Date: June 14, 2014
Event: Drivin' for Linemen 200 (Race 7 of 22)
Series: NASCAR Camping World Truck Series
Location: Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill. (1.25-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 3rd/ 23rd (Accident, completed 153 of 160 laps)
Winner: Darrell Wallace Jr. of Kyle Busch Motorsports (Toyota)
Erik Jones worked hard to put his No. 51 ToyotaCare Tundra at the front of the field in the closing laps of Saturday night's Drivin' for Linemen 200 at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., but seen dreams of his second NASCAR Camping World Truck Series victory coming to a crashing end.
The 18-year old restarted second with just eight laps remaining and after battling side-by-side with Darrell Wallace Jr. for an entire lap, cleared his teammate and had his Toyota out front as the field went through Turns 1 and 2. Jones bobbled slightly coming out of Turn 2 and German Quiorga made hard contact with the left side of his truck and remained in the gas as the ToyotaCare Tundra was sent crashing hard into the inside retaining wall down the backstretch. The accident left the talented youngster with a disappointing 23rd-place finish in his third start of the 2014 season.
"We had really fast ToyotaCare Tundra tonight and once we got the lead I thought we had things well in hand -- unfortunately we got dumped," said Jones. "I got just a little free, but we got hit right in the left rear by the 77 truck and got turned around. The guys gave me a great truck and I feel like we should've been in victory lane. Congratulations to my teammate Darrell Wallace Jr. on picking up the win for KBM and Toyota."
Jones posted the third fastest time in each of the three rounds of Saturday afternoon's knockout qualifying session on the 1.25-mile oval. After the green flag dropped, he fell back one position as he communicated to crew chief Eric Phillips that his ToyotaCare Tundra was "really tight." As a long green-flag run ensued in the early stages of the 160-lap race, the youngster began to maneuver his way forward and had advanced into the runner-up position when Phillips summoned him to pit road for the team's first scheduled pit stop on lap 62.
Once on pit road, the over-the-wall crew administered a four-tire and fuel stop and returned their driver to the track with the race still green. Two laps later an untimely caution occurred before everyone on the lead lap made their scheduled stop, leaving Jones the first truck one lap down. After receiving the free pass, Phillips summoned his driver to pit road again to top off with fuel and a trackbar adjustment.
The ToyotaCare Tundra took the lap-72 restart from the fifth position, but just six laps later had advanced into the third spot. A slight tire rub brought reason for concern atop the No. 51 pit box, but went away as the tire pressures built during another long green-flag run. On lap 123, Jones made his way around John Hunter Nemechek for the second spot and moments later leader Matt Crafton blew a tire and went crashing into the wall.
Jones led for the first time under caution from laps 123-126, but surrendered the lead when he brought his Toyota to the attention of his crew when pit road opened. After getting four fresh tires and full tank of fuel, the talented youngster returned to the track scored in the third position for the lap-133 restart. He advanced into the runner-up spot one lap later and settled in behind Wallace Jr. The teammates checked out on the rest of the field and a KBM one-two finish seemed apparent until a one-truck accident slowed the field for the sixth time and set up the string of events that led to the disappointing ending for the No. 51 team.
Wallace Jr. collected his second career win and first this season. It marked the fifth win of the year for Kyle Busch Motorsports and seventh over the last nine races dating back to Jones' win last year at Phoenix (Ariz.) International Raceway. Quiroga finished 0.329 seconds behind Wallace Jr. in the runner-up position. Timothy Peters, Johnny Sauter and Ron Hornaday Jr. rounded out the top-five finishers.
The seventh race of the 2014 season featured seven cautions for a total of 39 laps. There were 12 lead changes among six drivers, including Jones who led four laps. The No. 51 team maintained the lead in the Owner's point standings and currently sit 11 markers ahead of the No. 98 team.
Kyle Busch will be behind the wheel of the No. 51 Dollar General Tundra when the Truck Series resumes action at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta Thursday, June 26. Live coverage of the UNOH 225 on Fox Sports 1 begins with the Truck Series Setup Show at 7:30 p.m. ET.