Erik Jones wins at Daytona in overtime for first career victory

9 Comments

Erik Jones won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway in a second overtime attempt, claiming his first Cup Series win.

Jones, 22, beat Martin Truex Jr, AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne and Chris Buescher in a two-lap shootout.

The win comes in the Joe Gibbs Racing driver’s 57th career start.

On the final restart, Jones started second on the outside of Truex, his former teammate at Furniture Row Racing.

“Oh boy, how ’bout that race boys and girls?” Jones asked the crowd while being interviewed at the start-finish line by NBC. “That was something else, man. I thought we were out of it and all of a sudden we were right back in it, take the lead and ran away. Wow, what an awesome race. … My first Cup win, my first win at Daytona, my first superspeedway win. What an awesome day, man.”

Jones had been caught up in a six-car wreck on Lap 65 in Stage 2. By the end of the race, he was the only JGR driver left. He led only the final lap.

“I was thinking about mom and dad after the checkered,” Jones said of Carol and Dave Jones. Dave Jones passed away in 2016.

“My mom stayed home from this one, she’s going to miss my first Cup win, so hi, mom,” Jones said. “My dad, he would have been so proud the work we did to get here.”

Jones is the youngest driver to win this season and just the seventh different winner in 18 races.

The overtime period was initially set up by a wreck with four laps to go in the original 160-lap distance involving Michael McDowell, Aric Almirola, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Gase.

The first overtime restart saw a crash right before the start-finish line the involved Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Bubba Wallace, Johnson, Trevor Bayne, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, Ross Chastain, Brendan Gaughan and Ryan Newman.

The race ended after 168 laps.

STAGE 1 WINNER: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

STAGE 2 WINNER: Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

WHO HAD A GOOD RACE: Martin Truex Jr. earned his first top 10 at a restrictor-plate race since coming in second in the Daytona 500 in 2016 … Kasey Kahne earned Leavine Family Racing its second top five ever. The first came in this race last year … Matt DiBenedetto finished seventh for his first top 10 of the season and his fourth in 122 career starts .. Jeffrey Earnhardt (11th) and DJ Kennington (13) earned their career-best finishes.

WHO HAD A BAD RACE: The race was marred by two large wrecks in Stage 2, with the first on Lap 54 involving 26 cars and eliminating pole-sitter Chase Elliott, Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kurt Busch and other contenders … Ten laps later a six-car wreck eliminated Kyle Busch and William Byron … After winning the first two stages, Ricky Stenhouse Jr. was involved in four accidents, the 26-car crash, an incident with Kyle Larson with 37 laps to go, a single-car spin with 11 laps to go and the wreck on the first overtime restart.

NOTABLE: Erik Jones is the 19th driver to get his first career win at Daytona, which leads all tracks … In three of the last four Daytona races, the winner led only the last lap … Jones is the fifth driver to earn his first win with Joe Gibbs Racing.

QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “Always good to see a first-time winner, now maybe (International Speedway Corp.) and those guys can be a little bit happier about things.” – Martin Truex Jr. referencing comments made earlier this week by ISC President John Saunders about young drivers needing to win.

WHAT’S NEXT: Quaker State 400 Presented by Walmart at Kentucky Speedway at 7:30 p.m. ET on July 14 on NBCSN.

NASCAR America: Bubba Wallace on qualifying: ‘It’s our job to cheat the system’

1 Comment

Much of the talk in NASCAR this week has been around the controversial final round of Cup qualifying at Auto Club Speedway, which saw no drivers make a qualifying run after they left pit road too late to make a lap.

Bubba Wallace didn’t advance to the final round, but he’s been in a similar situation. In 2014 at Michigan, Wallace was in the Gander Outdoors Truck Series race at ACS’ sister track. Qualifying for that event ended with only one truck, driven by Ryan Blaney, reaching the start-finish line in time to make a lap.

“It’s our job to cheat the system,” Wallace said on NASCAR America presents Motormouths. “In today’s world, with the package and how it works out, if you’re the front car, you’re the tow. You’re the tow truck. You’re towing everybody else behind you. You’re at a disadvantage. No one wants to be at a disadvantage.

“So we’re going to cheat the system until they do something about it. Then we’re going to find a new way to cheat the new system.”

Watch the above video to see Wallace discuss more about how he fared during the West Coast Swing.

Updated entry lists for Cup, Truck at Martinsville

Photo by Sean Gardner/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Here are the entry lists for this weekend’s races.

Cup – STP 500 (2 p.m. ET Sunday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-six cars are entered for the sixth Cup race of the year. D.J. Kennington is listed in the No. 77 Spire Motorsports entry.

Jeb Burton is entered in Rick Ware Racing’s No. 52 Ford.

Click here for the entry list.

Gander Outdoors Truck – Martinsville 250 (2 p.m. ET Saturday on Fox Sports 1)

Thirty-nine trucks are entered. Those also entered in the Cup race are Kyle Busch, Austin Dillon and Ross Chastain. Bubba Wallace is entered in AM Racing’s No. 22 truck.

Click here for the entry list.

NASCAR America Motormouths at 5 p.m. ET with Bubba Wallace

NBCSN
Leave a comment

Today’s episode of NASCAR America presents Motormouths airs from 5-6 p.m. ET on NBCSN.

Rutledge Wood hosts with Kyle Petty and they’ll be joined by special guest Bubba Wallace.

Fans will have the chance to call into the show to ask questions.

If you can’t catch today’s show on TV, watch it online at http:/nascarstream.nbcsports.com. If you plan to stream the show on your laptop or portable device, be sure to have your username and password from your cable/satellite/telco provider handy so your subscription can be verified.

Once you enter that information, you’ll have access to the stream.

Click here at 5 p.m. ET to watch live via the stream.

Indy 500 analyst role part of looking forward for Danica Patrick

Getty Images
Leave a comment

It’s been 10 months since Danica Patrick last competed in an auto racing event and she is completely fine with that.

Patrick was last seen in a cockpit in last May’s Indianapolis 500, part of her mini-retirement tour from racing that also included a run in the Daytona 500.

Now she’ll be back at the track, serving as an analyst for NBC’s broadcast of the 103rd Indy 500 on May 26.

It will be an interlude to her post-racing career.

“I really don’t miss racing,” Patrick said during a teleconference Wednesday.  “I’m really happy. I selfishly set out (with) the intention I wanted to travel a lot. I’ve definitely done that. Also working on my other businesses.”

Without racing, Patrick is able to look over her “Warrior” clothing line and her Somnium wine. She’s also been a host of ESPN’s Espy Awards show.

“I’m not a look-back kind of person, I’m a look-forward (person),” Patrick said. “This is something that’s part of looking forward. This is something totally new and different for me. It’s coming at a place where I have a lot of history, but it hasn’t been my job, which is why I’m going to work really hard to make sure I’m ready, like anything else I do that’s different.

Since retiring, Patrick said she watches racing “when I can.”

“I’m not going to lie, I’m happy doing what I’m doing,” Patrick said. “It’s allowed me new opportunities like this.”

This won’t be the first time Patrick has served in an analyst role for a race. She did the same for some Xfinity Series race broadcasts in the last few years of her NASCAR career.

“It’s very good to have had that experience,” Patrick said. “Obviously I was giving my driving experience sort of perspective and that insight, which is something I’m going to be doing again. But it was a guest spot.

“This is firm and established, part of a small team of two with Mike (Tirico) and I. I think there’s going to be a lot more preparation involved, I’m going to need to know a lot more information.”

Patrick said there will be one difference in her Indy 500 experience this year compared to the eight times she competed in the “Greatest Spectacle in Racing.”

“I didn’t purposely look at the buildup of the day,” Patrick said. “I didn’t want to see the fans rolling in, all the pomp and circumstance. I really liked to keep it quiet. I wanted to just walk out there and have it be the event, not let myself get built up too much in my head with nerves, just the platform, the iconic event that it was, the millions of people. I just wanted to stay focused and go do it.

“This time, I’m sure I will see the buildup. I’m sure I’ll see the place fill in and turn from a quiet, peaceful, magical place, (and) at the shot of a cannon it’s going to start unraveling. That will be a cool perspective for me that I purposely haven’t really watched closely.”

and on Facebook