Tuesday June 23, 2015
Erik Jones could get used to this real quick.
He won the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 XFINITY Series race at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday, less than 48 hours after also pulling into Victory Lane at Iowa Speedway following Friday night's Camping World Truck Series race at that track.
This time, Jones won while driving the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing. He won while driving a truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports on Friday.
"What a day, what a day," the 19-year-old Jones told FOX Sports afterward. "Thanks to (JGR test driver) Drew Herring, who shook this thing down for us two days ago (in practice) and got it right and we took it to Victory Lane today.
”It's been a pretty awesome week for me."
In Sunday's race, which originally was scheduled for Saturday night but was postponed until Sunday afternoon because of rain, Jones again seized control when it mattered most down the stretch. He passed fellow young gun Ryan Blaney with 11 laps to go, grabbing the lead for good.
Blaney finished second, followed by pole sitter Austin Dillon. Brendan Gaughan and series points leader Chris Buescher rounded out the top five.
Blaney wrecked his primary car in qualifying and had to got to a backup, starting the race at the rear of the field. But his No. 22 Team Penske Ford ended up being one of the fastest cars on the day, leading 43 laps.
Only Jones, who led a race-high 94 laps, was at the point more than Blaney.
"Our car was just too tight for the 54 (of Jones) at the end," Blaney said. "We struggled on the restarts, and that kept setting us back. ... I hurt us real bad wrecking our primary in qualifying. For them to come out here and pull a backup out and have a car that had a good chance of winning the race, that speaks a lot of the team. Wrecking the primary was all my fault, but you can't take anything away from them."
While Dillon, a Sprint Cup Series regular, dominated the practice sessions and qualifying leading up to the actual race, he did not in the end have enough car for either Jones or Blaney.
"We were just a little off of where we needed to be to win the race today," said Dillon, who led 28 laps.
Ross Kenseth, the son of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Matt Kenseth, finished an impressive sixth in his series debut. He also was driving for Joe Gibbs Racing behind the wheel of the No. 20 Toyota.
"There at the end, I felt we were really good -- a third, fourth-place car -- so I was a little disappointed we didn't get into the top-five," Kenseth said. "These guys worked so hard at it and gave me a great car this weekend. Thanks to (primary sponsor) Dollar General and JGR for giving me this opportunity. For a one-off deal like this, I was happy. I was hoping in this car, it’s been competitive all year, so I’m hoping we can do it again."