FORT WORTH, Tex. — Report by Race Chaser Online Associate Editor Kyle Magda — Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images North America photo —
Two-time defending champ Matt Crafton had the momentum coming into the WinStar World Casino 350.
Crafton won last week’s race at Martinsville and took the pole for Friday’s night race at Texas. But at the end of night, it was Erik Jones, dominating the race by leading 117 of the 147 laps en route to victory for his second NASCAR win at the 1.5-mile track.
“We went through a lot of ups-and-downs here over the past couple months and trying getting back into this championship hunt and now getting our Tundra back in there,” Jones said in victory lane. “It’s pretty awesome. It’s a quite a swing of ups-and-downs, but it’s nice to be back in victory lane here, especially at Texas, a place I love.”
Jones took the lead from June Texas winner Crafton on lap 13 and put three seconds on the No. 88 Toyota when a series of green-flag pit stops occurred Once they cycled through, Crafton had a five-second lead on Jones until the race’s only caution flew on lap 53. On the ensuing restart, the 88 got back out front with a push from Ryan Blaney. Once the laps started clicking off, the No. 4 truck led again and never looked back for Jones’ third Truck win of 2015.
Jones led a bunch of laps in June’s race until electrical problems put the 19-year-old several laps down and out of contention for the win. Since his Mosport win, the Kyle Busch Motorsports driver hasn’t relinquished the points lead.
“Me and Kyle were talking earlier this week and just kind of talking about how these next three tracks are really good for KBM and myself,” Jones said. “Going into Phoenix, we’re undefeated there. We’re 2-0 there, so hopefully we can pick up another win there next week.”
Kyle Busch Motorsports (KBM) teammate Daniel Suarez made a furious charge in the closing laps, chopping down what was a four-second lead to under a second-and-a-half, only to run out of time to finish runner-up for the third time this season.
“I feel like a win is close, we just have to keep digging,” Suarez said. “We just have to keep ourselves in the same truck and our win is going to come and I’m sure it’s going to come this year.”
KBM recorded their finish 1-2 finish in the Truck Series since Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr. achieved the feat in September 2014 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
Matt Crafton didn’t replicate his June performance at Texas by showing short-run speed in his No. 88 Menards Toyota and being passed by eventual race winner Jones twice before having to settle for a fourth-place finish.
“It got pretty tight there at the end,” Crafton said of his race. “We jumped to the other side of the fence. It was decent, but not as good as we needed to be.”
In between Jones and Crafton were two interlopers in Suarez and Ryan Blaney.
Blaney started the race from 15th and worked his way to up to third in the No. 29 Ford, subbing for the injured Austin Theriault. Both Brad Keselowski Racing (BKR) trucks didn’t make the final round of Keystone Light Pole Qualifying, so both he and points contender Tyler Reddick made it into the top-five once the checkered flag flew.
“I knew we weren’t going to be great in qualifying, but we were a little bit worse of what we expected,” Reddick said. “It’s a real shame. You never want cautions in a race, but we did not fire really good on that restart. We fell back, but we came to life later in the run. I think we had a good piece once it strung out; the problem was that I was so far back in dirty air on that one restart that we were just too tight.”
Jones extends his points lead to 17 over Crafton in the championship battle, then another four markers back to Reddick in third.
The series now heads to Phoenix International Raceway next Friday for the Lucas Oil 150. Erik Jones is the defending winner of the race.
RESULTS: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series; WinStar World Casino 350; Texas Motor Speedway; November 6, 2015:
- Erik Jones
- Daniel Suarez
- Ryan Blaney
- Matt Crafton
- Tyler Reddick
- Timothy Peters
- Brandon Jones
- Christopher Bell
- Ben Kennedy
- Cameron Hayley
- John Hunter Nemechek
- Spencer Gallagher
- Johnny Sauter
- Daniel Hemric
- Jesse Little
- Jeb Burton
- John Wes Townley
- Mason Mingus
- Ray Black Jr.
- Timmy Hill
- Jordan Anderson
- Korbin Forrister
- Tyler Young
- Jennifer Jo Cobb
- Justin Jennings
- Travis Kvapil
- Norm Benning
- Todd Peck
- Dexter Stacey
- Mike Harmon
- Tyler Tanner
- Caleb Roark