NASCAR Cup Daytona: Jones beats Truex to maiden win in chaotic race

Erik Jones scored his maiden NASCAR Cup series victory in a chaotic Daytona race, in which more than half the field was eliminated in various accidents.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Jones narrowly edged out his former team-mate and reigning champion Martin Truex Jr, biding his time with a quiet run to victory as others crashed out.

Kevin Harvick had been battling with Truex for the lead late on until a late pile-up caused an aborted race finish, which resulted in Harvick being collected in a collision between Darrell Wallace Jr and Clint Bowyer and meant the lap counter was wound back to two laps remaining.

A similar approach to Jones paid dividends for AJ Allmendinger, who finished third after a quiet run in midfield throughout.

Kasey Kahne led several laps and drew alongside Truex after the race’s final restart, but ran out of momentum and dropped to fourth by the chequered flag.

Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon in fifth and sixth were further beneficiaries of high attrition. A fuel pressure problem early in stage two for Dillon proved to be a blessing in disguise, helping him avoid a large pile-up shortly after.

A 20-car accident early in stage two eliminated several leading contenders, including the three Penske-entered cars of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, plus Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr contributed to that accident when he spun Keselowski into the path of oncoming traffic behind, though a late block by Hendrick rookie William Byron had caused Keselowski to slow in front of Stenhouse immediately beforehand.

Despite winning both stages one and two, Stenhouse had a difficult race through involvement in multiple cautions thereafter.

He understeered wide and spun championship leader Kyle Busch into Byron almost immediately after his contact with Keselowski, forcing both to retire from collision damage.

Stenhouse’s recovery drive was thwarted twice, firstly after being collected by a spinning Kyle Larson, then spinning out himself with a puncture caused by panel damage from clashing side-on with Aric Almirola. He eventually finished 17th.

Go FAS driver Matt DiBenedetto scored a season-best result of seventh, ahead of Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon in eighth and ninth.

Despite being involved in multiple accidents, Alex Bowman emerged mostly unscathed on each occasion, nursing his Hendrick car home in 10th place.

Michael McDowell had been a surprise contender for victory throughout but his hopes were also ended by attrition, as StarCom Racing part-timer Joey Gase spun out and collected him, Almirola and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Result – 168 laps

1Erik JonesJoe Gibbs RacingToyota3h13m12.s
2Martin Truex Jr.Furniture Row RacingToyota0.125s
3A.J. AllmendingerJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet0.402s
4Kasey KahneLeavine Family RacingChevrolet0.571s
5Chris BuescherJTG Daugherty RacingChevrolet0.592s
6Ty DillonGermain RacingChevrolet0.663s
7Matt DiBenedettoGo FAS RacingFord0.686s
8Ryan NewmanRichard Childress RacingChevrolet0.797s
9Austin DillonRichard Childress RacingChevrolet0.925s
10Alex BowmanHendrick MotorsportsChevrolet1.063s
11Jeffrey EarnhardtPremium MotorsportsChevrolet1.216s
12Brendan GaughanBeard MotorsportsChevrolet1.246s
13D.J. KenningtonGaunt Brothers RacingToyota1.351s
14Darrell Wallace Jr.Richard Petty MotorsportsChevrolet1 Lap
15David RaganFront Row MotorsportsFord1 Lap
16Ray Black Jr.Rick Ware RacingChevrolet1 Lap
17Ricky Stenhouse Jr.Roush Fenway RacingFord1 Lap
18J.J. YeleyBK RacingToyota2 Laps
19Kevin HarvickStewart-Haas RacingFordAccident
20Trevor BayneRoush Fenway RacingFordAccident
21Ross ChastainPremium MotorsportsChevroletAccident
22Clint BowyerStewart-Haas RacingFordAccident
23Jimmie JohnsonHendrick MotorsportsChevroletAccident
24Landon CassillStarCom RacingChevrolet6 Laps
25Joey GaseStarCom RacingChevroletAccident
26Michael McDowellFront Row MotorsportsFordAccident
27Aric AlmirolaStewart-Haas RacingFordAccident
28Paul MenardWood Brothers RacingFord16 Laps
29Kyle LarsonChip Ganassi RacingChevroletAccident
30Jamie McMurrayChip Ganassi RacingChevroletAccident
31Corey LaJoieTriStar MotorsportsChevroletAccident
32William ByronHendrick MotorsportsChevroletAccident
33Kyle BuschJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaAccident
34Chase ElliottHendrick MotorsportsChevroletAccident
35Daniel SuarezJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaAccident
36Brad KeselowskiTeam PenskeFordAccident
37Kurt BuschStewart-Haas RacingFordAccident
38Denny HamlinJoe Gibbs RacingToyotaAccident
39Joey LoganoTeam PenskeFordAccident
40Ryan BlaneyTeam PenskeFordAccident

NASCAR Cup Daytona: Jones beats Truex to maiden win in chaotic race

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