Byron's Erik Jones, 19, earns win at Chicagoland
Joliet, Ill. — Erik Jones could be driving for Joe Gibbs Racing in a Sprint Cup car at some point in the future.
For now, Jones, 19, is content driving for Gibbs in NASCAR's Xfinity series and for Kyle Busch, one of Gibbs' stars, in the truck series.
That feeling might be expected from someone who capped the weekend with an Xfinity victory in the AttiCat 300 at Chicagoland Speedway on Sunday.
The Byron, Michigan native had won Friday's truck race in Newton, Iowa.
According to NASCAR, Jones is the youngest driver to win two NASCAR national series races in the same weekend.
Jones is third in the truck series standings, which makes him ineligible for Xfinity points. But with two wins and six other top-nine finishes in the Xfinity circuit this season, he'd rank high.
"I'm definitely content racing for truck series points," Jones said after beating Ryan Blaney's Ford to the finish line at Chicagoland by 1.958 seconds in his Toyota-powered Gibbs chassis.
"That team wants to run for a driver's championship, and I felt we owed it to them to be back this year."
When Jones will move up to Sprint Cup is undetermined. Gibbs has a full roster of drivers, but it's expected to happen eventually.
"I'm sure we'll see him in the Cup at some time in the future," said Steve deSouza, Gibbs' Xfinity series manager. "He's doing everything we thought he could do."
Jones took the lead from Blaney with 11 laps remaining in the 200-lap race, grabbing it on the lap 190 restart.
"I went to the top in Turns 1 and 2 and he went to the bottom," Jones said of Blaney. "He got tight or loose and I got a run and barreled into Turn 3. It was a matter of him making a little mistake. I don't know if he'd had won if he hadn't done that."
Jones led 94 laps. Blaney led 43 laps after starting 38th in the field in a backup car.
"It was a patient day, but I felt I threw it away (Saturday) by wrecking our primary," Blaney said. "For our team to get the backup car out and having it leading in the last little bit, that really speaks volumes about how well they prepare."
Jones won despite being one of 19 drivers sent to the back of the field after pitting before the pits were opened at the beginning of a caution. He restarted 10th and on lap 160 and quickly moved through the field.
"It was just kind of a mess," Jones said. "I knew it wasn't the end of our day. I was pretty confident in our car through traffic."
Jones also won a short track race in Berlin, Mich., last Tuesday, making him 3 for 3 this week.
"It's nice going into an off week like this," Jones said. "I can kind of bask in this and take it in."
Pole sitter Austin Dillon finished third, 2.3 seconds behind, with Brendan Gaughan fourth and Xfinity series standings leader Chris Buescher fifth.
Buescher's lead over Ty Dillon in the standings was trimmed to 29 points. Dillon finished ninth.
Buescher fell a lap behind when he was penalized for speeding on pit road close to the halfway point, but got the lap back when Darrell Wallace Jr. caused a caution by scraping the Turn 2 wall.
"With most of the field hitting pit road with the red lights flashing, we got our track position back," Buescher said. "They always say go by the flagger, not the lights, and he had the flag out."
Gibbs had three finishers in the top seven, with Ross Kenseth sixth in his NASCAR debut and Daniel Suarez seventh as the highest finishing NASCAR-designated rookie.
Sunday's race was postponed from Saturday night because of thunderstorms.