Erik Jones sets Truck Series record with Phoenix win
Avondale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Erik Jones became the youngest race winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series after passing Ross Chastain for the lead in the closing laps of Friday night's Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway.
At age 17 years, 5 months and 9 days, Jones broke Chase Elliott's record which he set on Sept. 1 when he won the series' inaugural race in Canada. Elliott, the son of former NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, was 17 years, 9 months and 4 days old at the time of his first win.
"This is unbelievable," Jones said. "All I've ever wanted is to be a winner in NASCAR. It's hard to put it into words right now, and it hasn't even set in yet."
Jones, who drove the No. 51 Toyota for Kyle Busch Motorsports at Phoenix, pulled ahead of Chastain following a restart with nine laps to go. Both drivers combined for a total of 147 laps led in this 150-lap race. Jones ran in front the most with 84. He beat Chastain to the finish line by 1.6 seconds. His maiden truck win came in just his fifth start.
After a restart with 31 laps left, Chastain pulled ahead of Jones to reclaim the lead just before John Wes Townley spun around and crashed into the turn 2 wall. Chastain held off Jones on the next restart.
Darrell Wallace Jr. and Timothy Peters crashed after making contact with 18 laps to go, forcing the seventh and final caution. After the race resumed with 10 laps remaining, Jones challenged Chastain for the top spot numerous times before he made his winning pass on the following lap.
"I just got a really good run off of (turn) 2 and moved underneath (Chastain) and ran him down the backstretch to make the pass," Jones said.
Chastain was behind the wheel of the No. 19 Ford for Brad Keselowski Racing. He also finished second in the Sept. 8 race at Iowa, leading 116 of 212 laps. Chastain gave up the lead to James Buescher with nine laps to go, as Buescher went on to win there.
"Erik drove a great race," Chastain said. "He had a great truck. That thing could roll through the center (of the track) like no other truck here this weekend. He showed that in practice (Thursday), and we were not good in practice. But we came so close with all of the adjustments that we made. I don't know how we could've made our truck much better."
Despite a fifth-place finish, Matt Crafton was not able to clinch the series championship at Phoenix, but Crafton is expected to do so in next Friday's season-finale at Homestead. He will clinch the title by simply starting the race there.
Crafton dealt with braking problems throughout this event.
"I could run about 15 laps and lose about 90 percent of my brake pedal," Crafton said. "When I would come off of turn four, I would pump the brakes 10 to 15 times before I would even have enough brake pedal to stop when going down into the (first) corner."
Brendan Gaughan finished third, while Ty Dillon, the winner of last week's race at Texas, took the fourth spot.
Cale Gale, Ryan Blaney, Johnny Sauter, Buescher and Elliott completed the top-10.
Crafton holds a 46-point lead over Dillon, who moved up to second in the standings. Buescher, the defending truck champion, dropped to third in points (-50).
11/09 00:16:51 ET