Posted By: Brian Eberly – Follow at @beberly18
June 21, 2015
Erik Jones led six times for a race-high 94 laps in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota to take the victory by 1.958 seconds over Ryan Blaney in the rain-delayed Owens Corning AttiCat 300 at Chicagoland Speedway.
Jones earned his second career XFINITY Series victory and the second in a row for the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing crew, which won last weekend at Michigan with Kyle Busch behind the wheel.
The race capped a week chocked full of winning for the 19-year-old driver. Jones won the Battle at Berlin Super Late Model race on Tuesday evening before heading to Iowa Speedway and putting on a dominant performance in the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota to earn victory No. 2 of the week in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series American Ethanol 200.
“It’s pretty awesome to get this Monster Energy Toyota back to victory lane. It’s two weeks in a row for these guys. That’s three wins this week for me – that’s pretty awesome,” an excited Jones said.
“It’s just cool to be back here – thanks to Kyle Busch Motorsports for Friday, Joe Gibbs Racing for today and Port City Race Cars for Tuesday, XFINITY for doing this for us, the fans and – man, what a day, what a day.”
Heavy rain rolled through the Chicagoland area on Saturday night just prior to driver introductions and the wet weather coupled with the lightning pushed the race to Sunday at noon EST.
It’s safe to say that it was worth the wait as the stars and cars of the NASCAR XFINITY Series put on a show during a Sprint Cup Series off-weekend.
Blaney led 43 laps in the No. 22 Hertz Ford after going to a backup car as a result of hitting the wall during Round No. 2 of knockout qualifying on Saturday afternoon. Starting from the rear of the field, Blaney charged to the front as he cracked the top-five before the competition caution flew at Lap 25.
Austin Dillon, Brendan Gaughan, and Chris Buescher rounded out the top-five.
When caution flag number five of the afternoon waved on Lap 151, the NASCAR tower indicated pit road was open and several cars pitted to take tires and fuel. However, the light at the end of pit road as well as the flag, which is the official indicator, was still red. A total of 22 cars were penalized for pitting before pit road was open under that caution and were forced to start at the tail end of the field.
Those cars included race-winner Erik Jones and Austin Dillon and Jones would restart from the ninth position.
Ross Kenseth finished sixth in his series debut in the No. 20 Dollar General Toyota.
“There at the end I felt we were really good – a third, fourth-place car – a little disappointed we didn’t get into the top-five. These guys worked so hard at it and gave me a great car this weekend,” Kenseth said.
“For a one-off deal like this, I was happy. I was hopping in this car, it’s been competitive all year, so I’m hoping we can do it again.”
Defending race winner Chase Elliott got loose off of Turn No. 2 and spun his No. 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet with just 23 laps to go. Elliott was unable to recover and finished 14th.
The race featured 23 lead changes among 11 different leaders and was slowed by seven caution flags for 39 laps. The 23 lead changes was a record for the series at Chicagoland Speedway, breaking the previous best of 21 set in June 2011.
Buescher heads into the off week for the XFINITY Series with a 29 point lead over Ty Dillon in the championship standings.