Saturday, May 14, 2016

Lightning strikes twice as Erik Jones gets second win and second Dash 4 Cash $100,000 check

Credit: Beth Reinke for Skirts and Scuffs
By Carol D’Agostino
Weather was definitely on the radar and minds for all the race teams Saturday during the NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Dover International Speedway. When the checkered flag flew for race winner, Erik Jones, the old adage about lightning not striking twice was disproved. For the second time this season, Jones won the NASCAR XFINITY Series Dash 4 Cash and the $100,000 cash prize. His first D4C win was at Bristol Motor Speedway on April 16.
This is Jones’ first victory and second top-10 finish in two races at Dover International Speedway, and his second win and sixth top 10 this season. He led the most laps in the main segment with76.
It's no wonder he was anxious when the second caution flag flew with only nine laps to go.
“It’s not the first time it’s happened to me, unfortunately. If I remember the first time, I was pretty upset and this time I was pretty calm and collected and wasn’t too worried about it,” Jones said. “I knew we had a good car and knew that as long as we got a decent restart, we would be able to hold it off. Enough guys stayed out on old tires with us that we were in a good spot and it all worked out."

Darrell (Bubba) Wallace Jr. came in second and posted his first top 10 in four races at Dover, and his third top-10 finish this season. This is his best showing of the year and the highest NASCAR XFINITY Series finish ever for an African-American driver, improving on his own record of third, twice. And he did it in a backup car, due to a wreck in Friday’s practice.

"I keep saying it, we never give up," Wallace said. "It’s really a credit to my guys right here for really thrashing this thing. It’s unfortunate when you do have to bring the backup car out, (but) we never give up and we work really hard to get some speed in this baby."

Alex Bowman, who appeared in his first race in seven months, came in third and posted his first top-10 finish in five races at Dover.

"I was a little worried, being so rusty," Bowman said. "Obviously, you can’t just take a car to the race track and go test anymore [because of NASCAR rules]. I think Friday morning I was probably the most nervous I’ve been in years, as far as getting in the race car.

"This is one of the toughest places we come. ‘Can I still do this? Am I going to mess up, make stupid mistakes?’… I haven’t given feedback on a racecar in seven months either. I didn’t really do a good job of that throughout practice, but I think (crew chief) Dave (Elenz) overcame it and gave me a really good piece for the race."

The next race in the NASCAR XFINITY Series will be the HISENSE 4K TV 300 on Saturday, May 28 at Charlotte Motor Speedway.