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JR Motorsports spotters debate failed ‘selfish’ plans to win at Talladega

NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300

TALLADEGA, AL - MAY 06: Justin Allgaier, driver of the #7 Hellmann’s Chevrolet, leads a pack of cars during the NASCAR XFINITY Series Sparks Energy 300 at Talladega Superspeedway on May 6, 2017 in Talladega, Alabama. (Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images)

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Things didn’t go as planned for JR Motorsports in last Saturday’s Xfinity Series race at Talladega Superspeedway.

For the second time this season, the team co-owned by Dale Earnhardt Jr. had five entries in a race. But that large arsenal wasn’t enough to put one of its cars in Victory Lane.

However, it wasn’t for lack of trying.

Brett Griffin, a JRM spotter for Elliott Sadler, claimed on the latest episode of the “Door. Bumper. Clear.” podcast that T.J. Majors being “selfish” kept a potentially winning strategy from being executed.

Majors, who spots for Earnhardt in the Cup Series, spotted for Justin Allgaier on Saturday.
TJ Majors: I was OK. I’ve had worse (races).

Brett Griffin: He had some run-ins on the spotter stand.

Majors: I didn’t have any run-ins. I had people mad.

Griffin: You had run-ins.

Majors: Had people mad for no reason.

Grifffin: ... He made every spotter that was his teammate, he made them mad.

Majors: That’s not true.

Griffin then laid out what happened in the race that squandered the team’s shot at a win.

With Team Penske’s Joey Logano leading, Sadler was second followed by Michael Annett in JRM’s No. 5 Chevrolet and Allgaier. The No. 3 Chevrolet driven by Ty Dillon was fifth.

“This is why T.J. gets in arguments,” Griffin said. “Because T.J. is so selfish and one wayed in all of his things that he does that it’s never about anybody but T.J.

“So he screws me. He screws (Kevin) Hamlin. Hamlin is spotting for Kasey Kahne. Let me tell you how he screws me. ... We catch (Logano). There’s three reasons why you wouldn’t push (Logano). No. 1, he’s not your teammate like the other guys. No. 2, he’s not in the same manufacturer that you’re in, he’s in a Ford. No. 3, he’s the best car and arguably the best driver in the field. You’ve got the chance to shuffle him.

“What does T.J. do? He tells Justin to go low. So Justin goes low, bails on me and (Annett). Now we’re screwed. We go the back, which is fine. But we had the chance to be 1-2-3 JRM and instead we’re not. Thanks to T.J.

“I talked to Justin, Justin said ‘T.J. told me to go low.’”

Majors then defended himself by saying Griffin had had plenty of restrictor-plate success with Sadler’s driving style.

“There’s no one more selfish on Saturdays at Daytona and Talladega than Elliott Sadler and you,” Majors said. “Nobody. And it works for you. You win a lot of races because of it.”

Elliott Sadler didn’t take kindly to Majors’ statement.

Majors went on to explain why he had directed Allgaier to jump out of line.

“Ty Dillon behind us, the No. 3, he’s not going to go with us,” Majors said. “He’s a Chevy, but he’s going by us because we were no help at that point. He was going to get to our quarter panel (to side draft) and he was actually going low, we pulled out at the last second and got in front of him. He was going to get to our quarter panel, which makes us useless to (Annett).

“Because we’re not even close to the 5 car. We’re a car length off of him. If (Dillon) gets to our quarter panel, we’re done. We can’t push (Annett), the 5 can’t push you if we can’t get to him. Ty’s going to run up there and push Logano.”

In the end, it was Aric Almirola who walked away with the win. Selfish or not, Elliott Sadler finished second. Annett placed seventh, followed by Allgaier.

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