Erik Jones Wins Second Xfinity Race, Second Dash 4 Cash Bonus of the Yearby Benjamin Sanders May 15, 2016 0 comments
DOVER, Del. – Erik Jones won the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200 at Dover International Speedway on Saturday, claiming his second victory this season and winning the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash $100,000.
The victory is the fourth of Jones’s Xfinity Series career and second on a high banked concrete track this season after also winning the Xfinity Dash 4 Cash event at Bristol Motor Speedway.
The weekend format utilized two very exciting, 40-lap heats full of drama and action. In heat one, Jones and Justin Allgaier remained within half-a-second of each other exchanging the lead three times with Allgaier taking the win and pole for the feature.
The second heat started with Elliot Sadler jumping the restart and being issued a drive through penalty. Later, a hard crash for Justin Marks on the 27th lap caused the first caution in a heat race this season. Marks’s car was destroyed and per NASCAR rules could not go to a backup for the main event. On the restart, Ty Dillon aggressively drove around leader Daniel Suarez to qualify for Dash 4 Cash eligibility in the main event.
In the main race, Allgaier and Dillon led the field to green for 120 fast paced laps. Dillon’s car took off for 12 laps until Jones drove around him and away from the pack by more than three seconds.
As is often the case with Dover, handling and traffic proved to be major factors.
Over the course of the run, Alex Bowman, making his first of nine starts for JR Motorsports, closed on Jones – taking advantage of the leader being held up in heavy lapped traffic just before halfway. Bowman subsequently drove off to a substantial lead until a debris caution was thrown on lap 71.
By this point, the pit window was open and the entire field pitted for adjustments and four fresh Goodyear racing tires. The caution bunched the field back together which was a welcome sight for Sadler, who drove from 32nd to the top five. It was not so much for Suarez, who incurred a speeding penalty.
It was more of the same after the restart, with Jones leading the JRM contingent of Bowman, Allgaier and Sadler with Richard Childress Racing driver Paul Menard in a backup car running fifth.
Over this run, Darrell Wallace Jr. displayed his strong long run speed by driving his Ford Mustang backup car to the fringes of the top-five. Contrasting fortunes for Menard, however, as his Chevrolet developed a suspension issue, causing him to fall out of contention.
The trouble was not over for RCR drivers, however, as Brendan Gaughan brought the caution out after spinning in turn two with 11 laps remaining; eradicating Jones’s three-second lead.
The majority of the lead lap cars pitted with Jones, Allgaier, Joey Logano and Wallace Jr. staying out to gain track position. Sadler was the first off pit road with two tires followed by Bowman with four tires.
The Toyota Camry pace car pulled in with five laps remaining to set up a frantic restart. Jones took the lead after a massive push from Wallace Jr. in the outside lane clearing the inside cars of Allgaier and Logano.
Jones gapped the field by a full second, claiming the checkered flag followed by Wallace Jr. with a personal best second-place finish and the hard charging Alex Bowman with a very respectable third. Rounding out the top-five was Allgaier and Dillon – the latter rebounding from an ill-handling race car early.
The Xfinity Series is off until Memorial Day weekend at Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Hisense 300 on Saturday, May 28.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images