JONES YOUNGEST NASCAR TOURING SERIES WINNER
Seventeen-year-old Erik Jones of Byron, Michigan, became the youngest-ever race winner of a NASCAR national touring series event when he piloted his truck to victory on Friday night at Phoenix International Raceway.
Jones, who had been beaten on the previous two restarts by pole-sitter and eventual second place finisher Ross Chastain, sparked awake his Wake Up Narcolepsy Awake Toyota coming off turn 2 with nine laps to go just after the race's last restart and got around Chastain to take the 23rd annual Camping World Truck Series, the season's next to last NASCAR Camping World Truck Series event.
Matt Crafton, the season's points leader, failed to clinch the series title when he finished fifth, one spot behind Ty Dillon, who remains the only driver still in the running for the championship. But, Crafton, leading by 46 points, needs only to take the green flag at Homestaed-Miami Speedway next week to cop the title.
Crafton said Jones "looked like Kyle Busch tonight," in complementing the frequent truck series winner who owns Jones' entry. Crafton also tipped his cap to the group of 2013 rookies: "It's a different crop this year."
James Buescher was eliminated from title contention but battled well early, holding second place until being shuffled back during pit stops. He finished ninth.
Veteran driver Brendan Gaughan led a number of laps while staying near the front all night and finishing third.
Related PIR News
Two-time Olympian and current UFC star Dan Henderson will lead the field to the green flag behind the wheel of the Official Toyota Camry Pace Car at the start of the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway on Sunday, March 15. Henderson’s appearance was the result of a partnership between PIR and Niner Sports & Entertainment. As the official pace car driver, the 44-year old mixed martial artist will take an honorary lap around the one-mile oval.
Phoenix International Raceway was honored twice in recent weeks by NASCAR for outstanding work in the areas of marketing and community outreach. Earlier this year, PIR's 50th Anniversary was named NASCAR's Marketing Campaign of the Year and the PIR Track Services team received NASCAR's Track Services Teamwork Award; and today, PIR Communications Manager Greg Fresquez received NASCAR's Industry Ambassador Award.
NASCAR Sprint Cup Series star Kevin Harvick, driver of the No. 4 Budweiser Chevrolet, is scheduled to appear at Phoenix International Raceway’s Budweiser ROLL-BAR Club for a moderated question and answer session before the CampingWorld.com 500 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race on Sunday, March 15.
Phoenix International Raceway hosted up-and-coming driver Ruben Garcia Jr. from the NASCAR Mexico Series as he spoke to more than 2,000 high school students at La Joya Community High School in Avondale on Wednesday, Feb. 18. In addition to his racing background, Garcia talked with the students about the importance of education and pursuing their goals.
Fans coming to the CampingWorld.com 500 at Phoenix International Raceway will be in for a treat prior to the race. That morning, the popular Grammy-nominated and multi-platinum rock group Tonic will perform a pre-race concert in the fan midway area at 10:30 a.m. MST.