Rain Delayed Darlington Goes to Jones

Erik Jones 

(DARLINGTON, SC – SEP 2, 2019 – RIS) Starting after a long delay for two rainstorms, the 70thBojangles' Southern 500 turned into a race marked by pit stop strategy and quick stops. Kyle Busch's crew gained the No. 18 car spot after spot on the track with quick stops, putting him in position to challenge for the lead and the win. But his efforts meant that he overextended the car in the final laps, slapping the wall a couple of times and handing the win to Erik Jones in his hundredth career race and making the race the tenth victory for Joe Gibbs Racing in the season.

Well, it's pretty special, my 100th start. I guess sometimes funny things happen, right, and 100th start we're in victory lane with my first‑ever scheme on a big car, so it's pretty special.  Thanks to Sport Clips for letting me run that. That meant a lot to me and my family. My mom is here for this one and that's great. But all my partners, man, I'm so happy for them, DeWalt, Craftsman, Reser, Stanley, Circle K, Interstate, Toyota, just sticking with me through this - it's been a big year of speculation and maybe moving around and I don't think there's much more to say than this right here, so it's pretty good.”

Busch led a race high 118 laps, with older brother Kurt Busch next at 94 rounds in front of the field.

Second place finisher Kyle Larson commented that for him to have a chance at passing Jones, he needed: ""Six inches less in the spoiler probably, for everybody." It was just really hard to pass. I think this package has been good for a lot of places but here." It's a high grip track, already narrow. It was just tough to pass. I felt better than the 18 there at the end. Anytime I got within a few car lengths from him, I would lose a lot of grip. It came down to restarts and pit stops.

"I'm disappointed about that, but we had some good stops and some bad ones. But, all in all, it was a good day. Good to get another good finish here. It was nice to have a shot to win. We thought we would have a dominating car after practice, but we were still a top-3 car. I thought it would be a little easier."

Jimmie Johnson finished 16thand goes into the race next weekend at Indianapolis in need of a win to ensure him of a spot in the playoffs this year, commenting: "we are running out of days and if we miss it, it's just going to be by a few I believe. If I look back over the first half of the season, I see a lot of races where we gave away a few points. So, it's kind of unfair to put all the pressure on one race in Indy. But it is what it is and we are going to go there to win a race. I felt like we could have been a top 3 or 4 car and really help ourselves, but it is what it is. At least my car looked cool. I'm very happy to have that throwback, with Ally, Chevrolet and all the support from my family and friends. We'll go to Indy and see what happens."

The No. 18 got a flat right rear from hitting the wall and drove around the track for the last two laps, almost leaning on the wall the entire time.

William Byron went from the pole to problems, eventually getting caught in a multi-car crash on lap 274 and dropping back two laps to the leaders.

Slowed by seven cautions, including a lap 35 competition yellow and the two Stage-ending flags, the race ran to an average speed of 133.825mph.

The race set up a tie between Alex Bowman and Jones, both at 694 points leading into the final regular season race at Indianapolis. Ryan Newman and Daniel Suarez are tied for 16thplace, at 617 points. The two made contact during the Labor Day race, leading Newman to comment that: "I have to watch the replay.  They said he hit me, but I don’t know. He had me jacked up sideways going into the corner, so do I owe him?  Probably a little something."

Unofficial Race Results: 70th Annual Bojangles' Southern 500 - September 1, 2019

Fin, Str, Driver, Car, Laps, St1, St2, Tms Led, Laps Led, Playoff Pts, Pts, Status
1)15, Erik Jones, No. 20 Sport Clips Throwback Toyota, 367, 10, 4, 2, 79, 5, 48, Running
2)3, Kyle Larson, No. 42 Clover Chevrolet, 367, 3, 5, 2, 44, , 49, Running
3)33, Kyle Busch, No. 18 Snickers Throwback Toyota, 367, 4, 1, 1, 118, 1, 51, Running
4)11, Kevin Harvick, No. 4 Busch Beer/Big Buck Hunter Ford, 367, , 10, , , , 34, Running
5)2, Brad Keselowski, No. 2 Miller Ford, 367, 7, 9, 1, 19, , 38, Running
6)13, Clint Bowyer, No. 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford, 367, , 6, 1, 1, , 36, Running
7)4, Kurt Busch, No. 1 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet, 367, 1, 2, 4, 94, 1, 49, Running
8)19, Matt DiBenedetto, No. 95 No. 95 IMSA GTO Throwback Toyota, 367, , , , , , 29, Running
9)17, Paul Menard, No. 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford, 367, , , , , , 28, Running
10)14, Austin Dillon, No. 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet, 367, , , , , , 27, Running
11)5, Daniel Suarez, No. 41 Haas Automation Ford, 367, , , , , , 26, Running
12)12, Chris Buescher, No. 37 Kroger Fast Lane to Flavor Chevrolet, 367, , , , , , 25, Running
13)10, Ryan Blaney, No. 12 Menards/Pennzoil Ford, 366, , , , , , 24, Running
14)7, Joey Logano, No. 22 Shell Pennzoil Ford, 366, 8, , , , , 26, Running
15)22, Martin Truex Jr., No. 19 Bass Pro Shops Toyota, 366, 9, , , , , 24, Running
16)6, Jimmie Johnson, No. 48 Ally Throwback Chevrolet, 366, 2, 7, 1, 3, , 34, Running
17)30, Aric Almirola, No. 10 Smithfield Ford, 366, , , , , , 20, Running
18)16, Alex Bowman, No. 88 Axalta Throwback Chevrolet, 365, , , , , , 19, Running
19)8, Chase Elliott, No. 9 NAPA Throwback Chevrolet, 365, 6, , 1, 9, , 23, Running
20)29, Ty Dillon, No. 13 GEICO Chevrolet, 365, , , , , , 17, Running
21)1, William Byron, No. 24 HendrickAutogrd/CtyChevrolet Throwback Chev, 365, , 8, , , , 19, Running
22)20, Ryan Preece #, No. 47 Kroger Chevrolet, 365, , , , , , 15, Running
23)24, Ryan Newman, No. 6 Oscar Mayer/Velveeta Ford, 365, , , , , , 14, Running
24)28, Bubba Wallace, No. 43 Victory Junction 15th Anniversary Chevrolet, 365, , , , , , 13, Running
25)25, Landon Cassill(i), No. 00 StarCom Fiber Chevrolet, 364, , , , , , 0, Running
26)26, David Ragan, No. 38 Shriners Hospital for Children Ford, 363, , , , , , 11, Running
27)32, Matt Tifft #, No. 36 Hilliker Glass/Surface Ford, 362, , , , , , 10, Running
28)31, Ross Chastain(i), No. 15 Chevrolet, 361, , , , , , 0, Running
29)9, Denny Hamlin, No. 11 FedEx Darlington Throwback Toyota, 356, 5, 3, , , , 22, Running
30)34, Reed Sorenson, No. 77 Motor Racing Network Chevrolet, 355, , , , , , 7, Running
31)37, * Joe Nemechek(i), No. 27 Chevrolet, 354, , , , , , 0, Running
32)35, JJ Yeley(i), No. 52 JACOB Companies Chevrolet, 352, , , , , , 0, Running
33)21, Ricky Stenhouse Jr., No. 17 Dog's Most Wanted Ford, 351, , , , , , 4, Running
34)39, * Joey Gase(i), No. 66 MBM Motorsports Toyota, 349, , , , , , 0, Running
35)38, * Garrett Smithley(i), No. 54 AQRE App Chevrolet, 344, , , , , , 0, Running
36)27, Corey LaJoie, No. 32 CorvetteParts.net Ford, 330, , , , , , 1, Running
37)18, Daniel Hemric #, No. 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet, 274, , , , , , 1, Accident
38)23, Michael McDowell, No. 34 Dockside Logistics Ford, 274, , , , , , 1, Accident
39)36, BJ McLeod(i), No. 51 JACOB Companies Chevrolet, 194, , , , , , 0, Accident
(i) Ineligible for driver points in this series, (#) Rookie

Darlington Raceway - Darlington, SC - 1.366 - Mile Paved
Time of Race:3 Hrs, 44 Mins, 46 Secs.
Total Race Length:367 Laps, 501.322 Miles
Average Speed:133.825 MPH
Margin of Victory:4.058 Seconds

Stage 1 Top 10:1, 48, 42, 18, 11, 9, 2, 22, 19, 20
Stage 2 Top 10:18, 1, 11, 20, 42, 14, 48, 24, 2, 4

Race Comments:Erik Jones won the 70th Annual Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway, his second career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.

Prior to the start of the racethe following cars dropped to the rear of the field under penalty for the reasons indicated: No. 10 (backup car), No. 18 (enginge change), No. 77 (transmission), No. 27 and 51 (unapproved adjustments).

Caution Flags:7 for 35 laps;
Laps:37-40 (Competition Caution [15]);
69-72 (No. 38 and 54 Incident on the Backstretch [32]);
102-106 (Stage 1 Conclusion [15]);
142-145 (No. 6 and 41 Incident in Turn 2 [36]);
159-162 (No. 32 Spin in Turn 2 [6]);
199-206 (No. 36 and 51 Incident in Turn 1 [38]);
276-281 (No. 1, 8, 11, 24, 34, 48 Incident in Turn 4 [3]).

Lead Changes:13 among 8 drivers;
W. Byron 0;
B. Keselowski 1-19;
K. Busch 20-69;
C. Elliott 70-78;
K. Busch 79-103;
K. Larson 104-142;
K. Busch 143-159;
K. Busch 160-277;
K. Larson 278-282;
E. Jones 283-320;
C. Bowyer 321;
K. Busch 322-323;
J. Johnson 324-326;
E. Jones 327-367.

American Ethanol Green Flag Restart Award:Kurt Busch, No. 1 
Busch Pole Award:William Byron, No. 24 172.487 mph

Fastest Lap:William Byron, No. 24 
Moog Go the Extra Mile:Kurt Busch, No. 1 crew chief Matt McCall, 2.735 seconds

Sunoco Rookie of the Race:Ryan Preece, No. 47 

#      LAP   BENEFICIARY      REASON

1      35     15           Competition Caution

2      67     32           #38 and 54 Incident on the Backstretch

3      100   15           Stage 1 Conclusion

4      140   36           #6 and 41 Incident in Turn 2

5      157   6             #32 Spin in Turn 2

6      197   38           #36 and 51 Incident in Turn 1

7      274   3 #1, 8, 11, 24, 34, 48 Incident in Turn 4

John Davison

Long-time RIS staffer, beginning in the mid-80s. Charlotte, NC area local contact.

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Volume 2019, Issue 8, Posted 3:10 AM, 09.02.2019