Avondale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) – Erik Jones put on a dominating performance
but benefited from a power outage with 24 laps remaining to win Friday’s Lucas
Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The start of the 150-lap truck race at this 1-mile oval was delayed more than
an hour due to an outage at the track and the surrounding areas. The track’s
lights went out. The lighting system was knocked out again on lap 126, forcing
the seventh and final caution. NASCAR officials called the race shortly after.
Jones, who is driving the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports in a
partial schedule this season, started on the pole and led 114 of 126 laps. His
KBM teammate, Darrell Wallace Jr., led the other 12 laps, which occurred
during a round of green-flag pit stops in the late going.
The 18-year-old Jones scored his third win in his 12th truck start this
season. One year ago, he became the youngest driver to win a NASCAR national
touring series race by taking the checkered flag for the truck event at
Phoenix, doing so at age 17 years, 5 months and 9 days.
In September, 16-year-old Cole Custer surpassed Jones’ record when he won the
truck race at New Hampshire.
Jones also gave KBM its record 13th victory in the Truck Series this season.
Kyle Busch has won seven races in the No. 51, while Jones and Wallace have
three victories each. Wallace is in his second full season driving the No. 54
for the team.
On Thursday, KBM and Joe Gibbs Racing jointly announced that Jones will
compete full time for KBM in the Truck Series and run a partial schedule for
JGR in the Xfinity (now known as Nationwide) Series.
Ryan “Rudy” Fugle will serve as Jones’ crew chief in trucks next year, but his
entry number and team sponsor in that series have yet to be decided.
Matt Crafton’s second-place finish coupled with a fourth-place run for Ryan
Blaney allowed Crafton to widen his points lead to 25 over Blaney. The series
will conclude its season next Friday at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Blaney was one of many drivers who was disappointed that NASCAR called the
race short of its scheduled distance.
All Crafton needs to do is finish 21st or better at Homestead, and he will
become the first driver in the 20-year history of the series to win
Custer finished third, while Ben Rhodes placed fifth.
Wallace, John H. Nemechek, Austin Dillon, the only Sprint Cup Series regular
who competed in this race, Johnny Sauter and Tyler Reddick completed the
In addition to the power outages, this race featured numerous wrecks,
including a four-truck incident on the opening lap. After the green flag had
waved, John Wes Townley, German Quiroga and Justin Jennings piled up. Track
cleanup was extensive, forcing 17 laps of caution.
Then on lap 27, Timothy Peters, Jeb Burton and Spencer Gallagher were involved
in an accident in turn 3.