Erik Jones Scores First Xfinity Win of the Season

Erik Jones Wins at Texas
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What a difference a pit stop made.

Erik Jones gained two seconds over Ryan Blaney on his final trip to pit road, and that was all the driver of the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota needed for a convincing victory in Saturday’s My Bariatric Solutions 300 NASCAR XFINITY Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

In winning for the second time at Texas, the first time this season and the seventh time in his career, Jones led 112 of the 200 laps and stretched his advantage to more than three seconds in the late going before driving conservatively over the last three laps and beating Blaney to the stripe by .512 seconds.

"I tiptoed a lot there in the segments and ended up letting the 22 (Blaney) catch us and pass us, but then I was just super aggressive the whole time in traffic just trying to make passes as quick as I could and get as many cars as I could between myself and Ryan, and it paid off," Jones said.

[adinserter name="GOOGLE AD"] "I think we were probably a little slower than him for the last few laps – he had so many lapped cars to get around that there was no way he was going to get to us."

Kevin Harvick ran third, 21.383 seconds behind Jones, as only nine drivers finished on the lead lap. Austin Dillon was fourth, followed by Sunoco rookie Cole Custer, who posted a career-best fifth, and Darrell Wallace Jr., who finished sixth for the fifth consecutive race.

With the final stage of the race going green from a restart on lap 98 to the conclusion, Blaney ran down Jones and passed him for the lead on Lap 131. Jones came to pit road for fresh tires and fuel on Lap 147, and Blaney followed a lap later.

In the exchange of stops, Jones went from a half-second behind to 2.178 seconds ahead of the runner-up, and from that point on it was game over.

"I thought our car was pretty good all day," Blaney said. "The 20 seemed to be a little better than us for 35 or 40 laps. Then I feel like we could start running him down. We passed him before the last pit stop, and I thought our car was pretty decent right there. I needed to turn a little better early in a run. I knew it wasn’t going to be that long for the next stint."We didn’t come out with the lead, and that hurt us. I think if we would have come out with the lead, I don’t know if I could have held him off. He was pretty good right away, but we kind of over adjusted and got too free that last run. I felt like we were kind of even with them 10 laps into a run, but then he got so far out ahead that we couldn’t run him down. Just couldn’t get there."

Erik Jones takes the checkered flag at Texas
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Stage racing played a decisive role in strategies employed by NASCAR XFINITY Series regulars versus Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series drivers moonlighting in Saturday’s race. When Garrett Smithley’s spin off Turn 2 brought out the fifth caution on Lap 84, most of the Cup drivers came to pit road. The XFINITY regulars, on the other hand, stayed on the track under the yellow to collect points at the end of the second stage, which concluded on Lap 90. William Byron won the stage and the accompanying playoff point, leading nine XFINITY regulars in the top 10 in that stage.

In contrast, Jones won the first stage, which featured only three full-time XFINITY drivers in the top 10.

Despite finishing 10th as the first driver one lap down, Elliott Sadler retained the series lead by six points over Byron in second place.

Race Results

Pos. # Driver Make Start Laps Led Status Points Playoff Points
1 20 Erik Jones Toyota 2 200 112 Running 0 0
2 22 Ryan Blaney Ford 4 200 43 Running 0 0
3 41 Kevin Harvick Ford 14 200 0 Running 0 0
4 2 Austin Dillon Chevy 3 200 0 Running 0 0
5 00 Cole Custer Ford 6 200 0 Running 32 0
6 6 Darrell Wallace Jr Ford 8 200 1 Running 36 0
7 9 William Byron Chevy 5 200 17 Running 47 1
8 3 Ty Dillon Chevy 12 200 0 Running 0 0
9 19 Matt Tifft Toyota 19 200 0 Running 28 0
10 1 Elliott Sadler Chevy 10 199 0 Running 36 2
11 16 Ryan Reed Ford 9 199 0 Running 40 5
12 18 Daniel Suarez Toyota 15 199 3 Running 0 0
13 7 Justin Allgaier Chevy 20 199 0 Running 31 5
14 23 Spencer Gallagher Chevy 16 199 0 Running 23 0
15 33 Brandon Jones Chevy 13 199 5 Running 28 0
16 11 Blake Koch Chevy 18 198 0 Running 24 0
17 28 Dakoda Armstrong Toyota 23 198 0 Running 20 0
18 39 Ryan Sieg Chevy 17 198 0 Running 23 0
19 62 Brendan Gaughan Chevy 24 198 0 Running 20 0
20 5 Michael Annett Chevy 34 197 0 Running 17 0
21 51 Jeremy Clements Chevy 28 197 0 Running 16 0
22 14 JJ Yeley Toyota 27 197 0 Running 15 0
23 4 Ross Chastain Chevy 22 197 0 Running 14 0
24 99 David Starr Chevy 38 196 0 Running 13 0
25 07 Ray Black Jr Chevy 29 195 0 Running 12 0
26 52 Joey Gase Chevy 35 195 0 Running 11 0
27 78 BJ McLeod Chevy 30 194 0 Running 10 0
28 90 Alex Labbe Chevy 33 194 0 Running 9 0
29 24 Jeb Burton Toyota 21 192 0 Running 8 0
30 0 Garrett Smithley Chevy 32 188 0 Running 7 0
31 40 Timmy Hill Chevy 37 179 0 Running 6 0
32 21 Daniel Hemric Chevy 7 172 0 Running 5 0
33 42 Tyler Reddick Chevy 11 148 0 Running 7 0
34 12 Joey Logano Ford 1 145 19 Engine 0 0
35 01 Harrison Rhodes Chevy 36 137 0 Clutch 2 0
36 8 Jeff Green Chevy 40 114 0 Suspension 1 0
37 48 Brennan Poole Chevy 25 66 0 Accident 1 0
38 98 Casey Mears Ford 26 50 0 Rear Gear 1 0
39 13 Carl Long Toyota 39 24 0 Steering 1 0
40 93 Jordan Anderson Chevy 31 17 0 Electrical 0 0

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