WATKINS GLEN, N.Y. — For small team owners such as Johnny Davis of JD Motorsports, there was plenty to smile about on Saturday (Aug. 19) afternoon at Watkins Glen International.
And smile he did.
It was the first time the organization has earned dual top-13 results since 2020 when it had fielded four full-time cars.
“You know, you’ve had thoughts about just giving up and quitting,” Davis told Frontstretch. “And then you have a day like today, and I guess you’ll go pawn your house next and try and keep going because you love it and care about the sport so much.
“This is a shot in the arm. It will go a long way. Basically, we won the race today. We beat everybody in our league.”
Weatherman, the team’s No. 4 Chevrolet driver, shared his enthusiasm.
“Johnny deserves all of this,” Weatherman told Frontstretch. “He works really hard. I really appreciate the opportunity that he’s given me to drive this No. 4 car.
“It’s been struggle for him this year and me included, right? So, to get a result like this is very cool and very important for the team.”
But they weren’t the only small teams that experiences success on the Finger Lakes-based road course.
In an overtime finish scramble that saw cars flying off the track on a surface that many claim was covered in oil, the seas had in fact parted for many teams that aren’t usually in contention for top-10 finishes.
One of which was DGM Racing and its superstar part-time driver Ross Chastain, who after being mired near the middle of the pack for a majority of the race found himself 11th on the final restart.
However, Chastain was the beneficiary of many drivers being swept up in the late-race melee and positioned himself in fourth when the checkered flag waved.
“I could just see guys spinning so I would move,” said Chastain. “I’d have a car left to right from where they were, hoping I didn’t hit it as well.”
It’s DGM’s fifth top 10 of the year and first top five since Chastain finished fourth at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway road course last year.
Then, there was Sam Hunt Racing and its young gun racer Connor Mosack.
Mosack’s day had started abysmally. Only a few laps after the green flag he found himself spun on the bus stop after making contact with Alpha Prime Racing driver Stefan Parsons.
However, slowly Mosack made his way back into contention. By the overtime restart, he was sitting in seventh. When the smoke literally cleared after winner Sam Mayer‘s burnout, he was scored fifth.
It was Mosack’s best career Xfinity Series finish, and only the sixth top five for SHR in its existance.
“We kind of like the speed we had hoped for all day,” Mosack said. “But we just try to stay in it and keep grinding and, it’s probably one of those days that we didn’t really deserve a top five finish, but there’s a lot of days we probably did and didn’t get one.
“So, we’ll definitely take it.”
It was a day that had given plenty of small teams in the Xfinity Series to smile about, and with the summer race at Daytona International Speedway on the horizon for next weekend, the trend will likely continue again soon.
About the author
Dalton Hopkins began writing for Frontstretch in April 2021. Currently, he is the lead writer for the weekly Thinkin' Out Loud column and one of our lead reporters. Beforehand, he wrote for IMSA shortly after graduating from Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in 2019. Simultaneously, he also serves as a First Lieutenant in the US Army.
Follow Dalton on Twitter @PitLaneLT
A daily email update (Monday through Friday) providing racing news, commentary, features, and information from Frontstretch.com
We hate spam. Your email address will not be sold or shared with anyone else.