Erik Jones Rallies from Late Speeding Penalty to Win Bristol XFINITY Race

by Tucker White On Sat, Apr. 22, 2017

Erik Jones celebrates victory in the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Photo: Matt Sullivan/Getty Images

BRISTOL, Tenn. — Erik Jones rallied back from a late speeding penalty and took the lead in the closing laps to score the victory in the NASCAR XFINITY Series Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

After being penalized for speeding on pit road during the fifth caution of the race, Jones worked his way back through the field until he restarted second on the penultimate restart with 23 laps to go. Two laps later, he put the chrome bumper to leader Ryan Blaney, took the lead and held him off on a three-lap restart to end the race and win for the eighth time in his career.

“It was just hard racing,” said Jones. “We ended up racing hard and getting by him. To come back from a pit road penalty like that, it’s a race I won’t forget for a long time — just an awesome day.”

Blaney finished runner-up and Daniel Suarez rounded out the podium.

Elliott Sadler and Daniel Hemric round out the top-five.

Ty Dillon, Kyle Larson, Brennan Poole, Blake Koch and Michael Annett round out the top-five.

Larson led the field to the green flag at 1:04 p.m. He lost the lead to Jones on lap 20, but took it back five laps later passing him exiting Turn 2 and held it through the end of the stage.

The race restarted on lap 95 and was stopped twice, for a spin into the Turn 2 wall by Ray Black Jr. and rain delaying the race for over 90 minutes (1:38.52), but won by Daniel Hemric after the leaders opted to short-pit the stage caution as the caution for rain came with eight laps before the end of the stage.

Blaney cycled to the lead under the stage break caution.

Larson took the race lead again with 95 to go, but he lost it under the fifth caution with 95 to go and wasn’t a factor in the race win.

The run to the finish was set up by an incident on the backstretch related to Ross Chastain.

Justin Allgaier spins out in the closing laps of the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Photo: Tucker White/SpeedwayMedia.com

With 95 to go, Black spun out in Turn 4 and his front-end was clipped by David Starr. With 56 to go, Darrell Wallace Jr. tapped Brendan Gaughan and sent him spinning into a head-on collision with the inside wall on the frontstretch. With 45 to go, Wallace spun out and got t-boned by Garrett Smithley, brining out the red flag for five minutes and 10 seconds. The final caution flew with seven laps to go for a two-car incident involving Justin Allgaier and William Byron.

The race lasted two hours, 21 minutes and 38 seconds at an average speed of 67.738 mph. There were 15 lead changes among seven different drivers and nine cautions for 85 laps.

Sadler leaves Bristol with a 16-point lead over Byron.

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