ThatsRacin

Roundup: Darrell Wallace Jr. gives Erik Jones needed push late for Xfinity win

Erik Jones won the Xfinity Series race at Dover International Speedway and took a $100,000 bonus from the series’ Dash-4-Cash program.

Four drivers were eligible for the bonus Saturday, and Jones won it for the second time this year. There’s one more Dash-4-Cash race, at Indianapolis this summer.

Jones led a race-high 76 laps in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota and he was cruising to the win until a caution came out with 11 laps remaining because Brendan Gaughan spun. The yellow flag ate up Jones’ lead over Alex Bowman, who pitted under the caution for four tires.

Jones did not pit and admitted he was worried about the strategy.

“At first I couldn’t see how many came to pit road, I was a little anxious to see how many came and how many stayed out,” he said. “Fortunately enough stayed out to make it viable for us to win.”

Jones was the leader on the restart with five to go, and Bowman was fourth. But Jones got a nice push from Darrell Wallace Jr. that allowed him to break free of the pack. Jones later thanked Wallace for the push.

“You’re welcome for that restart, Erik,” Wallace said as Jones was doing a celebratory burnout.

Wallace also had pitted under the caution, and in a backup car for Roush Fenway Racing, finished a career-best second.

“We were kind of in the cat-bird seat, wishing Erik would mess up,” said Wallace, who considered the runner-up finish fulfilling.

Bowman, in his first race of the year, led 33 laps before finishing third. He knew he wasn’t going to catch Jones once the caution came out, so the pit stop for tires was strategic by his JR Motorsports team.

“We didn’t have the short-run speed we needed,” Bowman said. “We put four tires on at the end trying to win the thing rather than settle for second.”

Elsewhere

IndyCar: Simon Pagenaud inherited the lead when Team Penske teammate Helio Castroneves pitted with 20 laps to go and then pulled away to win the Grand Prix of Indianapolis for his third straight victory and second in three years on the road course at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Pagenaud, who who started from the pole and led 57 of the 82 laps, beat Castroneves by 4.4748 seconds on the 2.439-mile, 14-turn course to become the first IndyCar driver to win three in a row since Scott Dixon in 2013.

Graham Rahal, who was pushed from the second row to the No. 24 starting spot in the 25-car field for failing a post-qualifying inspection, wound up leading two laps and finished fourth, a little more than seven seconds behind Pagenaud.

Formula One: Lewis Hamilton picked qualifying to edge Mercedes teammate Nico Rosberg for the first time this weekend and earn the pole for Sunday’s Spanish Grand Prix in Barcelona. Hamilton qualified nearly three-tenths of a second faster than Rosberg.

It was the third pole of the year for Hamilton, whose season has been plagued by mechanical failures and bad luck. A three-time world champion, he hasn’t won this year, and he trails his teammate by 43 points after four races.

Rosberg, however, he will be trying to win his eighth straight race, dating to last season. Only two drivers won five in a row to start a season, Nigel Mansell with Williams in 1992 and Michael Schumacher with Ferrari in 2004.

National Hot Rod Association: Jack Beckman topped Funny Car qualifying at the Southern Nationals in Commerce, Ga. A two-time winner at Atlanta Dragway and 2012 Funny Car season champion, Beckman used his track-record 3.939-second run at 326.32 mph from Friday night in his Dodge Charger R/T night to earn his fourth No. 1 of the season and 19th of his career.

Doug Kalitta led the Top Fuel field, Greg Anderson was fastest in Pro Stock, and Angelle Sampey topped the Pro Stock Motorcycle lineup.

News Services

  Comments