Race Weekend Central

Jordan Anderson Nabs 4th at Daytona as JAR Makes Statement to Open 2024

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Ever since Jeb Burton gave Jordan Anderson Racing its first-ever win in the NASCAR Xfinity Series spring race at Talladega Superspeedway in 2023, the small team has seemingly found some confidence and a boost in performance.

So much of a boost, in fact, that the boss himself got in on the fun.

Jordan Anderson, in only his second NASCAR start since his fiery NASCAR Craftsman Truck Series crash at Talladega in 2022, finished a career-best fourth in the NASCAR Xfinity Series season opener at Daytona International Speedway Monday night (Feb. 19).

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He followed teammate Parker Retzlaff across the line to obtain a 3-4 finish for his self-owned team.

“What a night for our team to have,” said Anderson after the race.

While one could chalk up the result to a classic race of attrition at a superspeedway (which it was), Anderson ran toward the front all night, working with Retzlaff and Burton. He even led six laps, something that Anderson hadn’t done before in the Xfinity Series.

Anderson restarted up front on the final restart, and got a huge push by eventual race-winner Austin Hill before getting too far ahead and swallowed up by the main pack.

“I just got too excited,” Anderson said. “I’m just like, ‘I’m not gonna give it up, I’m not gonna drag the brake’ and just got out there a little too much. Didn’t know what was gonna happen there.”

Anderson is no stranger to strong finishes at Daytona. At the 2020 and 2021 Truck Series races at Daytona, Anderson finished second and third, respectively.

Driving a third entry, Anderson switched the owner points for his No. 32 and Burton’s No. 27, locking the No. 32 into the show even if weather canceled qualifying. Burton’s win at Talladega gave him a past winner’s provisional that would lock him into the show without the need for owners points.

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When qualifying miraculously took place on a rainy Saturday afternoon (Feb. 17), Anderson qualified 29th, worst of the three JAR cars. Retzlaff qualified ninth, while Burton started 16th.

However, by the end of the actual race two days later, after several cautions and multiple race leaders taken out, both Anderson and Retzlaff found themselves in a position to perhaps go for the win. Ahead of them, Sheldon Creed and Ryan Sieg, running second and third, were sizing up Hill to make a move for the win down the backstretch on the final lap when Sieg got turned off of turn 2 and wadded up a couple cars down the backstretch.

NASCAR didn’t throw the caution, allowing Hill to pull away from Creed for an easy victory. Behind the two of them, Anderson and Retzlaff battled for the final spot on the podium, a battle in which Retzlaff bested his owner.

“Everything started happening back there, and I saw the crash and I got forced down,” said Anderson. “And me and Parker [Retzlaff] got side-by-side drag racing after that.”

The team had to call an audible atop the pit box after the postponement. Anderson’s original crew chief, Larry McReynolds (who is also Anderson’s father-in-law), had to fulfill TV obligations for the Daytona 500 and was forced to fly back to Charlotte before he had a chance to call the shots for the No. 32 team.

“I was really looking forward to having him down here with me, and I hate he couldn’t be here,” Anderson said. “We kind of had a plan B with our shop foreman, Jon Marlott, being here to help call the race.”

Anderson did get an interesting radio communication from Marlott before the final restart. One that fans will recognize.

“Jon radioed to me before the last restart and said, ‘Hey, I’m talking to Larry, and he said to pull those belts tight one more time,'” Anderson said. “So he may not have been here, but he was riding with me in spirit.”

Also riding in spirit was Anderson’s family.

“This was a big night for my family emotionally. My mother-in-law has been in the hospital for two weeks, and she just got out. Found out last week that my mom’s got breast cancer. […] So to come here and have a finish like this means a lot to go home with.”

While Retzlaff and Anderson shined in the finishing order, Burton had a solid weekend as well. He was fastest in practice and was also running up front for a good majority of the race. Of the three JAR cars, he was the only one to pick up stage points at any point in the race.

However, Burton had two different incidents with Shane van Gisbergen that put his No. 27 team in a hole late in the race. Burton finished 26th, but he might have been right there with Retzlaff and Anderson in the end had he not been near the No. 97 machine.

van Gisbergen did apologize for his role after the race.

Despite this, Anderson is confident that the team’s overall success at Daytona is a sign of things to come for the 2024 season after the team steadily improved throughout 2023.

“It’s a testament to our little team that’s growing and getting bigger,” Anderson said. “2024 is gonna be a great year for us. We probably worked harder this offseason than we did last year. We’re not gonna give up; we’re gonna keep digging. We want more wins (after) we got a taste of it at Talladega.”

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While it’s unclear how many more starts Anderson will make this season, if any (he is currently on the entry list for the next race at Atlanta Motor Speedway), he did mention Talladega could be on the radar since he brought the car home in one piece.

“I told the guys on the radio, ‘I didn’t put a scratch on it, so maybe you guys let me bring it back out here at Talladega here later this year,'” Anderson said.

JAR came to Daytona with a trophy in its head, and while it didn’t quite work out, the team still made a statement with two cars in the top five and a third that was very capable of doing the same.

“You’re gonna have to pinch me later,” Anderson said with a smile. “It probably hasn’t sunk in yet.”

About the author

Anthony Damcott joined Frontstretch in March 2022. Currently, he is an editor and co-authors Fire on Fridays (Fridays); he is also the primary Truck Series reporter/writer. A proud West Virginia Wesleyan College alum from Akron, Ohio, Anthony is now a grad student. He is a theatre actor and fight-choreographer-in-training in his free time. He is a loyal fan of the Cincinnati Reds and Carolina Panthers, still hopeful for a championship at some point in his lifetime.

You can keep up with Anthony by following @AnthonyDamcott on Twitter.

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sb

I’m impressed that Larry has kept up with the current cars to crew chief and set up a Daytona car. well done.

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