On Saturday, the NASCAR Xfinity Series battled it out at Dover International Speedway for the running of the Use Your Melon – Drive Sober 200. JD Motorsports with Gary Keller drivers Ross Chastain, BJ McLeod, Stephen Leicht, and Garrett Smithley returned to Dover looking to back up some quality runs that they had in May, when the series rolled around for their first stop at the Monster Mile.
Dover marked a big weekend for JDM and the Delaware Office of Highway Safety, as they partnered up to support Ross Chastain in the No. 4 Use Your Melon Chevrolet in addition to spreading awareness of the campaign via the sponsorship of the race itself.
Ross Chastain, who returned to JDM this weekend once again with his familiar No. 4 watermelon-inspired Chevrolet, was back to form right away. The Florida native started from the 14th spot and battled up inside the Top 10 throughout most of the first half of the race. Chastain would finish 11th in both Stage 1 and Stage 2, and had positioned himself for a great result during the final 100 laps. As green flag pit stops occurred coming to the finish, an unlucky caution trapped Ross and the No. 4 crew two laps down. Ultimately, though he was unable to get back on the lead lap, Chastain battled hard to a 13th place finish – exactly where he had finished in the previous year’s race.
BJ McLeod piloted the No. 15 Chevrolet to another impressive run at the Delaware mile. McLeod had to overcome adversity early on after having to start from the rear of the field due to a water leak, but he was on the move quickly at the start. He was already up to 21st at the end of Stage 1, and managed to gain another spot to finish Stage 2 in 20th place. As the race progressed, BJ managed to pick up some more spots under green, and managed to come home with a 16th place finish. This was BJ’s best finish of the season, and also marked his best career finish at Dover. Heading into Kansas, McLeod sits 20th in drivers’ points, just over twenty markers behind teammate Stephen Leicht.
Speaking of Stephen Leicht, the driver of the No. 01 Chevrolet appeared to be well on his way to a great finish on Saturday’s race before becoming involved in a multi-car accident late in the going. Leicht qualified deep in the field back in 31st, but was able to make up some spots early on to finish 25th in Stage 1. The North Carolina native picked up some more spots to finish 21st in Stage 2, and was up inside the Top 20 as the race neared completion. Bad luck struck once again for Leicht’s bunch, as his promising day came to an end on lap 183 of 200. High rates of attrition at the Monster Mile meant that Stephen would still be credited with a 23rd place run, keeping him 19th in drivers’ points, now just twelve back of the #NumberNuthin driver.
Garrett Smithley, who hopped back in the seat of his familiar No. 0 Camaro, looked to have a good run going in Dover, as he had his best qualifying run of the season in 20th. The Pennsylvanian finished 18th at the end of Stage 1, but just as Stage 2 commenced, a locker failure forced him behind the wall. Dozens of laps were lost, but the crew went to work on fixing it, and they managed to get him back on track to pick up some precious points. At the end of the day, Garrett would be scored with a 26th place finish, but he remains 18th in the drivers’ standings.
The NASCAR Xfinity Series has an off week for the first time since June this weekend, a much-needed break for the teams. Up next on the schedule is Kansas Speedway on Saturday, October 19th. 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