A double win for Erik Jones: Triumphs in Canada, takes over Truck points lead


In a classic battle of youth vs. experience, young phenom Erik Jones passed veteran Alex Tagliani with two laps to go and then held off a late surge by Matt Crafton on the final lap to win Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ontario, Canada.

Jones had previously taken the lead on Lap 53, passing both previous race leader Cole Custer and Tagliani. The latter two made contact shortly after Jones’ pass and Custer spun out, but there was no caution flag. Tagliani then set his sights on Jones, passed him briefly for the lead on Lap 62, but Jones regained the lead and held on as the 64-lap race ended. Tagliani suffered a mechanical failure in the closing turns of the final lap and finished fifth.

“I think I had a shot but (Jones) kind of shut the door,” Tagliani said. “The third gear broke on the last straight and that was it.”

Added Jones, who notched his second Truck win of the season and the fifth win this season for Kyle Busch Motorsports, “It’s so awesome to get a road course win in only my second road course start. We raced hard and hopefully we put on a good show.”

Crafton finished second, followed by Ben Kennedy, Daniel Hemric and Tagliani.

There was a significant shakeup at the top of the standings. Tyler Reddick, who had led the points the last several weeks, wrecked with Gray Gaulding on Lap 61 and finished 19th. Jones took over the points lead, while Crafton is three points back in second and Reddick is 15 points back in third.

MORE: Results from Sunday’s Chevrolet Silverado 250 Truck race

MORE: Erik Jones takes over Truck points lead, Crafton second, Reddick slips to third

How Jones won: The biggest key was passing Cole Custer and Alex Tagliani on Lap 53. Granted, Tagliani regained the lead briefly on Lap 62, but Jones was not to be denied, leading the final two laps to take the win. Tagliani had one last shot on the final lap, but third gear broke in his transmission and that sealed his chance of catching Jones.

Who else had a good race: Matt Crafton finished runner-up and is now just three points behind new points leader, Erik Jones. … Ben Kennedy tied a career-best with his third-place finish. Also having a strong run was Daniel Hemric, who also tied a career-best with a fourth-place finish. It’s the third time Hemric has finished fourth in a race this season. He’s fifth in the points, 90 points behind Jones. … Johnny Sauter finished sixth and is 55 points behind Jones in fourth place in the standings.

Who had a bad race: Tyler Reddick finished 19th. Even worse, Reddick dropped from the lead in the Truck standings to third, 15 points behind new series leader Erik Jones. … Brandon Jones was running ninth with 22 laps to go when he ran off the track and hit hard into the right side retaining wall. It appeared something may have broken in the front end of his truck just before impact. He wound up with a 26th-place finish. … John Wes Townley struggled to a 25th-place finish. … Timothy Peters was 22nd, while Matt Tifft finished 23rd after a late-race wreck.

Notable: Matt Crafton has become quite the road course racer, but he still remembers the struggles he had in his first race at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in 2013. Even though he finished 10th in that race, the showing wasn’t as good as it indicated, said Crafton. “Two years ago, we were a disgrace. I was pretty embarrassed. I know I wasn’t that bad on a road course.” … Brian Wong finished a respectable 12th in his first career Truck race start.

Quote of the Day: “It was an awesome day, an awesome race, an awesome truck and an awesome team. There’s not much more you can say than that, but just a great day.” – There’s no question what Erik Jones’ favorite word was in describing his awesome second win of the season.

What’s next: The Truck Series is off for the next two weeks and returns on Sept. 18 for the American Ethanol E15 225 at Chicagoland Speedway, the same weekend that the Chase for the Sprint Cup begins there.

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Alex Bowman confident as he returns to racing from back injury


CONCORD, N.C. — Alex Bowman watched the rain-filled skies over Charlotte Motor Speedway Saturday with more than a touch of disappointment.

As weather threatened to cancel Saturday night’s scheduled NASCAR Cup Series practice at the speedway, Bowman saw his chances to testing his car — and his body — dissolving in the raindrops. NASCAR ultimately cancelled practice and qualifying because of rain.

MORE: Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup practice, qualifying

Bowman suffered a fractured vertebra in a sprint car accident last month and has missed three Cup races while he recovers. Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600, the season’s longest race, is scheduled to mark his return to the Hendrick Motorsports No. 48 Chevrolet.

“It would have been really nice to kickstart that with practice today,” Bowman said. “I haven’t raced or competitively driven a race car in a month. I’m trying to understand where my rusty areas are going to be and where I’m still good.”

Bowman ran 200 laps in a test season at North Wilkesboro Speedway this week, but, of course, that doesn’t compare with the faster speeds and tougher G-forces he’ll experience over 400 laps Sunday at CMS.

Bowman admitted that he is still experiencing pain from the back injury — his car flipped several times — and that he expects some pain during the race. But he said he is confident he’ll be OK and that the longer race distance won’t be an issue.

“I broke my back a month ago, and there’s definitely things that come along with that for a long time,” he said. “I have some discomfort here and there and there are things I do that don’t feel good. That’s just part of it. It’s stuff I’ll have to deal with. But, for the most part, I’m back to normal.

“I’m easing back into being in the gym. I’m trying to be smart with things. If I twist the wrong way, sometimes it hurts. In the race car at the end of a six-hour race, I’m probably not going to be the best.”

The sprint car crash interrupted what had been a fine seasonal start for Bowman. Although winless, he had three top fives and six top 10s in the first 10 races.

“I’m excited to be back,” Bowman said. “Hopefully, we can pick up where we left off and be strong right out of the gate.”

He said he hopes to return to short-track racing but not in the near future.

“Someday I want to get back in a sprint car or midget,” he said. “I felt like we were just getting rolling in a sprint car. That night we were pretty fast. Definitely a bummer there. That’s something I really want to conquer and be competitive at in the World of Outlaws or High Limits races. Somebody I’ll get back to that. It’s probably smart if I give my day job a little alone time for a bit.”




Charlotte NASCAR Cup Series starting lineup: Rain cancels qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — William Byron and Kevin Harvick will start Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series 600-mile race at Charlotte Motor Speedway on the front row after wet weather cancelled Saturday night qualifying.

Rain pelted the CMS area much of the day Saturday, and NASCAR announced at 3:45 p.m. that Cup practice and qualifying, scheduled for Saturday night, had been cancelled.

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

The starting field was set by the NASCAR rulebook.

Following Byron and Harvick in the starting top 10 will be Brad Keselowski, Denny Hamlin, Kyle Busch, Chase Elliott, Bubba Wallace, Ryan Blaney, Christopher Bell and Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

The elimination of the practice session was particularly problematic for Alex Bowman, scheduled to return to racing Sunday after missing three weeks with a back injury, and Jimmie Johnson, who will be starting only his third race this year. Johnson will start 37th — last in the field.

Charlotte Cup starting lineup

Wet weather cancels Charlotte Cup Series practice, qualifying


CONCORD, N.C. — NASCAR Cup Series drivers will start the longest race of the season with no practice or qualifying.

Wet weather and predictions of more to come led NASCAR to cancel Saturday night’s Cup Series practice and qualifying in mid-afternoon. The field for Sunday’s 600-mile race was set by the NASCAR rulebook, placing William Byron and Kevin Harvick on the front row for the  scheduled 6 p.m. start.

MORE: Charlotte Cup starting lineup

MORE: Alex Bowman confident as he returns to cockpit

Weather also could be an issue Sunday as more rain is predicted for the speedway area.

Drivers were scheduled to practice at 7 p.m. Saturday. That session was to be followed by qualifying at 7:45 p.m. The cancellations were announced at 3:45 p.m.

The time-trial cancellation marked the first time in 64 years that qualifying has been canceled for the 600.

Charlotte Xfinity race postponed to Monday by weather


CONCORD, N.C. — Persistent rain forced the postponement of Saturday’s scheduled 300-mile NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Charlotte Motor Speedway to Monday.

The race is scheduled to start at noon ET. It will be televised by FS1 and broadcast by the Performance Racing Network and SiriusXM NASCAR Radio.

Driver introductions and other pre-race activities were held at the track Saturday, but rain that had dampened the track in the morning hours returned. After several attempts at drying the track, the race was postponed after heavier rain returned in mid-afternoon.

Justin Allgaier will start the race from the pole position.