August 7, 2011
JR MOTORSPORTS RACE REPORT: Iowa
Wise and Almirola Race to a Pair of Top-Five Finishes Under the Lights
NEWTON, Iowa (Aug. 6, 2011) – JR Motorsports did everything right in Saturday night’s U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway, capping the night with top-five finishes from both teams. Josh Wise scored a career-best fourth-place finish in the No. 7 iRacing.com Chevrolet after steadily moving through the field and holding his ground. Aric Almirola followed right behind him in fifth. It was the No. 88 Ragu team’s fourth consecutive top-five finish. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. won his second race at Iowa Speedway in breathtaking fashion. His engine expired as he approached the checkered flag, and he went crashing across the finish line after runner-up finisher and teammate Carl Edwards couldn’t avoid him. Elliott Sadler finished third in front of the JR Motorsports drivers.
No. 7 iRacing.com Chevrolet Key Moments
Start – 18th / Finish – 4th / Laps Led – 0 / Points – 40 / Owner Point Standings – 12th
Starting 18th, Wise’s big gain in the early stages came when crew chief Tony Eury Jr. elected not to pit under caution on lap 49. The bid for track position propelled Wise from 22nd to seventh.
Wise maintained a spot in the top-10 over the next 100 laps and climbed to sixth before debris brought out a caution on lap 154. Eury Jr. called the No. 7 iRacing.com Chevrolet to pit road for four tires and fuel. A quick stop by the crew put Wise in fourth-place for the ensuing restart.
Wise fell as low as eighth as a green-flag run stretched the field out, but he clawed his way back to fifth prior to the final caution on lap 220. Making quick work of David Mayhew in the No. 33 after the restart, Wise slid into fourth place and solidly held the position until the checkered flag fell.
“What a great race for our iRacing.com team,” Wise said. “I’m so grateful to everyone at JR Motorsports, iRacing, TaxSlayer and all our partners. I had a blast out there tonight. We were legitimate contenders all night, and that is something our team can be really proud of.”
The Riverside. Calif. native’s fourth-place effort also makes him eligible for round three of Nationwide Insurance’s “Dash 4 Cash” Series, which awards $100,000 to the highest finishing NNS regular qualified for the program at the Richmond event in September. Wise joins Reed Sorenson, Elliott Sadler and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. as eligible drivers for the third round of the “Dash 4 Cash” Series.
Additionally, the finish is Wise’s career-best showing in 21 starts for JR Motorsports. He joins JRM drivers Ron Fellows, Kasey Kahne and Danica Patrick as drivers to earn a top-five finish in the No. 7 Chevrolet this season.
No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet Key Moments
Start – 11th / Finish – 5th / Laps Led – 0 / Points – 39 / Driver Point Standings – 4th
Sporting the bright colors of Ragu on the No. 88 Chevrolet, Almirola broke into the top-10 by the lap-49 caution. Wrestling with a condition that made his car tight in the middle of the corner, crew chief Tony Eury Sr. made several calls through the team’s pit stops to remedy the handling of Almirola’s machine. By the third caution on lap 101, the team ran in eighth.
Almirola continued a climb to the front over the next 52 laps, gaining four spots and positioning himself in fourth. The Ragu Chevrolet came to pit road after a debris caution slowed the field on lap 154. Eury Sr. called for four tires and fuel, but a loose lug nut brought the team back down pit road. The error caused the Ragu Chevrolet to line up in 16th for the lap-160 restart.
The team was determined to work its way back toward the front. When the green-flag dropped, Almirola went to work on the competition, racing to 10th in only 24 laps. Another caution on lap 185 allowed the Ragu team to make the call for a two-tire pit stop. The move gained the No. 88 six positions in the pits and put Almirola in fourth for restart. He wheeled the Ragu Chevrolet to second on the restart, but then gave way to competitors with four tires and dropped to sixth. Before the checkered flag fell, Almirola picked up one final position to finish the night in fifth.
“Our Ragu Chevrolet was fast tonight,” Almirola said. “It feels good to come out of here with another top-five. That gives us four top-fives in a row. We’ve got the ball rolling here at JRM. We just need to keep our heads down and keep at it. The guys have a lot to be proud of right now.”
Next Up for JR Motorsports:
Event: Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International
Date: Saturday, Aug. 13, 2011
TV/Radio: ESPN (coverage begins at 2 p.m. EST) / MRN (broadcast begins at 1:30 p.m. EST)
JRM Entries: No. 88 Ragu Chevrolet (Aric Almirola), No. 5 Canadian Tire Chevrolet (Ron Fellows),
No. 7 Jimmie Johnson’s Anything with an Engine Chevrolet (Jimmie Johnson)