Erik Jones Passes Ty Dillon In Final Laps To Win At Iowa Speedwayby Hunter Thomas July 31, 2016 0 comments
NEWTON, Iowa – In the closing laps of Saturday’s U.S. Cellular 250, Erik Jones was able to pass and hold off Ty Dillon for the victory at Iowa Speedway.
Erik Jones led a race high of 154 laps after starting the race in second. The 20-year old now has three victories this season. He won at Bristol Motor Speedway in April and again at Dover International Speedway in May. On Saturday night, the driver of the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 DeWalt Toyota Camry not only captured yet, another win, but he earned his 11th top-five and 12th top-10 out of the 19 races this year.
“Well, we didn’t have a fuel issue – a fuel pickup issue – which was nice. Just a really great race car, DEWALT FLEXVOLT Camry, so cool to get these guys to victory lane and just a great day for us. It was a great race car. Felt really good about it yesterday – what we had in practice – and it carried over in the race today, so just really happy to be here, really happy to get another win for these guys and we deserve many more and we were long overdue for one and just feels good to get it for them.”
Jones made the winning pass on Richard Childress Racing’s Ty Dillon with just 15 laps to go. Erik Jones made the pass coming out of Turn 4 on lap 235. Dillon fought back on the high side as they entered Turn 1, but Jones cleared the No. 3 Bass Pro Shops/TRACKER Chevrolet Camaro by the time they reached the backstretch. The two drivers had been battling each other hard for the race lead throughout the final 83 laps in Saturday’s race.
“I was working pretty hard the last 60 lap or so and trying to get that spot back, you know,” Jones said. “We got back in traffic on that last restart and just couldn’t get it back. He (Ty Dillon) did a good job playing aero games and getting us behind and I was working hard trying everything I could and finally I got a really good run when he got hung up with the lap car and was able to get clear of him. I don’t know if that lap car – if I would have been able to get around him straight up – but once you got in clear air I felt really good about it. I was just taking it easy and smooth sailing from there.”
Although Dillon came up short on Saturday night, he still holds third in the championship point standings and is 161 points ahead of Blake Koch, who hold 12th, the final transfer spot into the Chase. As Dillon hunts for his first NASCAR XFINITY Series championship, he has accumulated six top-five and 12 top-10 finishes so far this season.
Finishing behind Erik Jones and Ty Dillon was Elliott Sadler, who took over the lead in the championship standings with the third place finish. He now leads Daniel Suarez by 14 points. Dillon is 35 points back. Sadler has finished within the top-10 in all 12 starts that he’s had at Iowa Speedway.
Brennan Poole finished fourth, and Dakoda Armstrong has an impressive fifth place finish. In fact, the top-five marks his very first in his five years of NASCAR XFINITY Series competition. The 2016 season only marks his third full year in the series. His previous 18 starts this season were with JGL Racing, but on Saturday, he piloted Joe Gibbs Racing’s No. 18 WinField Toyota Camry.
“First off, I’ve got to thank God just being here and thank Matt Tifft for this opportunity and everyone from Joe Gibbs Racing,” Armstrong said. “I kind of struggled there through the middle – lost a lot of track position – but there at the end the car just kind of came to life. If we would have done a better job of holding on to track position, we would have had a shot at an even better finish. Still a good finish, but I was really happy to be here. Just thought we had a little bit more out there at the end, so still good – just a little disappointed. All good.”
Rounding out the top-10 was Sam Hornish Jr., Justin Allgaier, Brad Keselowski, Josh Berry and Ryan Reed.
There were six caution for 29 laps in the U.S. Cellular 250, but they were all for either single car accidents or debris.
Next on the schedule for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the Zippo 200 at the Glen on Saturday, August 6. Live coverage of the race at Watkins Glen International will be broadcast on CNBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN) at 2 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jonathan Moore/NASCAR via Getty Images