On Friday night, the NASCAR Xfinity Series raced under the lights at Richmond Raceway for the 27th race of the 2019 season. JD Motorsports drivers Garrett Smithley. Stephen Leicht, BJ McLeod, and Ryan Repko entered the weekend looking to bring home solid finishes in the final short track race of the year while racing at “The Action Track”.
Ryan Repko, who drove the team’s No. 01 Chevrolet sponsored by The McLain Group, surprised many people in the garage area by coming home with the best finish of the team. Repko, who calls Denver, North Carolina, his home, started from the 19th position on Friday night. At the end of Stage 1, radio communication issues had placed the No. 01 in 25th, but he was quickly able to recover some spots to finish 21st in Stage 2. As the latter half of the race marched on, the nineteen-year-old rookie continued to make up spots, all while running times comparable to veterans who had much greater levels of experience. The No. 01 crossed the start/finish line in 19th at the end of the night, meaning that Repko had earned his best-career finish at the Virginia short track.
Garrett Smithley, the driver of the No. 0 Morooka/Trophy Tractor Chevrolet, shocked the garage area by posting a lap time good enough for 7th place in the lone Practice session of the day. Smithley had some rough luck in Qualifying, where he started from the 32nd spot, but he made up several spots early on in the race. The Ligonier, PA native finished 21st in Stage 1, but dropped back to 27th at the end of Stage 2. Garrett would stay around that same position for the remainder of the race, coming home with a 27th place finish. He remains in 18th place in the points standings leaving Richmond.
Stephen Leicht’s bad luck unfortunately struck once again this past weekend while driving car No. 4 in Richmond. After starting the race right behind Repko in 21st position, Leicht was up into the Top 20 early on before a flat right front tire brought him down pit road right before the end of Stage 1, causing him to finish 32nd. Leicht was able to recoup a couple of spots in Stage 2, but because he was multiple laps down, he only moved up to 30th. The lack of cautions in the final two stages left Leicht unable to recover any lost laps, and he ultimately was only able to finish with a 29th place run. Taking a look at the points standings, Stephen remains 19th, still sandwiched in between his JDM teammates.
BJ McLeod, who drove the No. 15 Chevrolet on Friday, started from the 33rd position. BJ was able to make up four spots early on in Stage 1 to finish 29th, but dropped back one spot to 30th in Stage 2. McLeod stayed consistent near the end of the race, bringing his Chevrolet home with a 30th place finish at Richmond. Heading into Charlotte this weekend, the Wauchula, FL native still sits 20th in the season’s points standings.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway’s “Roval” layout this Saturday for the running of the Drive for the Cure 200. With this weekend being just the second time in history that this road course/oval combo has been ran, it’s bound to be an exciting show, with new sections of the track being changed just for this iteration of the track. Be sure to tune into NBCSN at 3:30 PM Eastern Time to see live coverage of the last road course race of the season. For all things JDM, follow us along on social media with the handle @JDMotorsports01. #TeamJDM
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!