Roller Coaster Ride for JD Motorsports at Daytona

Smithley, Rhodes Score Top-10 Finishes

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier/

Many teams felt the wrath of the new format and several big crashes, but one team that just wouldn’t give up in the PowerShares QQQ 300 was Johnny Davis’ team JD Motorsports. Drivers Ross Chastain, Garrett Smithley, and Harrison Rhodes were able to finish within the top-20 including two of the three gaining top-10 finishes.

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier/

In the 2016 season opener, Garrett Smithley watched from afar as he made his season debut at Atlanta Motor Speedway the following week. In the July race he gained a 13th place finish. Going into 2017, one of his goals had to be to make the one race he didn’t in his rookie season, and that goal was met while exceeding expectations. He would start 26th and would dodge and weave around the many big crashes, and finish a career-best eighth.

“What a great start to the season,” Smithley said in a release. “We were able to bounce back from being in a couple of wrecks and get a great finish. The guys did a really good job.”

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier/

Harrison Rhodes drove for JD Motorsports in 2015 for 26 races and attempted the season opening race but missed the race. In his return to JD Motorsports, he would qualify in the PowerShares QQQ 300 using the owner points that Ryan Preece gained in 2016. He started 34th, and much like Smithley, he dodged several wrecks and ran in the lead draft for much of the race. As the checkered flag fell, Rhodes found himself in tenth. Jay Lopez, a team member for Harrison Rhodes told OnPitRoad, “It’s almost like a win.”

“It was an unbelievable run for our Flex Tape team tonight and for JD Motorsports as a whole,” Rhodes said in a release. “I was fortunate enough to miss some big wrecks and stay out of trouble. After making it all the way to fourth, I thought I might have a chance to win! It was a crazy and exciting night, but I’m extremely happy to start the season on a high note with a top 10. Thanks to the whole JD Motorsports team for all their hard work and commitment.”

Photo Credit: Noel Lanier/

Ross Chastain survived the carnage to gain a 16th place finish. The Alva, Florida native survived the last lap melee to come home in the top-20.

“It was a wild race,” Chastain said. “Cars were going everywhere, bouncing off the wall and off each other. It feels great to bring the car home after all that. A pretty good start to the year.”

About Christian Koelle 229 Articles
An Ooltewah, TN native, Christian has been writing since July of 2015. In 2017, Christian transitioned from his own blog to a few different websites, joining OnPitRoad in February. In 2005 Christian attended his first race as a fan at the Atlanta Motor Speedway. He’s been around racing his entire life and enjoys being at the track more than anything. He made his media debut at Bristol in 2015. His favorite tracks are Iowa Speedway, Bristol Motor Speedway and Phoenix. He enjoys talking about racing with just about anyone and makes occasional appearances on numerous radio shows across the country. In his time attending races he’s attended almost ninety races among the six racing series. Along with NASCAR, He loves Minor and Major League Baseball. He’s a Minnesota Twins and Chattanooga Lookouts. He also enjoys watching Iowa State Cyclones college football.