Erik Jones Powers By Busch and Larson To Win In Bristolby Hunter Thomas April 16, 2016 0 comments
BRISTOL, Tenn. – On a restart with three laps to go, Erik Jones powered his way past Kyle Busch and eventually by Kyle Larson to win Saturday’s Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Erik Jones was fastest in qualifying, won his heat and led 62 laps en route to the victory. On top of the race win, the 19-year old won an extra $100,000 for winning this weekend’s Dash 4 Cash. Jones only has three wins in the NASCAR XFINITY Series, and Saturday’s marked his first of the season and his first at The Last Great Colosseum.
“We got a really good restart and Kyle just left the top open and we went up there and he worked pretty hard to keep us behind him,” Jones said. “We just kept digging and it worked out. Just an awesome feeling. I never thought we’d get our first win here at Bristol this year.”
Throughout the afternoon, it appeared to be the Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson show. The two drivers swapped the lead on six occasions. Busch, who finished runner-up, led 43 laps. On the last restart of the afternoon, Kyle said that his car just didn’t go, and that opened the door for Erik Jones to pass him on the high side as the field entered Turn 1.
“The restarts for us were horrible today,” Busch said. “I’d go to the gas both times and the car just shut off and wouldn’t go. It just stumbled – just too much throttle too soon, I don’t know. It’s frustrating when you’re in position to have a chance and you just throw it away. Obviously Jones was in a good position there and great job to those guys. He deserves the win, but the class of the field, the two cars that were the class of the field didn’t win today. Oh well.”
As for Kyle Larson, he led 94 laps, more than any other driver on Saturday. However, on lap 198, he was passed by Jones, who never looked back. The third place finish is Larson’s third top-10 in only seven races this season.
“I knew I would be battling Erik in (Turns) 1 and 2,” said Larson, commenting about the final restart of the race. “I knew Kyle was pretty good around the bottom, and I was hoping that they’d get to racing behind me, but Erik just did a really good job taking off on that restart.”
Austin Dillon finished fourth, and Justin Allgaier finished fifth. Rounding out the top-10 on Saturday was Daniel Suarez, Ty Dillon, Kevin Harvick, Joey Logano and Aric Almirola.
Daniel Suarez continues to lead the championship point standings by six points over Erik Jones. Justin Allgaier is third, eight points back from the lead. Elliott Sadler is fourth, 10 points back, and Brandon Jones completes the top-five, 19 points behind leader, Suarez.
The next event for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the ToyotaCare 250 at Richmond International Raceway on Saturday, April 23. Coverage for the race will broadcast live on FOX Sports 1 (FS1) and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Hunter Thomas