NASCAR Cup Darlington: Jones beats playoff contenders to shock win - Motor Informed
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NASCAR Cup Darlington: Jones beats playoff contenders to shock win

Petty GMS Motorsports driver Jones, who had run in within the prime 10 for a lot of the 367-lap race, inherited the lead with 22 laps remaining when the engine blew on Kyle Busch’s Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota underneath warning.

Jones then led the best way on the restart on lap 348 and spent the ultimate 20 laps holding off a fierce problem from Busch’s team-mate Hamlin, profitable by zero.252 seconds on the flag.

The victory by Jones – who didn’t qualify for the 16-driver playoffs – is his first since he gained the 2019 Southern 500 for JGR and got here 55 years to the day for the final victory at Darlington scored by his present group’s well-known #43 automotive within the fingers of group co-owner Richard Petty.

“He informed me I get a hat if I win,” Jones stated of Petty. “However Richard hasn’t been to Victory Lane at Darlington most likely since he final gained right here. It’s simply superior. Simply so pleased with these guys.

“We’ve been so shut all yr, and I didn’t suppose right this moment was going to be the day. It was going to be a tricky one to win, I knew, however no higher becoming place. I like this observe, I like this race.

“On that trophy twice, man. I used to be pumped to be on it as soon as, however to have it on there twice – fairly cool.”

Jones admitted that “we had plenty of great things go our means” with Busch’s downside, and revealed “these final two [laps] I used to be shedding the steadiness quite a bit”.

His win meant Jones prevented one of many 16 playoff drivers from claiming an automated lock into the second spherical, which might have include a victory.

Requested if there was something totally different he might have carried out to get round Jones, Hamlin stated: “Not with out contact.”

Race winner Erik Jones, Petty GMS Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

Race winner Erik Jones, Petty GMS Motorsports, Chevrolet Camaro

Picture by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

However his runner-up end means Hamlin has moved as much as third within the playoff standings and trails chief Joey Logano by simply eight factors with two races remaining within the first spherical. Austin Cindric, Chase Briscoe, Austin Dillon and Kevin Harvick are the bottom 4 in factors and subsequently in peril of being eradicated.

After taking the ultimate restart second, Tyler Reddick ended up third within the race forward of Logano and Christopher Bell, as Michael McDowell, Brad Keselowski, William Byron, Bubba Wallace and Alex Bowman accomplished the highest 10.

Busch had been difficult on the entrance for a lot of the race, taking victory in Stage 2 forward of team-mate Martin Truex Jr, and moved forward of the 2017 champion on lap 336 when Truex reported he had misplaced energy steering and his engine was overheating.

Busch had emerged from the pits forward following the ninth and final warning of the race attributable to Cody Ware crashing on lap 340 earlier than his engine downside dropped him out. He was categorised 30th.

The 2015 and 2019 champion wasn’t the one playoff contender in bother. Harvick, the 2014 champion, was halted by a fireplace that erupted out of either side of his Stewart-Haas Ford and categorised 33rd. 

Requested what he thought led to the problem, Harvick pulled no punches: “I’m positive it’s simply crappy elements on the race automotive like we’ve seen so many instances.

“They haven’t mounted something. It’s sort of like the protection stuff. We simply let it preserve going and preserve going.

“The automotive began burning and because it burned the flames began coming by way of the sprint. I ran a pair laps after which because the flames acquired larger it began burning stuff up and I feel proper there you see all of the brake fluid that was most likely popping out the brakes and a part of the brake line, however the hearth was coming by way of the sprint.

Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing, Busch Light Ford Mustang

Kevin Harvick, Stewart Haas Racing, Busch Mild Ford Mustang

Picture by: Ben Earp / NKP / Motorsport Images

“What a catastrophe for no purpose. We didn’t contact the wall. We didn’t contact a automotive and right here we’re within the pits with a burned up automotive and we are able to’t end the race through the playoffs due to crappy-ass elements.”

In the meantime Hendrick Chevrolet driver Chase Elliott wrecked within the closing phases of Stage 1, additionally amassing Chase Briscoe, the 2020 champion categorised 36th and dropping to ninth within the playoff standings.

“I simply hit the wall in (Turns) 1 and a couple of and broke one thing within the right-rear,” stated Elliott after being launched from the infield care centre.

Elliott’s team-mate Kyle Larson recovered to 12th after shedding 4 laps early on with a lack of energy and hitting the wall after a Flip four spin on lap 192.




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