Toyota Racing Post-Race Recap
NASCAR Xfinity Series (NXS)
Michigan International Speedway
Race 13 of 33 – 250 miles, 125 laps
June 8, 2019
TOYOTA FINISHING POSITIONS
1st, Tyler Reddick*
2nd, Noah Gragson*
3rd, Michael Annett*
4th, Paul Menard*
5th, Justin Allgaier*
6th, BRANDON JONES
13th, CHRISTOPHER BELL
18th, TOMMY JOE MARTINS
22nd, CHAD FINCHUM
29th, JOEY GASE
31st, TIMMY HILL
35th, TYLER HILL
37th, RILEY HERBST
· Brandon Jones (sixth) was the highest-finishing Toyota driver in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Michigan International Speedway.
· Christopher Bell started in the second position and led 36 laps (of 125) and won the second stage of the race. However, a miscue on lap 78 kept Bell on the race track while many other leaders came to pit road. This forced Bell to pit under the green flag with less than a dozen laps remaining.
BRANDON JONES, No. 19 1st Foundation Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
How was the race today?
“We started out not being a top-10 car most of the day, but we continued to work on it. The biggest issue we fought was just being loose-in all day. We just kept after it and I think this is what the 19 team does really well, just adjust on the car all race. We’re running first-place lap times at the end of these races and just need some track position there at the end.”
CHRISTOPHER BELL, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 13th
Did you have the car to beat without the miscue on pit road?
“Ultimately, we just weren’t fast enough. The 00 (Cole Custer) drove by us like we were sitting still. Just have to get a little bit faster here where we can compete with these guys.”
What happened when you didn’t pit on lap 78 that took you out of contention to win?
“It was just a miscommunication. My definition was a little different than what Jason (Ratcliff, crew chief) had planned. Ultimately, that was a big hiccup in our day. The 00 (Cole Custer) blew our doors off so we just have to get faster. That’s our biggest thing and for whatever reason on the bigger tracks right now, I don’t have the speed that the 00 has. We just have to keep working hard and get our Rheem Supra to be a little bit faster and it will be easy to clean up the miscommunication there.”
JASON RATCLIFF, crew chief, No. 20 Rheem Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
What happened with the miscommunication for Christopher to pit on lap 78?
“This is a track where you can actually play some strategy. We don’t go to many tracks that you can do that. I felt like last week was one and I feel like Michigan is one where you can mix it up a little bit. Everywhere else we go is kind of straightforward. We talked about, ‘If I tell you this, then it means to pit now.’ Just some code words and it’s really simple actually. It’s first-grade stuff and somehow we mixed it up. He did exactly what his wristband said on it. Unfortunately, it was poor execution on my part in communicating what to put on the wristband. I think we had a good performance today after a little bit of a struggle last week in Pocono. I felt like our car had speed so we’ll just build in that and go on to Iowa.”
RILEY HERBST, No. 18 Monster Energy Toyota Supra, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 37th
How big of a struggle was this weekend with the wreck in practice and then an early incident in the race?
“I learned a lot this weekend. It sucks to learn it this way, but definitely learned a lot in practice and I was working my way up through the field pretty quick then just got turned super early. I don’t really know what reason or what ultimately caused it. Would have liked to get more laps and more experience at this big place in these Xfinity cars. They’re hard to drive, but overall the weekend was awful for us, but I definitely learned quite a bit.”