Jones Makes History, Crafton Expected to Claim NCWTS Championship

He’s 17 and he’s a winner in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. Erik Jones drove the No. 51 Toyota truck for Kyle Busch Motorsports into victory lane in the Lucas Oil 150 at Phoenix International Raceway Friday night becoming the youngest driver in history to win in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series (NCWTS).

Ross Chastain didn’t let him have the win easily as they were door-to-door on the final restart of the race with less than 15 laps to go. Chastain had cleared Jones for two laps when Jones came roaring past him to take the lead for the last time of the night. Jones finished more than a second ahead of second place runner Chastain when Jones took the checkered flag.

Jones was the lap leader with 83 laps, Chastain lead 63 laps and Brendan Gaughan had three laps to his credit as the leader.

Seven caution flags flew during the race. The first came early in the race with an accident involving Brendan Newberry. Ron Hornaday, Jr. had a scary crash on lap 110 where a right front tire blew and his truck slammed hard into the wall. When Hornaday talked to reporters as he exited the infield care center, he said he would not be in the No. 9 in the final race of the season next week but will be driving a truck for Turner Scott Motorsports at Homestead.

In a post-race interview, Ross Chastain said he was grateful for his chance to drive the No. 19 this season, but told FoxSports1 reporter Bob Dillner that his future is up in the air and may not be returning to drive this truck for Brad Keselowski Racing next season. No announcements have come from the race team concerning a driver for next season for the No. 19 truck nor in the No. 29 which is piloted by Ryan Blaney. Blaney finished in the seventh spot after starting back in the field after changing tires before the start of the race. He spun during his second qualifying lap and changed tires after that incident.

Brendan Gaughan had a strong third place finish and with Ty Dillon’s fourth place finish, he moves up to the second spot in the championship standings.

Championship points leader, Matt Crafton, just has to start in next week’s race at Homestead-Miami Speedway to clinch this year’s title. He leads the championship by 46 points over Dillon. Crafton had a fifth place finish tonight. Part-time driver, Cale Gale, finished sixth, Blaney seventh, and Johnny Sauter eighth. Last season’s NCWTS champion, James Buescher, finished in the ninth spot which caused him to slip into third in the championship. Chase Elliott claimed the last position in the top ten.

The last race in the NCWTS is next Friday, Nov. 15 at Homestead-Miami Speedway.