JR Motorsports is looking for more trips to Victory Lane this season starting with Sunday‘s CircuitCity.com 250 (MRN, 5 p.m. ET) at Iowa Speedway.
The reigning NASCAR Xfinity Series championship team has only put one win on the board this season. It came in the season-opening race at Daytona in February. But since then the organization has been shut out.
That‘s not to say the team is not running well. Justin Allgaier is fifth in the series standings while Noah Gragson and Annett are in the top 10. But because of the organization‘s pedigree, more is expected.
Allgaier is the defending Iowa race winner. Last year he led 182 laps on his to the winning at the 7/8th mile short track. It‘s no surprise he‘s anxious to get back this weekend.
“Iowa is one of my favorite tracks we visit on the circuit,” Allgaier said. “As an organization, we have a history of being fast there and we were fortunate enough to win this race last year, so that makes me excited to get back.
“This No. 7 team has been working hard preparing for this weekend and I have no doubt that we‘re capable of getting this BRANDT Professional Agriculture Camaro back in Victory Lane there.”
Gragson will make his Xfinity Series debut at Iowa but he has plenty of experience at the track. Gragson has earned one top five, two top 10s and one pole position in two previous starts in the NASCAR Gander Outdoors Truck Series at Iowa, with a best finish of second coming in 2018.
He has also made three previous starts in the NASCAR K&N Pro Series West Series, recording two top fives and three top 10s.
“I really enjoy racing at Iowa Speedway,” Gragson said. “I had a couple good runs here in the Truck Series in the past, finishing second here last year, and we had some good speed earlier this year at Richmond, which is a track pretty similar to Iowa.
“But overall, we‘ve had a lot of good momentum here lately and I can‘t think of a better place than Iowa to keep that going. I‘m looking forward to getting there and seeing what we can do.”
For Annett, Sunday will be a homecoming for the Iowa native with his best finish of fourth coming in 2012. Following his third-place finish at Michigan, Annett is on a streak of four straight top-10 finishes dating back to Dover in May. His average finish over that span is 6.8.
“Iowa is when I start really bugging my teammate, Justin Allgaier,” Annett said. “He really has taken to Iowa really well, and I spend a lot of time up in that lounge when we‘re there. I think that getting into Turn 1 at Iowa, it‘s probably one of the roughest tracks we go to. There‘s a really big bump getting into Turn 1 that can really upset the car.
“You have to drive Iowa like a short track. You have to be aggressive, you have to have a car that can move around. You can run the bottom or two inches off the wall. It drives like a short track, you can be really aggressive and you have to take every inch when you can get it.”
Zane Smith will be behind the wheel of the No. 8 Chevrolet for the fifth time in 2019 this weekend. Smith has finished in the top 10 in his last two starts this season, including a sixth-place finish at Richmond.
“The No. 8 team has had a lot of momentum on their side from the past few weeks, and I‘m very grateful to be able to contribute to that,” Smith said. “I have some experience at Iowa Speedway from racing in the ARCA Menards Series, and we ran Richmond earlier this season with really good results. So I know we are capable of getting to the front on Sunday.”