Blake Jones Wins Wild International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200by Kyle Pokrefky May 2, 2015 0 comments
Talladega, Ala. — In just his second start in the ARCA Racing Series, 18-year-old Blake Jones scored his first series victory at Talladega Superspeedway on Friday evening in the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200.
Taking advantage of his Cunningham Motorsports teammate Tom Hessert running out of fuel on a one-lap restart to decide the race, Jones assumed the lead from his teammate – the defending winner of the event – and sailed away to the checkered flag ahead of Cody Coughlin, Cole Powell and Brandon Jones.
Completing the top-10 of the ARCA Racing Series’s fifth race of the season were Russ Dugger, Matt Kurzejewski, Scott Sheldon, Sarah Cornett-Ching, Bo LeMastus and Tyler Audie.
“This is a dream come true,” the driver of the No. 22 Uncle Ray’s Potato Chips Dodge said in victory lane. “To come here and win at Talladega in just my second restrictor plate track is unbelievable.
“We had been working on restarts all day trying to get a jump on [Hessert.] I don’t know if we would have been able to get him on that one or not, but when he dropped down I just had to hang in there.”
The winning Jones led a total of eight laps during the race and was one of three different drivers to lead at various points of the extended 76-lap event – Coughlin and Hessert were the only other two drivers to get a taste of the lead during the evening.
As is normally the case at Talladega, while there are those who depart the 2.66-mile superspeedway celebrating their respective finishes – or just celebrating the fact their car made it home unscathed, there are those who leave Talladega that are not as fortunate.
Two major accidents took out a variety of race – and championship – contenders out of the running for the race victory.
Austin Wayne Self, who entered the race second in points, went for a spin on the frontstretch after losing the air on his No. 98 AM Technical Solutions Ford while in the lead pack. As Self spun, the No. 48 of Brad Smith collided with the No. 98 machine, sending Smith’s car into the outside wall and then straight towards the SAFER barrier-covered inside wall following pit exit.
Making hard contact with barrier, Smith’s No. 48 machine bounced off the inside wall and arced its way up and down the Turn 1 banking before resting near the inside guardrail in Turn 1.
Smith was taken to a local hospital overnight and underwent surgery on both of his ankles. The Shelby Township, Mich. native was able to get out of his mangled car and walk to the on-site ambulance under his own power.
Points leader Grant Enfinger was also involved in a late wreck on Lap 66 as he received some help into the outside backstretch wall, collecting the No. 69 Ford of Will Kimmel as he made his way back down the track.
Ken Schrader Racing’s No. 52 entry was taken out of contention for its second straight win as driver Clay Campbell was unable to avoid Kimmel’s spinning car.
With the first and second-place drivers in the points standings encountering issues, the drivers standings have tightened up entering the second quarter of the season as five drivers are now within 200 points of Enfinger’s lead.
Entering the Menards 200 at Toledo Speedway, Enfinger takes a 100-point lead over David Levine, the leading Scott Rookie of the Year contender.
Top-10 Finishers of the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200
- 22 – Blake Jones – Dodge – Cunningham Motorsports
- 55 – Cody Coughlin – Toyota – Venturini Motorsports
- 58 – Cole Powell – Ford – Lira Motorsports
- 25 – Brandon Jones – Toyota – Venturini Motorsports
- 80 – Russ Dugger – Chevrolet – Finney-Gosselin Racing
- 54 – Matt Kurzejewski – Chevrolet – Kurzejewski Motorsports
- 20 – Scott Sheldon – Chevrolet – GMS Racing
- 2 – Sarah Cornett-Ching – Chevrolet – Hixson Racing
- 42 – Bo LeMastus – Dodge – Crosley Sports Group
- 12 – Tyler Audie – Toyota – Tyler Audie Racing
Drivers Standings after Round 5 of 20
- 23 – Grant Enfinger – GMS Racing – 1230 | Leader
- 59 – David Levine – Lira Motorsports – 1130 | -100
- 6 – Josh Williams – Josh Williams Motorsports – 1125 | -105
- 98 – Austin Wayne Self – Mason Mitchell Motorsports – 1115 | -115
- 77 – Tom Hessert – Cunningham Motorsports – 1105 | -125
- 9 – Thomas Praytor – Max Force Racing – 1025 | -205
- 2 – Sarah Cornett-Ching – Hixson Racing – 1020 | -210
- 42 – Bo LeMastus – Crosley Sports Group – 965 | -265
- 97 – Bobby Hamilton Jr. – Carter 2 Motorsports – 945 | -285
- 48 – Brad Smith – Hylton Motorsports – 875 | -355
Photo credit: ARCAracing.com