May 30, 2011
JR MOTORSPORTS RACE REPORT: Charlotte
Hellmann’s Team Earns Top-10 Finish at Charlotte;
Wise Scores Seventh Top-20 of Season
CONCORD, N.C. (May 28, 2011) – JR Motorsports emerged from Saturday’s Top Gear 300 at Charlotte Motor Speedway with a pair of hard-fought finishes. Aric Almirola and the No. 88 Hellmann’s team battled back from a loose left rear tire, which put them a lap down, to finish ninth. It marks the team’s sixth top-10 of the season. Driving the No. 7 VooDoo Ride Chevrolet, Josh Wise managed to work as high as third during the event, but the team eventually settled for a 17th-place finish as they experienced handling issues. Matt Kenseth went to victory lane in his first NASCAR Nationwide Series win this season. Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Reed Sorenson rounded out the top-five finishers.
No. 88 Hellmann’s Chevrolet Key Moments
Start – 8th / Finish – 9th / Laps Led – 0 / Points – 35 / Driver Point Standings – 5th
Making his sixth Nationwide Series start at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Almirola and the Hellmann’s team began the race in eighth. The team held tight to a spot inside the top-10 early in the race. Running in 12th on lap 94, Almirola radioed the crew that he felt like he had a loose wheel. He quickly brought the Hellmann’s machine to pit road under the green flag, where the crew changed four tires and sent him back onto the racing surface. Crew chief Tony Eury Sr. later confirmed that the left rear tire on the car was indeed loose.
Following the pit stop, the Hellmann’s team went a lap down and was shuffled back to 29th. The team caught a break on lap 125 when green-flag pit stops began for the rest of the field. As the leaders began ducking to pit road, Almirola cycled to 13th and was back on the lead lap. The team took advantage of the final caution on lap 149 to make a final adjustment to the Hellmann’s Chevrolet. Almirola used the change to earn two spots on the race track and crossed the finish line ninth.
“After what we went through today, I’ll take a ninth-place finish,” Almirola said after the race. “Anytime you’re forced to pit under green-flag conditions, you open the door for a lot of problems. Our Hellmann’s team rebounded well from that. I think there are some things we can take away from this race that we can add to our notebook for the next time around.”
Almirola’s ninth-place finish also gained him one position in the championship standings. He is currently in the fifth spot, 51 points out of the lead.
No. 7 VooDoo Ride Chevrolet Key Moments
Start – 20th / Finish – 17th / Laps Led – 0 / Points – 27 / Owner Point Standings – 14th
Wise lined up in 20th for the start of the 300-mile race in the No. 7 VooDoo Ride machine. The team drifted outside the top-20 in the early going, but still occupied a spot among the top-25 for the race’s entirety.
Around the lap-25 mark, Wise radioed the crew that he was struggling with the handling of the No. 7 Chevrolet. The team took advantage of several caution flags to pit for major chassis adjustments in an effort to help the car’s drivability. Back on the racetrack, Wise drove to 22nd place before green-flag pit stops began on lap 125. The No. 7 VooDoo Ride Chevrolet worked as high as third as teams cycled through the pits. Wise eventually brought his machine to pit road on lap 148. While on pit road the caution flag flew for debris, trapping the team a lap down.
Wise took the final restart on lap 154 in 17th and held onto the spot as the checkered flag waved. The finish was Wise’s seventh top-20 effort in eight races with JRM in 2011.
“We still have a few things to figure out with this new car,” Wise said following the race. “And it’s still a learning process for a lot of Nationwide teams, JR Motorsports and myself included. I know we’ve got a great bunch of guys at this organization and it’s just a matter of time before we get this thing figured out. Best of luck to all the 7 guys and to Danica (Patrick) next weekend at Chicago.”
Next Up for JR Motorsports:
Event: STP 300 at Chicagoland Speedway
Date: Saturday, June 4, 2011
TV/Radio: ESPN (coverage begins at 8 p.m. EST) / MRN (broadcast begins at 7:45 p.m. EST)
JRM Entries: No. 88 TaxSlayer.com Chevrolet (Aric Almirola), No. 7 Tissot Chevrolet (Danica Patrick)