Saturday, April 11, 2015

Erik Jones wins from the pole in No Limits, Texas

Credit: Debbie Ross/Skirts and Scuffs 
Erik Jones may be from Michigan, but his victory from the pole in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 lived up to the Wild-West ethos of No Limits, Texas.

Fans should not have expected any less, though, given that he got his ride in NASCAR’s upper tiers by giving Kyle Busch no quarter in the 2012 Snowball Derby.

The kid who received his high school diploma last June before the Truck race scored his first Xfinity Series in a shootout Friday night under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway. The 18-year-old Camping World Truck Series regular raced side-by-side with Cup regulars Brad Keselowski, Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Denny Hamlin, to become the second-youngest winner at Texas Motor Speedway behind Chase Elliott.

Jones gave Earnhardt Jr. a tap on the bumper to get him to move over, but he wouldn’t give. In post-race interviews, Earnhardt said had he been able to reach Jones again, he’d have returned the favor. When asked what he’d have thought had that happened, Jones said, “I’d have thought it was cool that Dale Jr. pushed me.” Earnhardt finished third, while Keselowski wound up second.

“We ran wide-open there for the last two or three laps side-by-side and eventually he (Jones) had a little more speed and cleared us,” said Keselowski.

Regan Smith came home fourth, Austin Dillon fifth and Darrell Wallace Jr., the top-finishing rookie, came home with sixth.

The race featured 15 lead changes among eight drivers and slowed six times for a total of 30 caution laps.

Ty Dillon retains the points lead despite a pit road penalty from which his team never recovered. He’s two points ahead of Chris Buescher, who finished ninth.


The unofficial finishing order:

Fin Car No.  Driver Led Pts
1 20    Erik Jones 79 0
2 22    Brad Keselowski 56 0
3 88    Dale Earnhardt, Jr. 25 0
4 7    Regan Smith 0 40
5 33    Austin Dillon 1 0
6 6    Darrell Wallace, Jr. 3 39
7 54    Denny Hamlin 0 0
8 9    Chase Elliott 0 36
9 60    Chris Buescher 0 35
10 2    Brian Scott 26 35
11 1    Elliott Sadler 0 33
12 3    Ty Dillon 0 32
13 42    Brennan Poole 0 31
14 98    Sam Hornish, Jr. 0 0
15 16    Ryan Reed 0 29
16 43    Dakoda Armstrong 7 29
17 25    John Wes Townley 0 0
18 18    Daniel Suarez 0 26
19 28    J.J. Yeley 0 25
20 39    Ryan Sieg 0 24
21 4    Ross Chastain 0 23
22 51    Jeremy Clements 0 22
23 44    David Starr 0 21
24 19    Mike Bliss 0 20
25 1    Landon Cassill 0 19
26 55    Brandon Gdovic 0 18
27 0    Harrison Rhodes 0 17
28 90    Mario Gosselin 0 16
29 24    Eric McClure 0 15
30 97    Peyton Sellers 0 14
31 52    Joey Gase 0 13
32 8    Blake Koch 0 12
33 62    Brendan Gaughan 3 12
34 14    Cale Conley 0 10
35 13    Timmy Hill 0 0
36 70    Derrike Cope 0 8
37 15    Stanton Barrett 0 7
38 10    Jeff Green 0 6
39 40    Derek White 0 5
40 74    Mike Harmon 0 4

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