Date: September 21, 2013
Event: ZLOOP 150 (Race 20 of 21)
Series: ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards
Location: Kentucky Speedway (1.5 -mile oval)
Start/Finish: 2nd/6th (Running, completed 100 of 100 laps)
Winner: Corey Lajoie of Roulo Brothers Racing
17-year-old Erik Jones concludes his season in the ARCA Racing Series presented by Menards with a sixth place finish at Kentucky Speedway. Starting second, Jones’ afternoon began in a dominating fashion but quickly turned into a scramble after a miscue on pit road sent the No. 15 Toyota Care/Matrix Protection Toyota to the ground without a left rear tire in place. Dropping from first to thirteenth Jones was suffering from an extremely loose racecar and in an attempt to pass for eighth just after the halfway point he lost control of his machine sending him spinning into the front stretch grass. Rebounding in typical Jones fashion the rookie made his way back through the field and took home his eighth top-10 in 14 ARCA starts.
“We just made a huge mistake on pit road today,” said Jones. “We were taking a big swing during the stop because of how loose the car became and unfortunately didn’t take a big enough one because it was still wicked loose which caused us to spin. All together though it was another solid day – I can’t thank my Venturini crew enough for this season and I’m looking forward to returning to the ARCA series in the future.”
The ZLOOP 150 that was originally scheduled for Friday night was delayed for over 17 hours due to heavy rains that swept over northern Kentucky. Unable to hold qualifying, the field was set by owner points placing Jones on the outside of the front row next to nine time series champion, Frank Kimmel. As soon as the green flag waved, for the 100 lap race, the first of four yellows slowed the field due to Venturini Motorsports teammate Milka Duno backing hard in the turn two wall. Restarting single file, according to ARCA rules, Jones was able to power by Kimmel and take the lead racing into the first turn.
Jones maintained the lead until a mishap while pitting for four tires and fuel sent him out of the top 10. Recovering from thirteenth to ninth by the half-way point the teenager was doing everything he could to keep control of his extremely loose racecar. On lap 54 however, Jones was sent spinning through the front stretch grass bringing out another caution. Pitting a second time for four fresh tires, a wedge adjustment and fuel, Jones restarted once again in thirteenth on lap 62. Picking off cars one by one he was able to make the best of the day and bring home a sixth place finish to wrap up his season in the ARCA Racing Series.
Corey LaJoie won the race, which finished in one hour, 12 minutes, and 33 seconds and at an average speed of 124.149 mph. Thirty-two cars started the event and there were only four cautions totaling twenty two laps.
Jones will be making one last appearance with Kyle Busch Motorsports in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix International Raceway on November 8th, along with a handful of late model races to wrap up his 2013 schedule.