Jones Wins at Darlington


Erik Jones won the Bojangles’ Southern 500 from Darlington Raceway on Sunday night to lock himself into the playoffs.

Jones took the lead late in the race, and had to hold off his teammate Kyle Busch over the final run.

With Busch closing in, Jones said he was doing everything he could to hold off his teammate.

“I’m wore out, mentally and physically,” Jones said.  “Kyle was really running hard, he’s one of the best guys out there.  I was pedaling as hard as I could, just glad to hold him off.”

Sean Gardner/Getty Images

Jones’ future with Joe Gibbs Racing has been up in the air in recent weeks, as the team tries to find a way to get Xfinity driver Christopher Bell into the Cup Series.

Jones said getting to victory lane was a good way of showing that he can get it done in NASCAR’s top series.

“There been a lot of doubt and a lot of speculation; I put my heart and soul into this race team,” Jones said.  “Finally got to victory lane.  I feel like it’s been coming for a long time, so just nice to get it.”

Busch started to run Jones down in the final 20 laps, but got into the wall with three laps to go.  After cutting his right-front tire, Busch rode the outside wall the final two laps to finish third.

Busch said the current rules package played a part in his inability to get by Jones.

“You just can’t get there with this package; such a one-lane racetrack, there’s not enough options, not enough grooves to…close that gap and make that pass,” Busch said.  “Luckily we were able to salvage a third, just dragging the fence the last two laps.”

Unofficial results:

  1. Erik Jones
  2. Kyle Larson
  3. Kyle Busch
  4. Kevin Harvick
  5. Brad Keselowski
  6. Clint Bowyer
  7. Kurt Busch
  8. Matt DiBenedetto
  9. Paul Menard
  10. Austin Dillon
  11. Daniel Suarez
  12. Chris Buescher
  13. Ryan Blaney
  14. Joey Logano
  15. Martin Truex Jr.
  16. Jimmie Johnson
  17. Aric Almirola
  18. Alex Bowman
  19. Chase Elliott
  20. Ty Dillon
  21. William Byron
  22. Ryan Preece
  23. Ryan Newman
  24. Bubba Wallace
  25. Landon Cassill
  26. David Ragan
  27. Matt Tifft
  28. Ross Chastain
  29. Denny Hamlin
  30. Reed Sorenson
  31. Joe Nemechek
  32. JJ Yeley
  33. Ricky Stenhouse Jr.
  34. Joey Gase
  35. Garrett Smithley
  36. Corey LaJoie
  37. Daniel Hemric
  38. Michael McDowell
  39. BJ McLeod