XFINITY: Erik Jones Rallies From Speeding Penalty For Bristol Glory

Josef Miele Featured, XFINITY 0 Comments

Erik Jones celebrates after winning Saturday’s NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. (NASCAR photo)

BRISTOL, Tenn. – The famous Bristol Motor Speedway bump-and-run was all it took for Erik Jones to secure his second-consecutive win in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 on Saturday afternoon.

Despite qualifying fourth and running among the lead pack all day, a speeding penalty on pit road with 70 laps to go appeared to take Jones out of the conversation. But through a series of bold moves and well-timed cautions, the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series rookie triumphantly marched his way back forward.

A caution with 30 laps remaining bunched the field up again, allowing Jones another shot to make up lost time.  Ryan Blaney lead the field down to a restart with 23 to go, with Jones restarting fourth.

Just as quickly as the green flag dropped, however, Jones rocketed up to second on the outside and gave chase to Blaney, making his presence known. Jones dogged Blaney’s No. 22 Ford for a lap, until a poor Turn 4 by Blaney put Jones to his back bumper for the top spot.

Once there, Jones gave Blaney the old “chrome horn” and never looked back, quickly pulling out to a big lead as Blaney faded to fifth.

However, a final caution for the spinning JR Motorsports teammates of William Byron and Justin Allgaier, set up a three-lap dash for glory in which Jones was the man out front.

The win was Jones’ second of the season and the

“We were racing hard and we ended up getting the lead and just held on to it from there,” said Jones, who beat a charging Blaney back to the line by .344 of a second. “Once I finally got out front and got some clean air, the Reser’s Camry had enough to hang on to the end.”

Blaney rallied from fourth to second on the final restart, but had nothing for Jones. He also said that the contact between the two of them that gave Jones the eventual win was nothing malicious; just hard racing.

“He was looking into three and I kind of dove in there hard,” Blaney said. “I tried to get the bottom and I think he was looking. He might have been there by an inch and I tried to get into the turn a little deeper just to try and protect. He was so much better than us on short runs.

“I just didn’t really have grip on short runs. We got together there, which stunk. You never want to do that, but he wasn’t going to back out and I wasn’t going to back out. Just hard racing that was. I can’t say I would have cut him a break if I got back to him on the last restart.”

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