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Erik Jones Scores Season Sweep at Texas

NASCAR Xfinity Series
Sunday, November 5, 2017

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Erik Jones wins for the third time this year
Jared C. Tilton/Getty Images

There was no keeping up with Erik Jones on Saturday night at Texas Motor Speedway - though Ryan Blaney tried his level best over the closing laps of the O'Reilly Auto Parts 300. 

Jones, the pole winner, swept the first and second stages of the event, led 142-of-200 laps and completed the season sweep of NASCAR XFINITY Series races at the 1.5-mile track - the first time that's happened since Kyle Busch won both races in 2009.

The victory was Jones' third of the season, his third in six starts at TMS and the ninth of his career. Though the race was decisive in Jones' favor, it settled little with regard to the XFINITY Series Playoff, with no driver clinching a spot in the Championship 4 race at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

Regaining the lead after a cycle of green-flag pit stops, when Ty Dillon pulled onto pit road on Lap 192, Jones kept Blaney behind him the rest of the way and powered his No. 20 Joes Gibbs racing Toyota across the finish line 1.018 seconds ahead of Blaney's No. 22 Team Penske Ford.

After last year's fall race, the track was repaved. If anything, the new configuration made Jones even faster. 

Erik Jones led a race-high 142 laps in Saturday night's race
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images

"It's sure been a good race track to me," Jones said. "On the old track and the repave now. It's just been a place I've enjoyed coming to. The first time I came here in a truck, I'll never forget, I never thought I'd like the place, and ever since then it's just kind of clicked for me. 

"Just excited to get back to Victory Lane. It's been a few months since I've grabbed a win and the 20 guys have got a win, so happy to get them back here. They've brought fast cars for the last month, and we just haven't found Victory Lane, so cool to get back here again and just happy for these guys."

After Blaney made his last stop for fuel on Lap 185, and Jones pitted a lap later, Blaney trailed the race winner by less than a car length when they both regained top speed. Passing was another matter.

"It just stinks we couldn't get around him," said Blaney, who is in the thick of the battle for a Championship 4 spot in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series. "I thought we had a shot after the green-flag stop. I thought we were way better, but we got held up a couple times by traffic.

"I thought we had the car to win - just a matter of trying to get in front of him, and I couldn't pass anybody. I tried to get him loose a couple times and couldn't do it. I about wrecked myself trying to get him loose. It's really hard to get around anybody. Hopefully, that gets a little better for tomorrow."

Kyle Larson came home third after two snafus on pit road cost him a chance to win. Under caution on Lap 92, after the end of the second stage, Larson came to pit road before it was open. Though he didn't stop for service, Larson lost positions when he blended back in line.

And after a stop on Lap 127, Larson had to return to pit road to allow his crew to tighten a loose lug nut. With the race going green to the finish after the subsequent restart on Lap 131, Larson ran out of time in his pursuit of the winner and runner-up.

Elliott Sadler ran fourth and took the series lead by five points over JR Motorsports teammate William Byron, who ran ninth. Justin Allgaier, the third JR Motorsports Playoff driver, is nine points behind Sadler after an 11th-place finish.

"My car was really good tonight," Sadler said. "Erik and Blaney were so much better into (Turns) 1 and 2. They had it figured out. I've got to go to work before we come back here in the spring. But all in all, it was a great night for us."

Cole Custer finished fifth, recovering from a punctured tire that dropped him rapidly from his front-row starting position but the driver of the No. 00 Ford leaves Texas in sixth place, 13 points behind fourth-place Brennan Poole, with the Playoff field to be cut to the top four after next Saturday's race at Phoenix. Matt Tifft ran eighth and is fifth in the standings, five points behind Poole.

RACE RESULTS

Pos.#DriverMakeStartLapsLedStatusPointsPlayoff Points
120Erik JonesToyota1200142Running00
222Ryan BlaneyFord420034Running00
342Kyle LarsonChevy102004Running00
41Elliott SadlerChevy52000Running4820
500Cole CusterFord22000Running367
618Christopher BellToyota82000Running00
748Brennan PooleChevy122000Running416
819Matt TifftToyota32000Running414
99William ByronChevy920017Running3426
102Austin DillonChevy72000Running00
117Justin AllgaierChevy132000Running2823
125Michael AnnettChevy181991Running250
1311Blake KochChevy171990Running240
1421Daniel HemricChevy61990Running299
1523Spencer GallagherChevy161990Running220
163Ty DillonChevy141992Running00
1762Brendan GaughanChevy191990Running210
1814JJ YeleyToyota211990Running190
194Ross ChastainChevy241990Running180
2039Ryan SiegChevy201990Running170
2124Dylan LuptonToyota231980Running160
2251Jeremy ClementsChevy251980Running150
2316Ryan ReedFord151980Running145
240Garrett SmithleyChevy261980Running130
2501Harrison RhodesChevy321960Running120
268BJ McLeodChevy221960Running110
2752Joey GaseChevy281960Running100
2890Mario GosselinChevy331950Running90
2907Spencer BoydChevy361910Running80
3040Timmy HillChevy341880Running70
3199David StarrChevy311590Running60
3274Mike HarmonDodge371040Suspension50
3393Gray GauldingChevy30650Vibration00
3492Josh WilliamsChevy38620Electrical30
3533Brandon JonesChevy11600Accident20
3615Reed SorensonChevy29520Electrical00
3738Jeff GreenChevy27500Vibration10
3878Angela RuchChevy35470Accident10
3989Morgan ShepherdChevy39250Handling10
4013John JacksonDodge4070Fuel Pump10


 

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