Tag Archives: Erik Jones

Kyle Busch Wins the Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series came to Chicagoland Speedway to run the Furious 7 300. This race is their eighth to the last race of the season and the Championship is on the line.

Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota won the Coors Light Pole earlier in the day and led the field to green. His teammate Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 Reser’s Main Street Toyota started alongside. Right from the start it was apparent that they were going to battle it out the entire race for the win.

Kyle Busch led the about the first quarter of the race only to give the lead to Kenseth for the second quarter. They continued leading each quarter like they were just playing with the field. They were not playing with each other though Kenseth made a serious charge on the second to last lap and they swapped the lead back and forth until the last lap when Busch held on to  win the race. They lead a combined 186 laps of 200 with Busch leading 102 of them.

We had a very fast Camry here. Can’t say enough about Chris Gayle (crew chief). All the adjustments we made all night long to make the car better and better.” Busch added, “That battle with Matt Kenseth, I don’t know. I thought when I got to him and I got clear of him and I drove away by a second-plus it was over and I can breathe a little bit and I tried to go back up to the top and I was loose up there. I just had to battle through that and try to beat him – he was right there.

The No. 54 Monster Energy Car has swept both Xfinity races at Chicagoland in 2015 with the June race being won by Erik Jones.

Kyle Busch extends his series winning record to 74 in 305 NASCAR Xfinity Series races. It is his fourth victory and eighth top-10 finish of the year in spite of missing eleven races due to his injury at Daytona. It is also his fourth victory at Chicagoland Speedway.

In the after the race inspection the No. 54 car was found to be too low in all four corners. Penalties, if any, will be given by NASCAR on Tuesday.

Chris Buescher finished seventh and has now increased his lead in the standings by four points to 25 over Ty Dillon. Chase Elliott dropped to third from second in the standings three points behind Dillon.

Darrell Wallace Jr. finished third and is the highest finishing rookie of the race.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 312785 Photo by Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

Kyle Busch Wins the Pole for the Furious 7 300 at Chicagoland Speedway

The NASCAR Xfinity Series is running the Furious 7 300, a companion event with the other three series at Chicagoland Speedway. Kyle Busch will start up front.

It doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone who watches the Xfinity Series regularly that Kyle Busch is fast. This is his 46th pole in 305 Xfinity Series starts, his third this year. He has a 12-year streak from 2004 to 2015 of consecutive poles.

Kyle Busch has already won three races this year in this series in spite of missing eleven races due to his injury in the first race at Daytona International Speedway. Eric Jones won the race here in June in this car.

Kyle Busch said, “I’m ready to go back to Chicagoland with the No. 54 team, especially considering their finish there with Erik (Jones) in the spring. JGR has always had good cars there and Chris (Gayle, crew chief) will work hard to dial in our Camry. This Monster Energy No. 54 team can definitely get back to victory lane at Chicago and maybe sweep the year.

It will be an all Joe Gibbs Racing front row as Busch’s teammates Matt Kenseth in the No. 20 and Daniel Suarez in the No. 18 will be starting second and third. Rounding out the top five is Ty Dillon and Ryan Blaney.

If you cannot get to Chicagoland Speedway for the Furious 7 300 it will be broadcast on NBCSN on Saturday September 19th starting at 5:30 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: Brian Berg Jr.

Erik Jones Wins the Rain Delayed XFINITY Race at Chicagoland Speedway

Erik Jones wins the rain delayed NASCAR XFINITY Series Owens Corning AttiCat® 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.

On Friday Drew Herring stepped into the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota to fill in for Erik Jones while he was racing the truck at Iowa Speedway. Herring was fast in spite of just being a practice driver. He had the #54 7th in the first practice and 4th in the second practice.

Erik Jones won the Truck race and came to Chicagoland Speedway to qualify the car and race. Jones stepped right into the car making it to all three rounds to start the race in the 11th position. He did not have to start the race from the rear of the field because he qualified the car.

The race had been scheduled to run on Saturday night but a massive storm made that impossible. The race was run on a beautiful day on Sunday. The pole sitter, Austin Dillon led the field to green on his way to leading 28 laps. He finished the race third.

Jones first took the lead on lap 40 and looked like he was the class of the field but Ryan Blaney was also impressive. Blaney had to start at the rear of the field due to going to a backup car because he wrecked in qualifying. He was 7th by lap 20 and fourth, two positions behind Jones by the competition caution on lap 25.

Erik Jones led most of the laps from lap 40 to lap 150, only Ryan Blaney appeared to be the driver who could take it from him and did a few times.

With 50 to go there was a mistake where the drivers were told on the radio that pit road was open yet the pit road light was red signifying pit road was closed. Erik Jones pitted from the led and Ryan Blaney did not. At that point it looked like that mistake would cost the Jones a win.

Jones restarted the race 10th with 41 laps to go and was second, right behind Blaney with 19 to go.  On the final restart with 11 to go Erik Jones went to the lead and didn’t look back.

Erik Jones led 94 laps followed by Ryan Blaney with 43 and the pole sitter Austin Dillon 28.

Daniel Suarez was the highest finishing rookie of the year candidate finishing seventh. Ross Kenseth, also a rookie, finished sixth.

It’s pretty awesome to get this Monster Energy Toyota back to victory lane. It’s two weeks in a row for these guys. That’s three wins this week for me – that’s pretty awesome. It was a rough go for a while, but we came back at it now. It’s just cool to be back here – thanks to Kyle Busch Motorsports for Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing for today and Port City Race Cars for Tuesday, XFINITY for doing this for us, the fans and – man, what a day, what a day.”  Jones added, “Thanks to Drew Herring who shook this thing down for us two days ago and got it right and we took it to victory lane today.

Erik Jones sweeps the NASCAR weekend at two distinctly different race tracks to get his first win of the season in the No. 54 Monster Energy Car.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 309754 Robert Laberge/NASCAR via Getty Images

The NASCAR XFINITY Series Stars Get to Shine at Chicagoland Speedway

The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is off for this Father’s day weekend but that doesn’t mean there is no NASCAR racing. The XFINITY Series is racing has the spotlight on Saturday night at Chicagoland Speedway.

There is only one Sprint Cup Series regular interloping in this race and that is 2013 XFINITY Series Champion Austin Dillon driving the No. 33 Rheem Chevy for Richard Childress Racing. With nine out of 13 races in the Series won by Sprint Cup Drivers this year, including two by Austin Dillon, will he spoil the XFINITY Series Regulars Saturday night party?

Will Austin Dillon spoil his Brother Ty Dillon’s quest for his XFINITY Series Championship? Ty Dillon is currently second in the points, 25 points behind the leader. They also happen to be teammates.

Brian Scott, last year’s pole winner, has shown lots of speed all season. Will he be able to hold off his teammates Austin and Ty Dillon and finally seal the deal to get his first XFINITY Series win?

Last year’s winner and XFINITY Series Champion, Chase Elliott is also back driving the No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy for Hendrick Motorsports. He is currently third in the standings, ten points behind leader Chris Buescher, can he repeat?

Speaking of Chris Buescher, the XFINITY Series point’s leader driving the famed No. 60 for Roush Fenway Racing has won two races this season. The only other XFINITY Series drivers to win are Ryan Reed and Erik Jones. Can any of these drivers repeat with a win here at Chicagoland?

Part time Sprint Cup and XFINITY driver Ryan Blaney will be back in the No. 22 Penske Racing car that is currently leading the Owner’s points in the XFINITY Series. They lead the No. 60 by 26 points and are looking to keep that lead. Joey Logano has won three of the 13 races in this car. Blaney came close finishing second at Las Vegas, can he add to that total with a win at this 1.5 mile speedway?

Ross Kenseth, last weekend’s ARCA series winner at Michigan will make his first XFINITY Series start driving the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing car. He is not entered in the accompanying ARCA race here. How will his first stint go in one of the best XFINITY team cars in the series?

There is a whole lot to watch on Saturday Night and there is a whole lot of other good drivers not mentioned who can equally race for the win. That is why this Saturday the XFINITY Series has the spotlight and is a must watch.

If you cannot get to the Chicagoland Speedway for the Owens Corning AttiCat® 300 it will be broadcast live on Saturday June 20th at 9:30 PM ET on Fox Sports 1.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 300031 Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

Rk. Car Number Driver Average Finish High Rating Average Driver Rating
1 9 Chase Elliott 5.5 145.2 126.9
2 3 Austin Dillon 4 127.1 119.4
3 22 Ryan Blaney 6.5 118.7 113.5
4 3 Ty Dillon 6 110.9 104.6
5 20 Erik Jones 7 99.5 99.5
6 2 Brian Scott 9.3 117.4 98.3
7 11 Elliott Sadler 14.3 138.1 94.7
8 60 Chris Buescher 10 95 94.2
9 33 Cale Conley 12 87.5 87.5
10 62 Brendan Gaughan 16.2 86.9 80.3
11 29 Daniel Suarez 15 78.9 78.9

Note: Drivers listed may only have a few starts at this track!

Strategy is What Makes NASCAR, Well NASCAR

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Buckle Up 200 presented by Click It or Ticket at Dover International Speedway highlighted how pit strategy impacts racing especially NASCAR racing. Whether you like it or not sometimes the fastest car doesn’t win in racing. It happens in all racing but in some series because of the race format or length strategy doesn’t have an impact. In the top three series of NASCAR strategy always has some sort of impact. Chris Buescher won by some great race strategy.

In order to explain how strategy impacted the results of the race we need to go back into the race. In this case deep into the race because strategy presents itself like Chris Buescher or forces itself on you like Matt Kenseth.

On lap 31 of the 200 lap race Matt Kenseth came down pit road to have a loose wheel corrected. He gets four tires and fuel. This takes him off of the strategy of the entire rest of the field even though he has a very fast race car. His day is seemingly done. A different strategy has been forced upon him and his team.

The thing about strategy is when you are on a different strategy then everyone else you need some help to make yours better than theirs. In this case there was a caution within ten laps such that Kenseth could stay out, get the wave around to get back on the lead lap. During this caution for debris the leaders all pitted for tires and fuel. To visualize it Kenseth restarts the second to last car on the lead lap the only car without fresh tires and about 25 laps less on fuel.

Strategy keeps following Kenseth. There is another caution four laps after the last on lap 65. Matt Kenseth and his team since they are at the back of the field anyway pit for tires and fuel. Since all the other teams only had about six laps on their tires and fuel they stayed out. Matt is now closer in strategy and not out of the race.

The race restarts and goes 25 laps before another caution for a wreck. Kenseth stays out to lead the race. The tires at Dover are pretty good so he leads the race until he pits with 46 to go for his last four tires and fuel. He can make it to the end and if the race stays green he owns it.

It does stay green, Kenseth’s team looks brilliant. Except ….. Under the same last caution that Matt Kenseth gained his lead and his advantage over strategy Chris Buescher pits for four tires and fuel. Ironically he and his teammate are getting great fuel millage and end up racing one another for the lead after all the other leaders but Kenseth pit under green flag conditions. Buescher and Wallace get together and Wallace has to pit for damage. Because of this Buescher has been presented strategy to win the race on fuel. He has a 25 second lead on Kenseth on which to save fuel over eight laps.

We got fortunate. We had a loose wheel and got a lap down and did the wave around and was able to lead a lap. We were one set short of tires, so we had to stay out that one round, but we were able to lead that whole stint.” Kenseth added, “It went green at the end and I thought we were going to win the race, I didn’t think anyone was going to be able to run that long on fuel. They (Chris Buescher) did so it was a good day for us.

There it is two distinct different strategies racing to win a race. Which one would prevail? One would never have thought a car could go almost 100 laps on fuel but strategy presented itself and both teams accepted the challenge. It made it exciting for the fan that was paying attention not so for the fan that was not but that is what NASCAR racing is all about. That is what makes NASCAR racing interesting and also what makes it hard to understand. If there was a caution flag at any time in the last 50 laps you wouldn’t be reading this. Erik Jones would have won. That is NASCAR racing!

We will do it all again for the Sprint Cup Series on Sunday May 31st. If you cannot get to Dover International Speedway the race will be broadcast on Fox Sports 1 starting at 1 PM ET.

Brian Berg Jr. is a NASCAR writer for BehindPitRow.com.

Feature Photo Credit: 309345 Todd Warshaw/Getty Images