Sunday, November 5, 2017

Erik Jones rides off with the win in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway

photo: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
By Lisa Janine Cloud

Erik Jones scored another cowboy hat for his collection Saturday night in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. He admitted in Victory Lane that he’d bought boots this weekend, prompting track president Eddie Gossage to quip, “We’re going to make a Texan out of you yet, Michigan boy.”

The victory is Jones third in the Xfinity Series this season, and his third Xfinity win at the Great American Speedway. He visited Victory Lane once in the Camping World Truck Series.

Jones led five times for 142 laps, including both stage wins in a race that saw only 11 lead changes.

“I thought starting the race off, man we’re really fast, we’re really good, this is going to be a mostly dominant race for us and didn’t turn out that way. We led a lot of laps, but it seemed like we were really working for it, but you know that’s kind of the way it is, Jones said. “The Xfinity Series has really gotten tighter and tighter year by year and it’s been really close all year long, so just happy to get the GameStop Camry back in victory lane again. It’s been a few months since I’ve gotten a win since they’ve gotten a win, so happy to come back to Texas again and grab another one.”

Eddie Gossage points to the remnants of Erik Jones' post-burnout tire.
photo: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs 

Ryan Blaney brought the No. 22 Discount Tire Mustang home second, his fifth top-ten finish in five races at Texas, and his 11th top-ten in the series in 2017.

“I thought it was a good night for us. It just stinks we couldn’t get around him [Jones]. I thought we had a shot after the green-flag stop. I thought we were way better but we got held up a couple times by traffic. I thought we had the car to win, just a matter of trying to get in front of him and I couldn’t pass anybody. I tried to get him loose a couple times and couldn’t do it. I about wrecked myself trying to get him loose. It is really hard to get around anybody. Hopefully that gets a little better for tomorrow.”

Kyle Larson finished third, dodging a pit road penalty for pitting while pit road was closed. Because the car was not serviced and he maintained pit road speed, the No. 42 did not incur a penalty.

Elliott Sadler wound up fourth, but gained the series points lead, up by five over William Byron, who finished ninth. Cole Custer was the highest finishing rookie with his fifth-place finish.

Heading into Phoenix, Justin Allgaier and Brennan Poole sit third and fourth in the points respectively, with Matt Tifft, Cole Custer and Daniel Hemric below the cut-off line.


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