|iK9 Toyota Driver Scores Third-Place Result in Alsco 300 at Charlotte
|Date: May 25, 2019
Event: Alsco 300 (Round 11 of 33)
Series: NASCAR Xfinity Series
Location: Charlotte (N.C.) Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps, broken into three stages (45 laps/45 laps/110 laps)
Start/Finish: 9th/3rd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Race Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Winner: Christopher Bell of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
Stage 2 Winner: Tyler Reddick of Richard Childress Racing (Chevrolet)
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-45):
● Started ninth and finished 11th.
● Earnhardt reported on lap four that his No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra was too loose on the entry, middle and exit of the corners.
● Running 11th while under caution on lap 19, Earnhardt told the team that the iK9 Supra had tightened up, but was still loose in turn three.
● On the lap-23 restart, Earnhardt was caught in the bottom line and fell back to 16th.
● The final 22 laps of the stage stayed green and Earnhardt was able to work his way back up to 11th.
● Pitted for four tires, fuel and a wedge adjustment at the conclusion of the stage.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 46-90):
● Started 11th and finished 10th.
● Caught in the bottom line on the restart, Earnhardt fell back to 23rd, but immediately began to make up ground once he got into the top lane.
● Earnhardt was 18th when the caution came out on lap 67, but moved up to 14th when a handful of cars pitted.
● Earnhardt gained three spots on the restart and eventually reentered the top-10 on lap 88.
● At the conclusion of the stage, Earnhardt reported the handling on his 1K9 Toyota had only improved slightly.
● Pitted for four tires, fuel and an air pressure adjustment at the end of the stage.
Final Stage Recap (Laps 91-200):
● Started sixth and finished third.
● Earnhardt lined up sixth for the lap-101 restart and entered the top-five for the first time on lap 105.
● On lap 141, Earnhardt told the team he had a tire going down. The caution came out on lap 142, allowing Earnhardt to pit under yellow and only lose one lap.
● The iK9 team gave Earnhardt four fresh tires and fuel, and repaired damage during a second stop under the caution. He restarted in 24th on lap 147, one lap down.
● Earnhardt gained four spots on the lap-147 restart to place him 19th as the “lucky dog” when the eighth caution came out on lap 158.
● The Mooresville native brought the iK9 Toyota Supra to pit road on lap 160 for four tires and fuel.
● Earnhardt restarted 18th on lap 162 and moved up to 11th before the next caution on lap 171.
● With five cars pitting under caution, Earnhardt lined up sixth for the restart. He maintained his position throughout one last caution on lap 182.
● Restarting for the final time on lap 185, Earnhardt jumped to the third position.
● Earnhardt held on to his spot within the top-three to earn a career-best finish of third.
● Earnhardt’s third-place finish was his best Xfinity Series result in 71 career starts, with his previous best being a sixth-place effort on Feb. 23 in the Rinnai 250 at Atlanta Motor Speedway.
● This was Earnhardt’s best career finish across 157 combined starts in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, Xfinity Series and Gander Outdoors Truck Series. His previous best finish was the aforementioned sixth-place result at Atlanta.
● Earnhardt has finished in the top-10 in three of the five Xfinity Series races he has run this year.
● Tyler Reddick won the Alsco 300 to score his fifth career Xfinity Series victory, his second of the season and his first at Charlotte. His margin of victory over second-place Justin Allgaier was 2.102 seconds.
● There were 10 cautions for a total of 56 laps.
● Seventeen of the 38 drivers finished on the lead lap.
● Reddick remains the championship leader after Charlotte with a 65-point advantage over second-place Christopher Bell.
Jeffrey Earnhardt, driver of the No. 18 iK9 Toyota Supra for Joe Gibbs Racing:
“It’s pretty awesome to come out of here with a top-five. I kept flirting with the top line, getting higher and higher. Once you get up there and get loose, there’s nowhere to go but in the wall. Those guys did a great job getting it sorted out and getting us back out there to come back from a lap down. We just gave it all we had there at the end, that’s all I had left in the tank. I’m just thankful for the opportunity, it’s a dream come true to get to drive in Joe Gibbs Racing equipment and live out my dreams. We’re out here with the JGR and the Xtreme Concepts Racing guys to go for wins and we’re definitely working toward that. I’m just lucky enough to get back in this No. 18 Supra next week at Supra.
“It meant a lot to me having Officer Sheldon on the car today. Hopefully, he’s smiling down on us after that run and us bringing the iK9 Supra home third. I wouldn’t have thought we had a third-place car after practice on Thursday. I can’t thank the guys at iK9 and Joe Gibbs Racing enough for letting us run this paint scheme, and just everyone for their support and the respect they’ve shown. It’s amazing how the community came together for him and his family. It’s really touching and it’s been great to see the respect shown for a man that loved his job and loved keeping our town of Mooresville safe. They said he always had a K9 by his side and, coincidentally enough, his K9 was from iK9, so he’s part of the family and someone we will always appreciate.”
The next event on the Xfinity Series schedule is the Pocono Green 250 on Saturday, June 1 at Pocono (Pa.) Raceway. The race starts at 1 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FS1 and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.