Erik Jones emerges from wild Daytona race to earn first Cup win
A crazy race at Daytona International Speedway produced an unexpected and first-time winner in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Erik Jones powered to the outside and grabbed the lead from Martin Truex Jr. on the final lap of the second overtime and held on to win the Coke Zero 400, his first series victory in his 57th start.
The only lap Jones led was on the last one in a race that went eight laps over the scheduled 160-lap distance.
“How about that boys and girls?” Jones said after getting out of his No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
A.J. Allmendinger finished third, Kasey Kahne was fourth and Chris Buescher completed the top five.
Rounding out the Top 10 were Ty Dillon, Matt DiBenedetto, Ryan Newman, Austin Dillon and Alex Bowman.
"That was something else. I thought that we were out of it and we were right back in it. Took the lead and ran away. Wow, what an awesome race," Jones, 21, said. "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.”
Asked about qualifying for the playoffs, Jones said: "I didn’t think we were going to have a shot to win this one about halfway. Got ourselves back into contention and our guys did a great job getting this thing fixed up.
"I’ve never been that good on superspeedways and never thought this was our shot to win. But to get here tonight, that’s pretty awesome. It’s our first win and not much that has felt better than this one."
Following pit stops between Stages 2 and 3, Ty Dillon took over the race lead followed by Clint Bowyer, Kahne, Newman and Michael McDowell when the race returned to green on Lap 87.
Bowyer moved into the lead just before the start of Lap 88, followed by Kahne and McDowell.
McDowell quickly made his way into the lead off Turn 4 with Bayne and Kahne close behind.
On Lap 92, Truex made his way into the third position followed by Ricky Stenhouse Jr. and Kevin Harvick. One lap later, Stenhouse was back up to third. Stenhouse moved into second on Lap 93.
With 60 laps left in the race, McDowell continued to lead the way followed by Stenhouse, Harvick, Bowman and Jimmie Johnson.
Johnson moved up into the second position on Lap 108 and he powered to the outside and moved into the lead for the first time in the race on Lap 109.
McDowell moved back into the lead on Lap 114 as Johnson dropped back to second and Stenhouse third. Johnson quickly got back around McDowell to reclaim the lead.
On Lap 121, most cars hit pit road to begin a cycle of green-flag pit stops to ensure they had enough fuel to make it to the finish.
Johnson was penalized during the stops for pitting outside his box and was called back to pit road to serve a one-lap penalty. Bowyer was penalized for having an uncontrolled tire during his stop.
On Lap 125, Stenhouse and Kyle Larson wrecked off Turn 4 to place the race under caution. With Johnson serving his penalty, Truex inherited the race lead.
I think I cut a tire. It just spun out on me when I turned into (Turn) 3. A little bit unlucky there for Ricky,” Larson said. “He had just blended on the track and then I drive around him and just unlucky timing on both of our parts I guess there. I am not sure how much damage he has, but I hate that for him.”
On the restart with 32 laps remaining in the race, Truex was followed by Kahne, Austin Dillon, A.J. Allmendinger and D.J. Kennington.
Kennington spun off Turn 2 on Lap 133 to bring out another caution. On the restart with 23 laps to go in the race, Truex remained in the lead followed by Kahne, Darrell Wallace Jr., Newman and Allmendinger.
Kahne moved into the lead shortly after the restart followed by Newman and Harvick. Harvick moved into second on Lap 139.
With 17 to go, Truex moved back into third behind Harvick and leader Kahne. Stenhouse, running 11th, developed a tire rub.
On Lap 150, Stenhouse spun off Turn 4 and into the frontstretch grass to bring out the caution. The race returned to green with six laps to go and Kahne clinging to the lead.
With a shove from Truex, Harvick moved into the lead with five laps remaining.
With four to go, a multi-car wreck erupted off Turn 2 that collected Johnson, Joey Gase, Aric Almirola and Michael McDowell. The wreck sent the race into overtime.
To start the overtime, Harvick led the way followed by Truex, Bowyer, Jones and Bayne.
Truex took the lead on the restart but before the field took the white flag, Darrell Wallace Jr. and Clint Bowyer made contact on the frontstretch that triggered another multi-car wreck and sent the race into a second overtime.
To start the second overtime, Truex led the way followed by Jones, Kahne, Buescher and DiBenedetto.
|2||78||Martin Truex Jr.||Toyota||168||0.125||20|
|14||43||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Chevrolet||167||31.814|
|15||38||David Ragan||Ford||167||1 lap|
|16||51||Ray Black Jr.||Chevrolet||167||1 lap|
|17||17||Ricky Stenhouse Jr.||Ford||167||1 lap||51|
|18||23||J.J. Yeley||Toyota||166||2 laps|
|19||4||Kevin Harvick||Ford||162||6 laps||8|
|20||6||Trevor Bayne||Ford||162||6 laps|
|21||15||Ross Chastain||Chevrolet||162||6 laps|
|22||14||Clint Bowyer||Ford||162||6 laps||2|
|23||48||Jimmie Johnson||Chevrolet||162||6 laps||10|
|24||99||Landon Cassill||Chevrolet||162||6 laps|
|25||00||Joey Gase||Chevrolet||161||7 laps|
|26||34||Michael McDowell||Ford||155||13 laps||20|
|27||10||Aric Almirola||Ford||155||13 laps|
|28||21||Paul Menard||Ford||152||16 laps|
|29||42||Kyle Larson||Chevrolet||123||45 laps|
|30||1||Jamie McMurray||Chevrolet||68||100 laps|
|31||72||Corey Lajoie||Chevrolet||65||103 laps|
|32||24||William Byron||Chevrolet||64||104 laps||12|
|33||18||Kyle Busch||Toyota||64||104 laps||1|
|34||9||Chase Elliott||Chevrolet||54||114 laps||11|
|35||19||Daniel Suarez||Toyota||54||114 laps|
|36||2||Brad Keselowski||Ford||53||115 laps||9|
|37||41||Kurt Busch||Ford||53||115 laps|
|38||11||Denny Hamlin||Toyota||53||115 laps|
|39||22||Joey Logano||Ford||53||115 laps|
|40||12||Ryan Blaney||Ford||53||115 laps|
Over half the field taken out in consecutive wrecks at Daytona
Stenhouse: "I was frustrated with myself causing crashes like that"