Erik Jones dominated from the pole in the Lucas Oil 150 NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway on Friday night. Leading 114 of 126 laps, Jones made his way through the night under a full moon and won for a second straight time at ZOOMTOWN, U.S.A.
NASCAR officials delayed and ultimately shortened the race from 150 laps due to failures in the local power grid for the safety of the competitors.
Three caution flags slowed the early part of the race as the yellow flag was out for the opening 28 of 33 laps. That was followed by a red flag on lap 43 for Joey Coulter’s wreck in turn 3. When the lights went out again with 24 laps to go, it was all over with Jones in the lead and series points-leader Matt Crafton in second place.
Crafton had a chance to wrap up the championship on Friday, and even though he held a solid second position nearly all night, he could not clinch. Ryan Blaney, 26 title points behind at the start, overcame his season-worst 17th starting spot to finish fourth. Blaney remains in contention heading into next weekend’s season finale in Homestead, Fla.
A series of green flag stops by the leaders during lap counts in the 80s and low 90s, put Darrell Wallace, Jr., in the lead for 12 laps. Wallace’s team had pitted out of sequence during an earlier caution, the only lead-lap truck to take that opportunity. But, that is where Wallace’s luck ran out. A number of extra pit stops for chassis issues dropped him to a sixth place finish, and NASCAR confiscated one of his team’s gas cans.
Just 31 laps from the end, Cole Custer and John Hunter Nemechek raced each other hard while fighting for third place on a restart. Nemechek came away with bent sheet metal rubbing on his left-front tire, and it doomed him to an eighth place finish. Custer hung onto third place.
“(It was) good hard racing; I guess it was just one of those racing deals,” said Nemechek after Custer had apologized.Plenty of great action awaits race fans before the NASCAR weekend and PIR’s 50th anniversary are completed Sunday. Grandstand seats for Sunday’s NASCAR Sprint Cup Quicken Loans Race for Heroes 500 are sold out, but hillside tickets are still available for $40 each. Many great seat locations are still available for Saturday afternoon’s NASCAR Nationwide Series DAV 200 - Honoring America’s Veterans.