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Jones Unhurt After Plowing Into Steps At CMS

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 7 2017

Erik Jones has a scary moment Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway. (RacinToday/HHP file photo by Gregg Ellman)

By Deb Williams | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – NASCAR driver Erik Jones escaped injury Saturday at Charlotte Motor Speedway when the NBC track car hit aluminum steps that were on the speedway.

The aluminum steps were at the frontstretch gate located at the flagstand. They are used for those walking from the grandstand to the infield and vice versa. The steps apparently weren’t retrieved after Friday night’s activities. Jones, who was driving the car, reportedly had been told the track was clear. He was traveling in excess of 150 mph when he hit the steps with the car’s right side.

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Las Vegas natives involved in NASCAR have joined together to help the victims of Sunday’s mass shooting in their hometown that left 59 dead, including the gunman.

Those involved in DriversForVegas.com are competitors Kurt and Kyle Busch, Brendan Gaughan, Spencer Gallagher, Noah Gragson and Fox Sports reporter Jamie Little. Beginning next week, a T-shirt or sticker may be purchased on the Website or a donation made.

“As a Las Vegas native, I was heartbroken to learn of the events that occurred Sunday night,” said Gallagher, who organized the initiative. “The shine of a city so vibrant with life and love was suddenly dulled in the blink of an eye. Being away from the city that I love, I couldn’t help but think of others within the racing community that were feeling the same affects.”

Gallagher’s idea has led to the initiative partnering with Las Vegas-based Zappos. All profits will be donated to the Support Las Vegas campaign benefitting the Direct Impact Fund. Zappos will match 100 percent of the donations made up to $1 million. Additional information is available at zappos.com/support.  

“With so many NASCAR drivers from Las Vegas, I feel like it’s the least we can do to ask our racing community to band together in helping those who have been affected by this tragedy,” Gaughan said. “Seeing the outpouring of love and charity from all over the world helps restore my faith in humanity.”

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Kyle Larson and Martin Truex Jr. said they hadn’t yet thought about the Monster Energy Cup Las Vegas Victory Lap, an event held on the Las Vegas Strip. The outdoor event has become a fan favorite since NASCAR moved the awards banquet from New York to Las Vegas in 2009.

NASCAR Champion’s Week begins Nov. 27. It culminates Nov. 30 with the awards banquet at the Wynn, a luxury hotel located about three miles from the Mandala Bay where the gunman that committed Sunday’s mass shooting was located.

“I know NASCAR has an awesome security team,” Larson said. “So I wouldn’t ever really be nervous. As we have seen time-and-time again, it seems like lately anything can happen at big events. I guess right now I wouldn’t be too worried about it because, like I said, NASCAR has a great team of security.”

Truex said he wouldn’t want to be the one in charge of security for the event.

“It’s really hard to think about that right now and it’s sad that we have to talk about it,” Truex said. “I definitely wouldn’t want to be the one making the decision to go there. It’s a crazy time in this world.”

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During preparations for Sunday’s Bank of America 500, Kyle Larson admitted he had to learn how to win at NASCAR’s Cup level.

“I put myself in a lot of positions to win throughout the first two-and-a-half years of my NASCAR career and I seem to kind of choke, I guess, late in the races,” Larson said. “But each of those losses I had I learned something from each of them and I became calmer at each of them. I’ve gotten smarter and calmer; just controlling your emotions and thoughts. I think I’ve gotten better at winning or learning how to win. But our race cars, I think, are the biggest factor in all that.”

| Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Saturday, October 7 2017
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