Dillon and Jones at odds after Iowa altercationBy Kelly Crandall
In just his third career Camping World Truck Series start, rookie Eric Jones was wheeling the No. 51 Toyota Care Toyota as if its owner, Kyle Busch, was behind the wheel.
Charging alongside Jones was the sophomore, going for his third career win in his No. 3 Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet. Ty Dillon says Jones ran him into the wall coming off turn four, Jones said it was just racing.
The two were running second and third with less than five laps to go as Timothy Peters drove away with the lead and the eventual win. Dillon closed on Jones for second, reaching his back bumper as the two came out of turn four but Dillon hit the wall. As Jones finished second, Dillon limped his wounded machine to a 16th place finish.
“I was just telling him the next time you race, you don’t have to use your mirror so much,” Dillon said of the incident.
“It happened a couple laps before, not as bad as that time [with three laps to go]. I got under him and he just started at the bottom of the racetrack and then shoots right up to the top in the middle of the corner, thinking that I’m going to lift.
“The first time he did it we nearly wrecked on the frontstretch and then he did it again and I had no room … I might have had a lane there, but for me to move on the outside of him I was in the marbles, and as soon as I hit the marbles it just sent me into the wall.”
After their trucks had come to a stop on pit road Dillon, still with his helmet on, went to confront Jones, who was also disengaging himself from his truck. As crewmembers closely watched, Dillon said his peace and left, although Jones later said he wasn’t sure what Dillon was upset about or what exactly he had said.
But as Dillon told the TV audience, “He’ll learn. It’s his first couple races but I was just going to prove a point. If he does it again, it’s not going to be good.”
It was a career best finish for Jones, who previously scored ninth place finishes at Martinsville and Rockingham. The 17-year-old Michigan native captured Busch’s attention last year when he beat him at the Snowball Derby in Florida, a prestigious short track event. He’s scheduled to compete in a few mores CWTS races later this year for KBM.
On Saturday night he qualified seventh – also a career best – and ran amongst the leaders all evening, keeping his nose clean. Until Dillon felt he ruined his.
“It was just a racing deal, he tried to go to the outside and when you get up on a truck like that, it’s going to take the air off his nose and he’s going to get tight,” Jones responded.
“He might have thought I ran him up in the wall but everyone I’ve talked to has thought the opposite. Really thought it was a racing deal. He got up there just trying to make something happen with a few laps to go and got tight and got into the wall and thought maybe I ran him a little bit tight.
“But feel like we did what we were supposed to do and didn’t do anything wrong there.”
Dillon fell two spots in the standings as a result of his finish after he too ran with the leaders, even leading a race high 65 laps. He’s now fourth heading into the inaugural CWTS race at Eldora next Wednesday night. Jones is not entered in the event. But Dillon, who has a lone win this season, will be focused on using his dirt track experience as an advantage.
NASCAR returns to a dirt track for the first time in 43 years, thanks in part to Sprint Cup Champion Tony Stewart and his staff in Rossburg, Ohio. The grandson of Richard Childress grew up racing on dirt with quite a bit of success, including a win in the All-Star Shootout on the dirt track at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
The CWTS will hit the track for the first time on Tuesday for practice sessions before qualifying and racing on Wednesday. The Carcash Mudsummer Classic can be seen on SPEED Channel with the green flag waving after 9:30 p.m. ET.