to the balance positioned the No. 88 Chevy for a final charge, which it took from 11th position with 28 to go. Like Kahne, Almirola made good of the attrition in front of him, but with five to go he almost became part of the attrition himself. Contact between Steven Wallace and Joey Logano triggered a multi-car wreck in turn 2. Almirola was wedged in the middle with nowhere to go and nosed his GT Vodka Impala into the sliding car of Brian Scott. He moved Scott out of the way and gassed a hole through the rest to avoid any major collection. Almirola took the green-white-checkered restart in sixth and followed his teammate through the opening made by Stenhouse’s bonsai move to score the top five.
“It got hectic out there,” Almirola said. “Our GT Vodka Chevrolet was pretty decent all day. We weren’t as good as we wanted to be. We weren’t good enough to win, but we were a solid fifth- to 10th-place car, so to come out of here with a fifth is really good. I’m proud of Pops and all of the guys. They worked really hard all weekend, and everyone at JR Motorsports has been working their guts out. It’s fun to have a good weekend and show off some of the hard work the guys have been putting in back at the shop.”
NEXT UP FOR JR MOTORSPORTS:
Event: Federated Auto Parts 300 at Nashville Superspeedway
Date: Friday, July 23, 2011
TV/Radio: ESPN (7:30 p.m. EST) / PRN (7:30 p.m. EST)
JRM Entries: No. 88 Degree Chevrolet (Aric Almirola), No. 7 Taxslayer.com Chevrolet (Josh Wise)