Erik Jones takes third Xfinity win of year at Iowa Speedway
Ty Dillon did his best to keep the outcome in question by leading late, but Erik Jones made Iowa Speedway his own by leading 154 laps, including the last 16, to win the U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.
The 20-year-old driver grabbed the lead at the outset of the race after starting second and finished the night with his third Xfinity Series win of the year.
It’s the sixth Xfinity win by Joe Gibbs Racing in the last seven races.
Ty Dillon led his chunk of the race after beating Jones off pit road during a caution that began on Lap 150. Before that, Jones failed to lead just 13 laps to go.
The 83 laps were the most Dillon has led this season.
“The high line wasn’t there,” Dillon told NBCSN. “Every lap I was having to do everything I could to get him behind me. Trying to watch him and get in his line ... it just wore my stuff out more than I needed to.”
With 16 laps to go, after staying within a half second of Dillon, Jones retook the lead and streaked away.
“I wasn’t saving much. I was working as hard as I could to get around Ty,” Jones told NBCSN. “It was tough. The aero game is pretty tough. Needed to get clean air for a long time. Burned a lot of tire off the DeWalt Camry there at the start. It’s a great day, had a great car. One that definitely deserved to win tonight.”
It’s Jones’ first win since he was victorious at Dover International Speedway on May 14.
Jones called the win “redemption” for his last visit to Iowa, which ended in 27th place due to a mechanical failure.
Jones was followed by Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Brennan Poole and Dakoda Armstrong.
HOW ERIK JONES WON: The rookie didn’t get bogged down in traffic after losing the lead in the pits during a caution. Jones stayed close to Ty Dillon and took the lead for the final time with 16 laps left.
WHO HAD A GOOD NIGHT: A month after his Iowa win for Joe Gibbs Racing, Sam Hornish Jr. failed to lead a lap, but still finished sixth in only his second NASCAR race of the season … Brennan Poole started the night in 25th and fought his way to finish fourth, his second top five of the season … Dakoda Armstrong, driving the No. 18 for JGR in place of Matt Tifft, started a career-best third and finished fifth. He had never finished in the top 10 in his previous 91 starts.
WHO HAD A BAD NIGHT: Darrell Wallace Jr. was in 11th on Lap 28 when he made contact with another car and hit the outside wall before spinning low down the backstretch. Wallace spun again on Lap 121 and finished 27th, 11 laps down … On Lap 150, Brandon McReynolds broke loose entering Turn 1 and spun before smacking the outside wall. The No. 24 car finished 32nd … On the resulting restart, Daniel Suarez ran into the back of Josh Berry, damaging his hood. The No. 19 eventually finished the night in the garage in 30th.
NOTABLE: Brad Keselowski finished eighth, continuing the 23-race winless streak for the No. 22 team and Team Penske in the Xfinity Series.
QUOTE OF THE NIGHT: “My heart’s been broken every race since Indy, I want to get in victory lane again,” Ty Dillon after leading 83 laps and finishing second. Dillon hasn’t won since the 2014 Xfinity race at Indianapolis.
NEXT: Zippo 200 at Watkins Glen International on Aug. 6 at 2 p.m. ET on CNBC