Erik Jones completes weekend sweep, wins Owens Corning AttiCat 300 Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland

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JOLIET, Ill. – Erik Jones passed Ryan Blaney with 10 laps to go and held on to complete a weekend sweep, winning Sunday’s Owens Corning AttiCat 300 NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jones won from the pole in Friday’s Camping World Truck Series at Iowa Speedway, and then doubled up in Sunday’s race, which had been postponed by rain from its originally scheduled time on Saturday night.

Just like he did at Iowa, Jones dominated once again, leading a race-high 94 laps of the 200-lap event, earning his second Xfinity win of the season.

It was a year ago at Chicagoland that Jones made his Xfinity Series debut, finishing seventh.

Blaney finished second, followed by pole-sitter Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan and Chris Buescher.

Ross Kenseth, son of NASCAR veteran Matt Kenseth, started on the outside pole and finished a very strong sixth, followed by Daniel Suarez, Brian Scott, Ty Dillon and Darrell Wallace Jr.

MORE: Owens Corning AttiCat 300 race results at Chicagoland

MORE: Chris Buescher remains atop Xfinity standings after Chicagoland

How Erik Jones won: It wasn’t like Jones stole the win away from Ryan Blaney. Jones led nearly half the race, a total of 94 of 200 laps. But it was with 10 laps to go that he made his winning move, getting past Blaney and sailing away to victory. In a sense, Jones completed what he started in last year’s race at Chicagoland, finishing seventh in his Xfinity Series debut.

Others who had a good day: Even though he lost the lead with 10 laps to go, Ryan Blaney still had an outstanding run, finishing second. “We were just too tight to run with the 54 (Erik Jones),” Blaney said. “I hurt us real bad by wrecking my primary yesterday.” Still, Blaney was able to mount a strong run with his back-up car, leading 43 laps. … Ross Kenseth had a very successful Xfinity Series debut, starting on the outside pole and finished sixth. “For a one-off deal like this, I was happy,” Kenseth said. “Hopefully, we can do it again.”

Who had a bad day: Having won at Chicagoland last season, Chase Elliott was hoping for a repeat Sunday. As it turned out, he finished 14th, leaving him winless through the first 14 races this season. It was Elliott’s third-worst finish of the season (worst was 37th at Talladega), but he remains third in the Xfinity Series points standings. … Even though NASCAR officials radioed that pit road was open on Lap 152, the indicator light at the entrance to pit road was still red. A total of 22 cars came onto pit road nevertheless and all were penalized for pitting when pit road was closed by being sent to the rear of the lead lap.

Notable: Richard Childress Racing put all four of its drivers in the top 10: Austin Dillon (third), Brendan Gaughan (fourth), Brian Scott (eighth) and Ty Dillon (ninth). … This was the 14th race of the Xfinity Series season. With next weekend off, the series will then begin a stretch of 16 straight weeks of racing at Daytona on July 4. The series has two consecutive weekends off (Oct. 24 and 31) late in the season before finishing with the final three races of 2015. … Daniel Suarez recovered from the car fire he experienced in Saturday’s ARCA race at Chicagoland to finish seventh. It was a big bounce back after finishing 31st, 18th, 6th, 19th and 20th in the previous five races. … 2014 K&N Pro Series East champ Ben Rhodes made his second career Xfinity Series Sunday, finishing 21st.

Quote of the day: “That’s three wins for me this week. That’s pretty awesome.” – Race winner Erik Jones, who won a Late Model race this past Tuesday at Berlin Raceway in his native Michigan, followed by Friday’s Truck Series win at Iowa and Sunday’s win at Chicagoland.

What’s next: The Xfinity Series is off next weekend before starting a string of 16 consecutive races. The next race on the schedule is the Subway Firecracker 250 on July 4 at Daytona International Speedway.

Follow @JerryBonkowski

NBC Sports Power Rankings: Kyle Busch ends the season No. 1

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The 2019 season is over and Kyle Busch is the NASCAR Cup champion. And not surprisingly, the younger Busch brother also ends the season as No. 1 in this week’s Power Rankings.

Busch received 39 of 40 possible points to take the No. 1 spot, followed by the other three Championship 4 contenders: Martin Truex Jr. (35 points), and Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick (tied for third place with 28 points each).

The biggest surprises in this week’s standings were Xfinity Series champ Tyler Reddick in fifth and Gander Outdoors Truck Series champ Matt Crafton in sixth.

Here’s this week’s Power Rankings:

1. Kyle Busch (39 points): Finally gets that second title. Last week: Second.

2. Martin Truex Jr. (35 points): Inexcusable pit mistake left him as the championship runner-up for the second year in a row. Last week: Fourth.

(tie) 3. Denny Hamlin (28 points): Came so close to his first championship, only to be fall short yet again. Could this be the closest he’ll ever get? Last week: First.

(tie) 3. Kevin Harvick (28 points): Needed a bit more help than he got going against the Joe Gibbs Racing juggernaut. Still, a very strong season regardless. Last week: Third.

5. Tyler Reddick (18 points): It’s hard enough to win one championship, but back-to-back championships with two different teams? Should be a force to be reckoned with when he moves to Cup next season. Last week: Unranked.

6. Matt Crafton (14 points): Wins the championship without even winning a race (in fact, his last win was more than two years ago). Thrived on his underdog status and handled the championship race pressure perfectly. Last week: Unranked.

7. Ryan Blaney (12 points): Finished 11th or better, including a win at Talladega, in five of the last six playoff races. Last week: Fifth.

(tie) 8. Joey Logano (11 points): Ends year with four consecutive top 10s, but fell short when it counted: to make it to the championship round and try to defend last year’s title. Last week: Eighth.

(tie) 8. Erik Jones (11 points): Ends season with four top 10s in last five races. That bodes well for next season. Last week: Seventh.

10. Christopher Bell (6 points): Missed his chance to add an Xfinity title to his prior Truck championship. Still, with eight wins, had an outstanding season. Up next: a promotion to the Cup Series. Last week: 10th.

Others receiving votes: Kyle Larson (5 points), Clint Bowyer (5 points), Cole Custer (4 points), Austin Hill (2 points), Brad Keselowski (1 point), Brett Moffitt (1 point).

Zane Smith joins GMS Racing for full-time Truck Series ride

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Zane Smith will compete full-time for GMS Racing in the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series next year, the team announced Tuesday.

Smith, 20, joins the team after competing part-time with JR Motorsports in the Xfinity Series this year, where his best result in 10 races was fifth twice.

He will be GMS Racing’s fourth full-time entry next year, joining Brett Moffitt, Sheldon Creed and Tyler Ankrum. Sam Mayer will compete part-time.

Smith will have veteran Kevin “Bono” Manion as his crew chief.

“When I got the offer from Mike Beam asking me to run a truck full-time for GMS Racing, I couldn’t pass up the opportunity,” Smith said in a press release. “GMS is a championship-caliber team and to be a part of an organization like theirs is a once in a lifetime opportunity. I’m looking forward to working with Manion again. He has a lot of experience and I know we will be a great team.”

Manion, who has 24 wins across all three national NASCAR series since 2003, joins GMS Racing after serving as a crew chief for DGR-Crosley in 2019, including working with Rookie of the Year Tyler Ankrum. Manion was crew chief for Smith in 2018 when he made his Truck Series debut at Gateway and finished fifth.

“I am really excited to join GMS Racing and Zane (Smith) for the 2020 season,” Manion said in a press release. “With GMS Racing’s championship caliber equipment and Chevrolet support, we have all the resources to win some races and be in the hunt for the 2020 Championship. I got the opportunity to crew chief Zane (Smith) in his first Gander Trucks start in 2018 at Gateway and we worked really well together. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish next season.”

Sponsorship and an assigned truck number for Smith will be announced at a later date.

Penalty report from Homestead-Miami Speedway

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NASCAR issued four fines and one suspension for lug nut violations during its championship weekend in Miami.

Cup Series

Mike Wheeler, crew crew chief on Matt DiBenedetto‘s No. 95 Toyota, was fined $10,000 for one unsecured lug nut.

Xfinity Series

Mike Shiplett, crew chief on Cole Custer‘s No. 00 Ford, was fined $5,000 for an unsecured lug nut.

Truck Series

Steve Lane, the owner of On Point Motorsports and crew chief on Danny Bohn‘s No. 30 Toyota, was fined $5,000 and suspended one points race for two unsecured lug nuts. The No. 30 truck competed part-time this season and made 16 starts. The team told NBC Sports it will not appeal the penalty.

Trip Bruce III, crew chief on Stewart Friesen‘s No. 52 Chevrolet, was fined $2,500 for one unsecured lug nut.

Other

NASCAR issued an indefinite suspension to Jeffrey Schmidt for violating its substance abuse policy.

Truck Series gets minor name change for 2020

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Four days after the end of the Gander Outdoors Truck Series season, NASCAR announced the series will receive a minor name change for the 2020 season.

The series will be called the Gander RV & Outdoors Truck Series when the season starts in February at Daytona International Speedway.

This is the second name change for the series in two years.

This season saw the name change from the Camping World Truck Series, which had been the title from 2009-2018.

Gander Outdoors and Camping World are owned by the same company.

Next year will also see a different name for the Cup Series. With the series going to a new sponsorship model, it will simply be called the NASCAR Cup Series.