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.
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.