NASCAR Cup Daytona: Jones beats Truex to maiden win in chaotic race

Alasdair Lindsay
Jones takes maiden win in chaotic Daytona race
Jones takes maiden win in chaotic Daytona race

Erik Jones scored his maiden NASCAR Cup series victory in a chaotic Daytona race, in which more than half the field was eliminated in various accidents.

Joe Gibbs Racing driver Jones narrowly edged out his former team-mate and reigning champion Martin Truex Jr, biding his time with a quiet run to victory as others crashed out.

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Kevin Harvick had been battling with Truex for the lead late on until a late pile-up caused an aborted race finish, which resulted in Harvick being collected in a collision between Darrell Wallace Jr and Clint Bowyer and meant the lap counter was wound back to two laps remaining.

A similar approach to Jones paid dividends for AJ Allmendinger, who finished third after a quiet run in midfield throughout.

Kasey Kahne led several laps and drew alongside Truex after the race's final restart, but ran out of momentum and dropped to fourth by the chequered flag.

Chris Buescher and Ty Dillon in fifth and sixth were further beneficiaries of high attrition. A fuel pressure problem early in stage two for Dillon proved to be a blessing in disguise, helping him avoid a large pile-up shortly after.

Jones takes maiden win in chaotic Daytona race
Jones takes maiden win in chaotic Daytona race

A 20-car accident early in stage two eliminated several leading contenders, including the three Penske-entered cars of Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano and Ryan Blaney, plus Denny Hamlin and Kurt Busch.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr contributed to that accident when he spun Keselowski into the path of oncoming traffic behind, though a late block by Hendrick rookie William Byron had caused Keselowski to slow in front of Stenhouse immediately beforehand.

Despite winning both stages one and two, Stenhouse had a difficult race through involvement in multiple cautions thereafter.

He understeered wide and spun championship leader Kyle Busch into Byron almost immediately after his contact with Keselowski, forcing both to retire from collision damage.

Stenhouse's recovery drive was thwarted twice, firstly after being collected by a spinning Kyle Larson, then spinning out himself with a puncture caused by panel damage from clashing side-on with Aric Almirola. He eventually finished 17th.

Go FAS driver Matt DiBenedetto scored a season-best result of seventh, ahead of Ryan Newman and Austin Dillon in eighth and ninth.

Despite being involved in multiple accidents, Alex Bowman emerged mostly unscathed on each occasion, nursing his Hendrick car home in 10th place.

Michael McDowell had been a surprise contender for victory throughout but his hopes were also ended by attrition, as StarCom Racing part-timer Joey Gase spun out and collected him, Almirola and seven-time Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

Result - 168 laps

Pos

Driver

Team

Car

1

Erik Jones

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

2

Martin Truex Jr.

Furniture Row Racing

Toyota

3

A.J. Allmendinger

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

4

Kasey Kahne

Leavine Family Racing

Chevrolet

5

Chris Buescher

JTG Daugherty Racing

Chevrolet

6

Ty Dillon

Germain Racing

Chevrolet

7

Matt DiBenedetto

Go FAS Racing

Ford

8

Ryan Newman

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

9

Austin Dillon

Richard Childress Racing

Chevrolet

10

Alex Bowman

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

11

Jeffrey Earnhardt

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

12

Brendan Gaughan

Beard Motorsports

Chevrolet

13

D.J. Kennington

Gaunt Brothers Racing

Toyota

14

Darrell Wallace Jr.

Richard Petty Motorsports

Chevrolet

15

David Ragan

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

16

Ray Black Jr.

Rick Ware Racing

Chevrolet

17

Ricky Stenhouse Jr.

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

18

J.J. Yeley

BK Racing

Toyota

19

Kevin Harvick

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

20

Trevor Bayne

Roush Fenway Racing

Ford

21

Ross Chastain

Premium Motorsports

Chevrolet

22

Clint Bowyer

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

23

Jimmie Johnson

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

24

Landon Cassill

StarCom Racing

Chevrolet

25

Joey Gase

StarCom Racing

Chevrolet

26

Michael McDowell

Front Row Motorsports

Ford

27

Aric Almirola

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

28

Paul Menard

Wood Brothers Racing

Ford

29

Kyle Larson

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

30

Jamie McMurray

Chip Ganassi Racing

Chevrolet

31

Corey LaJoie

TriStar Motorsports

Chevrolet

32

William Byron

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

33

Kyle Busch

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

34

Chase Elliott

Hendrick Motorsports

Chevrolet

35

Daniel Suarez

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

36

Brad Keselowski

Team Penske

Ford

37

Kurt Busch

Stewart-Haas Racing

Ford

38

Denny Hamlin

Joe Gibbs Racing

Toyota

39

Joey Logano

Team Penske

Ford

40

Ryan Blaney

Team Penske

Ford

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