Erik Jones Solidifies No. 1 Chase Seed With Win At Chicagoland Speedwayby Hunter Thomas September 18, 2016 0 comments
JOLIET, Ill. – Joe Gibbs Racing’s Erik Jones led 10 laps en route to winning The Drive for Safety 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Saturday.
Jones’ fourth win of the season earns him the No. 1 seed in the NASCAR XFINITY Series’ Chase. A late-race caution came out on lap 183, when Jones’ teammate, Kyle Busch spun off of Turn 2. Busch has been dominate all day, leading a race high of 154 laps. The restart bunched the field back up, and with nine laps to go, Jones was able to take the lead away from Elliott Sadler. The 20-year old never looked back as he earned his second victory at Chicagoland Speedway.
“It was tough,” Jones said. “I knew we were in a good spot on tires, but we pretty far back – think we restarted sixth there. I didn’t know if Hisense Camry was going to have enough time to get back up to the front, but we had a really good restart and got clear to third and then just had to go chase Elliott (Sadler) down. It was a matter of time before we got around him. What an awesome day. Get a win before the Chase, this is a great momentum for us.”
The Drive for Safety 300 featured some incredible racing upfront. There were 22 lead changes among 11 leaders. There were eight cautions throughout the afternoon, but only one of them was for a multicar accident. On lap 103, Kyle Larson and Ryan Reed got together on the backstretch to bring out the fifth caution of the day. Larson was able to battle back for a second place finish.
Elliott Sadler, Daniel Suarez and Justin Allgaier rounded out the top-five. Completing the top-10 were NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano, followed by Brendan Gaughan, Paul Menard and Brandon Jones.
The inaugural Chase field is now set for the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Jones will kick off the playoff by having a six-point lead over Elliott Sadler. Daniel Suarez is third, only nine points back. Ty Dillon, Justin Allgaier, Darrell Wallace Jr., Brendan Gaughan, Brennan Poole, Ryan Sieg, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones and Blake Koch are all 12 points back.
The Round of 12 will begin on Saturday, September 24 as the NASCAR XFINITY Series visits Kentucky Speedway for the VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300. Live coverage of the race will broadcast on the NBC Sports Network (NBCSN) and the Performance Racing Network (PRN) at 8 p.m. ET.
Photo Credit: Jeff Zelevansky/NASCAR via Getty Images