He was fastest in qualifying, and had to settle for second in his heat race, but Erik Jones took him the big trophy today, and $100,000 with his win in the Ollie’s Bargain Outlet 200. It was Jones’ second win of the 2016 season, and fourth of his career.
Before the main event at Dover International Speedway, fans saw two 40-lap heat races. It was the third time this season NASCAR XFINITY Series fans were treated to heat races before the main, and fans weren’t disappointed today. Today’s heats saw their first ever lead changes, and the first caution in a heat race.
Justin Allgaier took the lead from Jones shortly after the halfway point in the heat, and was quickly passed back by the No. 20 Toyota, but Allgaier found his way back around Jones to win. Both Allgaier and Jones went on to compete for the Dash for Cash.
The second heat race saw Daniel Suarez dominate before a late crash by Justin Marks. Marks crashed with 10 to go in his heat. The damage was heavy enough that Marks was unable to participate in the main, and was credited with a last place finish. When the heat race restarted, there were only five laps left, and Ty Dillon managed to sneak around Suarez on the restart. Dillon held on to win the race, and secure the outside front row for the main.
Justin Allgaier led the field to the green after winning the first heat, and was able to lead the first lap of the main, before Ty Dillon drove around him on the outside to take the lead. Dillon could only hold on to the lead for 11 laps before a loose condition caused him to lose the lead to Erik Jones.
Jones rocketed out to a three second lead, but with lap traffic getting in the way, Alex Bowman ate into Jones’ lead, and Bowman snagged the lead. The race today is one of nine scheduled starts for Bowman with JR Motorsports this year, and his first race since Homestead last year.
Bowman would lead 33 laps before Jones made his way back around the No. 88 on a late restart.
Erik Jones pulled out to a four second lead, but a caution with just 11 laps to go for a spinning Brendan Gaughan put a wrench in Jones’ plans to coast to the checkered. Jones and three other lead lap cars stayed out, while Bowman pulled the rest of the lead lap cars to the pit lane. Talladega winner Elliott Sadler’s call to take two tires allowed him to beat teammate Bowman out of the pits. Sadler would restart fifth with five to go.
Jones decided to take the outside lane on the restart, which proved to be a good call as Darrell Wallace, Jr. gave the teenager a big push to get well out in front of the rest of the field. Bowman’s fresh tires weren’t enough to catch either Jones or Wallace, and Jones would go on to win his second $100,000 prize of the year, and second race win of the year.
Jones thanked the driver of the No. 6 Ford in victory lane for the push.
“Thanks to Darrell Wallace for the push on the last restart,” Jones said. “That was key to getting us back out front. It was just an awesome day. I wasn’t too sure how things would go after the heat race, but it turned out to be alright.”
For Darrell Wallace, Jr., it was a career-best finish of second at a track he’s said is one of his best. The finish came after overcoming adversity from crashing in yesterday’s first practice.
Bowman ended up finishing a career-best third, and explained the decision to pit on the final caution.
“When it came to the last caution, we thought we could run second or try to win the race, so we came in and took four tires to try to get the win,” said Bowman.
Justin Allgaier finished fourth with Ty Dillon in fifth followed by Elliott Sadler, Joey Logano, Matt Tifft, Daniel Suarez and Brennan Poole.
Sadler’s sixth-place finish allowed him to maintain his point lead. He currently leads Daniel Suarez by four points.