Written by Adrian Beecher
Daytona Beach, FL – Daytona Beach, FL -In the first 56 races of Erik Jones Cup series, he never saw victory lane. However, on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway, all the waiting paid off in Jones’ 57 cup race as he took the checkered flag after making a pass on Kasey Kahne with only 1 lap to go in the 2nd overtime.
“Oh, boy. How about that race, boys and girls? That was something else. I thought that we were out of it and we were right back in it.” said Jones, “Took the lead and ran away. Wow, what an awesome race. To have buyatoyota.com on here and my first win at Daytona. My first superspeedway win. What an awesome day. I am out of breath. Too much smoke in the car from that burnout. I can barely breathe. What an awesome finish.”
The closest to winning that Jones came to winning was back in 2017 Bristol fall race when he placed 2nd. Take that finish into account, Jones had only 6 top five prior to his win Saturday night.
Locked into the playoffs now, Jones sits 6th in the playoff standings and 13th in overall driver standings. He becomes just the 7th driver to win a race so far this season with Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, and Martin Truex Jr. dominating the wins this season with a combined 13 wins in the 18 races so far this season.
Of the top three playoff drivers, only Martin Trux Jr. made it to the finish line. Busch bowed out early on lap 66 as Ricky Stenhouse Jr. clipped him while running in 3rd. This cause Busch to clip the leader at the time, William Byron, causing a big pile up. This was after a strong run all night from Busch.
“I don’t know. Disappointing to get crashed out by the same guy that caused the first crash. Our Interstate Batteries Camry showed some good speed and patience there in that first stage. We were able to come home second and grab some points there.” said a frustrated Kyle Busch postrace.
Harvick was contending for the win when he found himself caught up in a big wreck in overtime just before Martin Truex Jr. crossed the start-finish line to take the white flag.
Then it came down to the 2nd overtime where Truex Jr. got the first big push, while Jones didn’t get any help on the restart. Kasey Kahne got a big run on Truex Jr. and went to the outside to make the pass. Kahne was able to make the full pass before he had Truex Jr. on his left and Erik Jones on his right, making the pass and leaving Kahne behind.
It was a drag race to the finish with the edge going to Jones, holding off Truex Jr. to capture his first career Cup Series win and put his name in for the contention of the NASCAR Cup Series Championship.