Erik Jones wins pole for NASCAR Trucks at Phoenix with track-record run

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Erik Jones will start from the pole position in tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway, while series points leader Matt Crafton will start alongside him in the front row.

Jones set a new Truck Series qualifying record at PIR with his lap of 135.532 mph in the No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra. He’ll be looking to claim his third victory of the season after earlier triumphs at Iowa and Las Vegas.

“We made two runs there and we couldn’t ask for anything better than that,” Jones told Fox Sports. “It’s a fast Dollar General Tundra from kinda when we unloaded.

“We made good adjustments [in practice] yesterday, and everybody did a good job getting it to where I want it to be. I think it’s gonna be good tonight, and I hope it comes alive even more when the night kicks in.”

Jones easily bested Crafton in the final round of qualifying by more than two-tenths of a second.

But Crafton, the defending Truck Series champ, will still have an early advantage against his current title rival, Ryan Blaney, who failed to advance from the first round and must start 17th. Crafton holds a 23-point lead over Blaney going into the next-to-last race of 2014.

“I do have a truck capable of racing with [Jones] in race trim, but man, the 51’s got the speed in [qualifying] trim, that’s for sure,” Crafton said to Fox after quals. “Hopefully, we’ve got something for them at the end of the night.”

A pair of Turner Scott Motorsports drivers make up the second row with Ben Kennedy on the inside and recently crowned K&N Pro Series East champ Ben Rhodes on the outside.

Joey Coulter and Spencer Gallagher are in Row 3, followed by Tyler Reddick and John Hunter Nemechek in Row 4. Darrell “Bubba” Wallace and Timothy Peters will go off from Row 5, while Sprint Cup rookie Austin Dillon is set to go from 12th position on the outside of Row 6.

Green flag for the Lucas Oil 150 is scheduled to drop later tonight, shortly after 8:30 p.m. ET.

NASCAR Camping World Truck Series at Phoenix – Starting Lineup

‘One and Only’ Kyle Larson wins Outlaws opener at Knoxville Raceway

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Paul Arch/World of Outlaws
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The magic of dirt racing wins for Kyle Larson continued Thursday night at Knoxville Raceway, where he scored his third consecutive World of Outlaws victory at the famed half-mile track to open “The One and Only.”

After starting 10th, Larson sliced through the field and passed pole-sitter Logan Schuchart to lead the final eight laps in the No. 57 of car owner Paul Silva.

“Just an awesome race,” Larson said after earning $10,000 for his second consecutive NOS Energy Drink Sprint Car Series victory (after winning at Pevely, Missouri, last Saturday), his sixth Outlaws victory this season and 14th of his career.

LARSON ON NASCAR‘I’d love an opportunity if it came’

“I was able to track Logan down and hit the bottom really well in (turns) 1 and 2 and got a run on him.  It felt like I needed to take advantage of that before we got to heavier traffic and slid him and felt some contact. So, glad to see him not in the wall or anything like that. Just, hard work there. Heartbeat is up again.”

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson scored his sixth World of Outlaws victory Thursday (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).

It was the fourth Knoxville victory this year for Larson, who swept a World of Outlaws doubleheader weekend June 12-13 at the Sprint Car Captial of the World. He has more than 30 victories this year in sprint cars and midgets.

The One and Only continues Friday night with another $10,000 feature race that will set the starting lineup for Saturday’s Brownells Capitani Classic, which pays $50,000 to win.

The event is the Outlaws’ richest purse of 2020 and subs in for the annual Knoxville Nationals, which was canceled for COVID-19 concerns. Larson, a two-time Knoxville Nationals runner-up, has said winning The One and Only would be on the same as Knoxville’s signature event because of its tough three-day format.

Through the first of three nights, Schuchart and Larson are tied for second in The One and Only points standings, which factor in qualifying, heats, dash and feature races. Aaron Reutzel, an All Star Circuit of Champions stalwart who finished third Thursday, leads with 430 points.

A crash in Thursday’s 25-lap feature eliminated past Outlaws champions Brad Sweet and Donny Schatz after Cory Eliason spun in front of Sweet in Turn 1 to start the wreck, which also collected Sweet’s teammate, James McFadden. Sweet and Schatz finished outside the top 20, which moved Schuchart into the points lead for the 2020 season.

Schuchart still seemed slightly miffed after finishing second to Larson.

“As the race went on, I felt like I wasn’t hitting my marks as good,” he said. “I would have liked to of had a little bit better of a race with Kyle there. I wish his slide job was a little better there, but he’s got a reputation to live up to. That’s where you let other people make the rules and maybe we’ll get him next time.”


RESULTS

NOS Energy Drink Feature (25 Laps) – 1. 57-Kyle Larson [10]; 2. 1S-Logan Schuchart [1]; 3. 87-Aaron Reutzel [2]; 4. 2-Carson Macedo [24]; 5. 41-David Gravel [6]; 6. 21-Brian Brown [7]; 7. 71-Spencer Bayston [3]; 8. 18-Gio Scelzi [15]; 9. 12N-Joey Saldana [5]; 10. 5-Ian Madsen [19]; 11. 17A-Austin McCarl [21]; 12. 1A-Jacob Allen [11]; 13. 7BC-Tyler Courtney [16]; 14. 7S-Jason Sides [20]; 15. 24-Rico Abreu [22]; 16. 4-Terry McCarl [13]; 17. 2KS-Brooke Tatnell [18]; 18. O9-Matt Juhl [23]; 19. 17-Sheldon Haudenschild [25]; 20. 83-Daryn Pittman [9]; 21. 11K-Kraig Kinser [17]; 22. 15-Donny Schatz [8]; 23. 26-Cory Eliason [4]; 24. 49-Brad Sweet [12]; 25. 9-James McFadden [14]; Lap Leaders: Logan Schuchart 1-17, Kyle Larson 18-25; KSE Hard Charger Award: 2-Carson Macedo[+20]

Kyle Larson wins Knoxville
Kyle Larson celebrated with his family and team after the first night of The One and Only (Trent Gower/World of Outlaws).