Erik Jones Sweeps Texas Motor Speedway With Win In O’Reilly Auto Parts 300by Camille Jones November 5, 2017
FORT WORTH, Tex. – Erik Jones held off Ryan Blaney in a hard-fought battle through lapped traffic after late-race green flag pit stops to win the NASCAR XFINITY Series O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway on Saturday night.
Jones drove his Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 GameStop/Call of Duty WWII Toyota to his third victory in 2017, including a victory in the spring race at Texas Motor Speedway earlier in the season. Jones led 142 laps in Saturday night’s 200-lap race, also winning the first two stages of the event.
“I thought starting the race off, man we’re really fast, we’re really good, this is going to be a mostly dominant race for us and didn’t turn out that way,” Jones said. “We led a lot of laps, but it seemed like we were really working for it, but you know that’s kind of the way it is. The XFINITY Series has really gotten tighter and tighter year by year and it’s been really close all year long, so just happy to get the GameStop Camry back in victory lane again. It’s been a few months since I’ve gotten a win, since they’ve gotten a win, so happy to come back to Texas again and grab another one.”
The field was forced to make green flag pit stops with less than 20 laps remaining in the race. No one was going to make it on fuel to the end without stopping. Blaney was able to stay within several car lengths of Jones after coming off of pit road for the time, but through dicing around lapped traffic, he was unable to get a run to challenge for the lead. The driver of the Team Penske No. 22 Discount Tire Ford had to settle for a second-place finish behind Jones.
Kyle Larson finished in the third position after overcoming a pit road mishap where he drove onto pit road when the pits were closed.
Elliott Sadler was able to grab a fourth-place finish, keeping him in the lead for the NASCAR Playoff standings. The driver of the No. 1 Dale’s Pale Ale Chevrolet leads over his teammate, William Byron, by five points in the standings.
After starting second, Cole Custer quickly lost a ton of track position, almost unable to control his car before falling to 28th early in the race. He came down pit road with a punctured right-rear tire and lost a lap in the process. The caution came out quickly for another incident on the track, but he was trapped a lap down. Custer rallied back to be able to take a wave-around later in the event, when a timely caution then allowed him to head to pit road and join the rest of the field without losing any more time. Custer made the comeback of the night to finish in the fifth position, keeping him close enough to remain in the championship hunt.
Christopher Bell, Brennan Poole, Matt Tifft, William Byron and Austin Dillon completed the top-10 in the finishing order in the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300.
There were seven cautions for a total of 33 laps under yellow flag conditions on Saturday night, all for stage endings and single-car incidents.
There’s just one race left to set the Championship 4 field that will compete for the NASCAR XFINITY Series Championship in the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The series heads to Phoenix International Raceway for the Ticket Galaxy 200 on Saturday, November 11 at 3:30 p.m. ET. Live race coverage will be found on NBC and the Motor Racing Network (MRN).
Photo Credit: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images for Texas Motor Speedway