Jones Survives Cup Crashfest To Get First Win

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 8 2018

Erik Jones leaps from his car after winning Saturday night’s Cup race at Daytona. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Andrew Coppley)

Erik Jones fought off Martin Truex Jr. in double overtime to win Saturday night’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cups Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

The 22-year-old Jones, driving for Joe Gibbs Racing, earned his first victory in the series on a night during which a large number of the cars belonging to most successful veterans in the sport left the 2.5-mile track in mangled pieces.

Jones himself finished in a car that was damaged in a multicar wreck on Lap 65, an accident that cost him a lap.

“How about that race, boys and girls?” Jones shouted. “My first Cup win, My first win at Daytona, my first superspeedway win—what an awesome day, man.

“There’s so much smoke in the car from that burnout, I can hardly breathe, but what an awesome finish.”

Jones passed reigning series champion Truex on the backstretch of the final lap and held on to win by .125 seconds. The final lap was the only one which Jones led.

The win for Jones, who spent his first full-time Cup season of 2017 driving for Furniture Row Racing, came on his 57th start. And it came without key support.

“I was thinking about my mom and dad after the checkered,” Jones, who led just one lap in a race that saw only 20 of 40 starting cars make it to the finish line, said. “My mom stayed home from this one. She missed my first Cup Series win. So, hi, mom. My dad would have been so proud of the work we did to get here. It’s just an awesome day for us.”

With a push from Kasey Kahne, Truex got the lead after the final restart on Lap 167 but couldn’t hold it. The outside lane was the place to be as the final lap unfolded, and Jones got a strong run through Turns 1 and 2.

“He (Jones) got a big run getting into (Turn) 1 and through the center, and I just didn’t block him good enough in the middle of 1 and 2,” Truex said. “He got to my right rear quarter—just barely—enough to slow me down off of 2, and then the race was on from there.

“Just missed that block a little bit. I’ve got to get better at my mirror-driving. I’ve never really been good at that, and unfortunately, that’s part of this racing here, but I’m really proud to get to the end.”

Truex had posted only one other top-five finish—a second in the 2016 Daytona 500—in 26 previous starts at the superspeedway.

AJ Allmendinger ran third after a nine-car wreck ended the first overtime attempt with Truex approaching the finish line just short of the end of the white-flag lap. That wreck provided put Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Trevor Bayne on the hook.

Kahne came home fourth after leading 17 laps, and Chris Buescher ran fifth, matching his finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.

Two massive wrecks in Stage 2, both involving Ricky Stenhouse Jr., eliminated the majority of the contending cars and opened the door for a new winner.

On Lap 54, Brad Keselowski was running behind leader William Byron when his No. 2 Ford turned off the front bumper of Ricky Stenhouse Jr.’s Fusion, slammed into the No. 41 of Kurt Busch and ignited a Turn 3 wreck that involved 24 cars and wiped out all three Team Penske entries, along with Kurt Busch, Denny Hamlin, Daniel Suarez and pole winner Chase Elliott.

But Keselowski didn’t blame Stenhouse, who had won the first two stages of the race in his Roush Fenway Racing Ford. He pointed the finger at Byron, who moved down the track to put a late block on the No. 2 Ford and forced Keselowski to check up.

“Ricky was doing the best he could to give me a good push and had a great run to take the lead, and the car in front of me (Byron) just threw a late, bad block,” Keselowski said. “I made the mistake of lifting instead of just driving through him, and that’s my fault.

“I’ve got to wreck more people, and then they’ll stop blocking me late and behind like that. That’s my fault. I’ll take the credit for my team, and we’ll go to Talladega, and we’ll wreck everybody that throws a bad block like that.”

Byron became a victim a bit later. He was leading on Lap 65 when Stenhouse tapped the left rear of series leader Kyle Busch’s Toyota and sent the No. 18 Camry spinning into Byron’s Chevrolet. Both Byron and Busch were knocked out of the race in that accident.

“I tried to side-draft the 18 (Busch) in the wrong place,” a subdued Stenhouse said on his team radio.

Byron lost a good chance to improve on his 21st position in the standings.


Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race – Coke Zero Sugar 400

Daytona International Speedway

Daytona Beach, Florida

Saturday, July 07, 2018

  1. (29) Erik Jones, Toyota, 168.
  2. (13) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 168.
  3. (24) AJ Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 168.
  4. (28) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 168.
  5. (25) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 168.
  6. (19) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 168.
  7. (31) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 168.
  8. (7) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 168.
  9. (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 168.
  10. (2) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 168.
  11. (34) * Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 168.
  12. (16) * Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 168.
  13. (35) * DJ Kennington, Toyota, 168.
  14. (22) Bubba Wallace #, Chevrolet, 167.
  15. (21) David Ragan, Ford, 167.
  16. (39) Ray Black II(i), Chevrolet, 167.
  17. (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 167.
  18. (40) JJ Yeley(i), Toyota, 166.
  19. (5) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 162.
  20. (20) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 162.
  21. (33) Ross Chastain(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 162.
  22. (9) Clint Bowyer, Ford, Accident, 162.
  23. (4) Jimmie Johnson, Chevrolet, Accident, 162.
  24. (37) * Landon Cassill, Chevrolet, 162.
  25. (36) Joey Gase(i), Chevrolet, Accident, 161.
  26. (8) Michael McDowell, Ford, Accident, 155.
  27. (26) Aric Almirola, Ford, Accident, 155.
  28. (30) Paul Menard, Ford, 152.
  29. (14) Kyle Larson, Chevrolet, Accident, 123.
  30. (27) Jamie McMurray, Chevrolet, Accident, 68.
  31. (38) Corey LaJoie, Chevrolet, Accident, 65.
  32. (18) William Byron #, Chevrolet, Accident, 64.
  33. (15) Kyle Busch, Toyota, Accident, 64.
  34. (1) Chase Elliott, Chevrolet, Accident, 54.
  35. (32) Daniel Suarez, Toyota, Accident, 54.
  36. (3) Brad Keselowski, Ford, Accident, 53.
  37. (23) Kurt Busch, Ford, Accident, 53.
  38. (17) Denny Hamlin, Toyota, Accident, 53.
  39. (11) Joey Logano, Ford, Accident, 53.
  40. (12) Ryan Blaney, Ford, Accident, 53.

Average Speed of Race Winner:  130.435 mph.

Time of Race:  3 Hrs, 13 Mins, 12 Secs. Margin of Victory:  0.125 Seconds.

Caution Flags:  10 for 46 laps.

Lead Changes:  25 among 16 drivers.

Lap Leaders:   C. Elliott 1-10; R. Stenhouse Jr. 11; C. Elliott 12; R. Stenhouse Jr. 13-42; Kyle Busch 43; B. Keselowski 44-52; W. Byron # 53-64; R. Stenhouse Jr. 65-69; R. Newman 70; R. Stenhouse Jr. 71-81; A. Bowman 82; A. Allmendinger 83; T. Dillon 84-86; C. Bowyer 87-88; M. McDowell 89-107; R. Stenhouse Jr. 108; J. Johnson 109-112; M. McDowell 113; J. Johnson 114-119; R. Stenhouse Jr. 120-122; K. Harvick 123; M. Truex Jr. 124-137; K. Kahne 138-154; K. Harvick 155-161; M. Truex Jr. 162-167; E. Jones 168;.

Leaders Summary (Driver, Times Lead, Laps Led):  R. Stenhouse Jr. 6 times for 51 laps; M. McDowell 2 times for 20 laps; M. Truex Jr. 2 times for 20 laps; K. Kahne 1 time for 17 laps; W. Byron # 1 time for 12 laps; C. Elliott 2 times for 11 laps; J. Johnson 2 times for 10 laps; B. Keselowski 1 time for 9 laps; K. Harvick 2 times for 8 laps; T. Dillon 1 time for 3 laps; C. Bowyer 1 time for 2 laps; Kyle Busch 1 time for 1 lap; E. Jones 1 time for 1 lap; R. Newman 1 time for 1 lap; A. Allmendinger 1 time for 1 lap; A. Bowman 1 time for 1 lap.

Stage #1 Top Ten: 17,18,42,24,9,41,31,2,3,88

Stage #2 Top Ten: 17,34,88,95,13,48,42,3,6,31

| , RacinToday.com Sunday, July 8 2018
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