By Seth Eggert, NASCAR Correspondent
Six race was all it took for H2 Motorsports to earn its’ first top-10 finish with Shane Lee behind the wheel in the NASCAR Xfinity Series.
Strategy calls by crew chief Pete Rondeau kept the No. 28 Circuit City Toyota Supra in the top-10 in the closing laps at Iowa Speedway. Lee battled Justin Allgaier, Noah Gragson, and Tyler Reddick for a top-five. As the battles inside the top-five heated up, the Matt Hurley-owned car slipped backward.
Lee held off charges from Justin Haley and Zane Smith. However, he dropped behind Allgaier, Gragson, and Reddick. When the checkered flag waved for the U.S. Cellular 250, Lee crossed the line in seventh.
Although Rondeau sacrificed track position early in the race, the strategy to save tires until the final stage paid off. Lee, who started seventh, plummeted outside of the top-10. However, his Toyota had pace to remain inside the top-15. Lee didn’t break back into the top-10 until the final stage.
Although the team showed speed in both qualifying and practice, the top-10 was not a guarantee. Lee avoided several incidents on track including one when fellow Toyota Racing Development driver Riley Herbst spun in the middle of the field. The H2M driver too evasive action, along with many others, to escape unscathed.
H2M debuted at Iowa one month ago. The Toyota Racing team’s previous best finish was 16th at Kentucky Speedway. Lee’s seventh-place qualifying effort is also an organization best to date.
The seventh-place finish is the fourth top-10 finish for Lee and came in his 19th career start. It’s his best finish since Kansas Speedway last fall.
The team took to Twitter to celebrate their success.
— H2 Motorsports (@H2MRacing) July 28, 2019