What were you doing at the age of 17? For Erik Jones, he was winning races.
Erik Jones would become the youngest NASCAR Camping World Truck Series winner on Friday night at Phoenix International Raceway when he picked up the win in the Lucas Oil 150.
“Its unbelievable,” Jones said in victory lane. “Like I told Rudy on the radio – this is the best feeling ever. It’s all I wanted – was to be a winner in NASCAR. To get this win, its really unbelievable and hard to put in words. Just couldn’t be happier to get in victory lane.”
Pole sitter Ross Chastain restarted as the leader with 10 laps to go and was able to clear Jones heading into turn three. However, the lead wouldn’t last long as Jones was able to get a good run off of turn two and got underneath Chastain through the dog led and by him to take the lead. From there, Jones checked out and headed to victory lane.
“I had been taking the top all day and when he got me there, I wasn’t able to hold him down,” Jones commented. “So I got a run off of two and was able to get under him there.”
Jones got the opportunity to run the No. 51 “Wake Up Narcolepsy ” Awake at the Wheel Toyota in five races this year after beating Kyle Busch last year to win the Snowball Derby.
“I want to thank KBM for this opportunity – thanks to Kyle, Samantha for the opportunity and giving me a chance to prove myself in NASCAR,” Jones said.
Ross Chastain came home second for his sixth top 10 finish of 2013 for Brad Keselowski Racing. Chastain stated after the race that he will not be with BKR for 2014.
“Erik drove a great race and he had a great truck,” Chastain commented. “He showed that in practice. We were not that good in practice and got it so close. I want to thank this BKR team. I don’t know what we could do better. I tried to hold him down, dived bomb there but just couldn’t hold them off. It’s disheartening with the fact that next weekend will be my last weekend in the truck.”
Brendan Gaughan finished third after running in the top five throughout the whole night. Ty Dillon and Matt Crafton rounded out the top five. Heading into the final race of the season, Crafton now leads Dillon by 46 points and just has to start to the Ford 200 to clinch the 2013 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Championship.
“We’d run about 15 laps and I’d lose about 90 percent of my brake pedal,” Crafton commented after the race. “I had to pump the pedal like 10 times to just get it to slow don. They were thinking of bringing me down pit road and drilling a hole – but I didn’t want to lose track position.
“Then when someone blew a tire there right in front of us and I ran over a piece of debris. I didn’t say anything. I was like, ‘I hope that isn’t a piece of metal’. It was a tough day.”
Cale Gale finished sixth followed by Ryan Blaney, Johnny Sauter, James Buescher and Chase Elliott.
The 150 lap race would feature seven caution flags for various incidents, including a hard wreck for Ron Hornaday at lap 85 for hitting the wall hard after a flat right front tire.
“I knew I was using a lot of brake,” Hornaday said afterwards. “I had been tight in, loose off and been working on it. I think I just melted a bead. Hate it for all of these guys.”
Hornaday announced that he will not be in the No. 9 Smokey Mountain Chevrolet for NTS Motorsports next weekend, but instead in a truck for Turner-Scott Motorsports.
“I contacted Nelson and found out that I would not be in the truck,” Hornaday said. “Mr. Turner then came by and offered me a ride for Homestead. Richard came by, Turner came by. I’ll be racing a sixth truck for Mr. Turner. Can’t say enough about the opportunity. I just love this series.”