Marne, Michigan (8/11/13) - Byron, Michigan native Erik Jones battled back at Berlin Raceway Saturday night and finally emerged the victor for the first time in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menard's. After two starts in the series this season that led to two heartbreaking "so close" moments, the 17-year-old was not letting this one slip through his figures. In fact, he controlled the field of 26 by leading 154 of the 200 laps.Then he and his No.15 Stock Car Steel/Venturini Motorsports Toyota Camry were able to burn it down in victory lane in front of an excited hometown crowd.
"This one means so much to me," said an excited Jones during his post-race interview. "I'm only an hour and a half away from my hometown and so many of my friend and family were able to come out and be here with me tonight."
"I had a flawless Stock Car Steel Toyota Camry today. Kevin (Reed, crew Chief) made the right calls - We only made one adjustment, that's how good the thing was."
Beginning the race from the second position, Jones mingled within the top three, running at his own pace, until the first caution flag flew on lap 35. When the field returned green however, it was go time. Taking the lead from Menards Pole sitter Mason Mitchell on lap 43, Jones worked his way around the .4 mile oval dodging lap traffic at every turn.
Crew Chief Kevin Reed called Jones down pit road during the second of four cautions on lap 69. Being extremely satisfied with the handling of his machine, Reed made the only adjustment of the night (air pressure) on the first stop while taking two tires and fuel. Jones returned to pit road during the final caution of the night on lap 142, where his Venturini crew performed a flawless 4 tire stop, allowing Jones to win the race off pit road for the final time.
The 200 lap race then turned into a 50 lap shoot out. It was critical for Jones to consistently hit his marks because the No. 32 of Mason Mingus was hot in his tracks. Lap by lap the two mirrored each others time, but Jones had the advantage and was the first to the checkers.
"The 32 was coming hard there at the end, I was a little worried about him, but we were able to push it really hard. Luckily, we didn't have a late caution because I think whoever was in third would have been able to drive past us both since we were racing so hard. It's just so amazing to be able to hold everyone off and get my first ARCA win in Michigan," concluded Jones.
For those who missed the live action the Primera Plastic 200 will air on NBC Sports Network at 11 p.m. ET on Thursday August 15.
Next up, Jones will return to Iowa Speedway with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Serieson Sunday, September 8th.