No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Happy with how his No. 23 Allegiant Chevrolet was handling during Friday’s lone NCWTS practice session, Chase Elliott continued to show speed Saturday when he captured the pole for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Leading the field for the entire first stage of the race, Elliott overall was pretty happy with his Chevy’s handling but needed a bit of help to accelerate out of the corners as his truck tightened over a long run.
Sitting in the top three during the second stage, crew chief Joey Cohen and Elliott discussed pit strategy when the caution came out on lap 119. Ultimately electing to short-pit, Elliott found himself deep in the field with just over half of the race remaining. Methodically working his way through traffic, Elliott found himself in the prime position when the final caution of the race came out with only 12 laps remaining. Restarting alongside GMS Racing teammate Johnny Sauter, Elliott was able to secure the lead and hold him off in-route to his second NCWTS win.
“We had a good Allegiant truck today. It was really fast as soon as we unloaded. I can’t thank GMS Racing enough for this opportunity. The grandfather clock is definitely one of the coolest trophies in all of racing and I’m excited to have one now. It’s going to look really good at the house I think.
“There was a couple of times in that final run that I was trying to get a run on him (Christopher Bell) and trying to uproot him from the bottom. As the race goes on you have to be a little bit more aggressive. We were able to capitalize on his misfortune though, a place I’ve been on both sides of.”
– This is Elliott’s first win at Martinsville Speedway, as well as his second NCWTS win with GMS Racing.
No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet Silverado
Johnny Sauter and the No. 21 Allegiant Chevrolet team spent the entirety of Friday’s single practice session in race trim, eventually making wholesale changes prior to qualifying for the Alpha Energy Solutions 250. Sauter qualified in the second position, starting on the front row with teammate Chase Elliott. He fought a tight condition early in the race with crew chief Joe Shear, Jr., making adjustments to help Sauter in the center and maintain track position. He remained in the top-three throughout the first stage and took over the lead from lap 82 to 144 to claim additional points as the winner of stage two. Sauter called for no adjustments to be made on the final pit stop, but tire wear over the remaining 100 laps caused the handling to go away in the final moments of the event. Sauter tried to run down Elliott in the final laps, ultimately finishing second to his GMS Racing teammate.
“This was a good day for our Allegiant team. Joe Shear, Jr., made good calls to keep us up front and in position to win and pick up points but we just didn’t have what we needed at the end to get to Chase (Elliott). I think the pit road issue really hurt us and I’m not sure what exactly that was all about but you’ll have that every now and then. It was a good points day for us and I know the folks at Allegiant are happy to finish first and second. Another strong run for all of the GMS teams today. We’ll be ready to go for another one when we get to Kansas.”
– Sauter earned his seventh top-five and 10th top-10 finishes in 19 starts at Martinsville
– Sauter is now the points leader after three races
No. 24 AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet Silverado
At 17 years old, Justin Haley made his GMS Racing debut at Martinsville Speedway. Haley spent Friday’spractice session getting acclimated to his AccuDoc Solutions Chevrolet, posting the 15th-fastest time. Struggling with a tight Chevrolet during the first round of qualifying on Saturday, Haley was able to advance to round two. A flat right rear tire would prevent the team from making a second round run, forcing the rookie to start from the back of the field in his first race of the season. As the 250 lap race began, Haley made quick work of advancing his position as several cautions occurred in the opening laps. By the end of the first stage Haley was running in the 18th position and asked his team for adjustments to help roll the center. The AccuDoc Solutions team worked their way into the top 15 for the start of stage two and broke into the top 10 as a caution occurred with 20 laps remaining in the stage. Haley finished stage two in the sixth position, still battling tightness in the corners. After several trucks pitted on the previous caution, Haley started further back in the field and several incidents prevented him from advancing his position. He reported to the team that he thought something was wrong with just 20 laps remaining and came to pit road to prevent bringing out a caution. He returned to the track four laps down to complete the race in the 20th position.
“Overall, I’m really happy with how the No. 24 team performed today. We worked through handling issues and were running in the top 10. We really wanted to get those stage points and there was some confusion around pit road being open that ultimately put us further back in the field than we would have liked, but that’s just how things go at Martinsville. I think everyone on this team and the guys working back in the shop at GMS know that we had a top-10 truck out here. I’m really proud of this team and what we accomplished this weekend, I just wish I didn’t have to wait so long to do this again!”
– Haley will complete the remainder of the season in the No. 24 Chevrolet Silverado for GMS Racing
No. 33 Kiklos Chevrolet Silverado
Making his third NCWTS start at Martinsville Speedway, Kaz was confident in his Kiklos Chevrolet after posting the fourth-fastest time Friday afternoon in practice. Securing an 11th-place starting position forSaturday afternoon’s race, Kaz held his ground early on knowing how important track position was. Fighting a Silverado that struggled in the center of the corners, crew chief Jerry Baxter worked on freeing the Kiklos Chevy up during the first two stages. Kaz ultimately came back down pit road for a final time, under the last caution of the race, with only 12 laps remaining for four tires and fuel. Hoping that fresh tires would help propel him through the field, the Martinsville traffic proved tough, and Kaz went on to score a 15th-place finish in the Alpha Energy Solutions 250.
“Not a bad day at Martinsville today. This is a place where you need to be aggressive to stay ahead, and unfortunately today we just missed it a bit and didn’t keep up with the rubber on the track as well as we needed to. That put us on defense most of the day, rather than offense, which isn’t what you want at Martinsville.
“We wound up 15th, which is an alright points day, but there’s no doubt the No. 33 GMS Racing crew is looking for more. We know what we need to do differently for the fall race here, and we will come back to compete. Now on to see what we can make happen in Kansas.”
– After the third race of the season, Kaz is currently fifth in the NCWTS point standings, 37 points behind the leader, but has one win and five bonus points towards the playoffs.