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

Report: Spencer Pigot out at Ed Carpenter Racing

Joe Skibinski / IndyCar
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Spencer Pigot will not return to Ed Carpenter Racing in 2020, according to a story Thursday by RACER.com.

The 26-year-old Floridian, who won the 2015 Indy Lights championship, is expected to be replaced in the No. 21 Chevrolet by 2019 Indy Lights runner-up Rinus VeeKay.

“I’m appreciative of the opportunity ECR gave me,” Pigot told RACER.com. “I understand the reasons they had to go in a different direction, and wish them all the best.”

In 56 NTT IndyCar Series starts, Pigot has 15 top 10 finishes, with a best finish of second at Iowa in 2018. He finished 14th in the 2019 point standings.

VeeKay, who tested in an Indy car twice for ECR in 2019, has six wins in 18 Indy Lights starts, including a weekend sweep of the final two rounds of the season at Laguna Seca in September.

A representative from ECR told NBC Sports Thursday that the team currently could not comment on any driver rumors as the team currently does not have any drivers under contract for the 2020 season, although it is presumed that owner/driver Carpenter will return to the No. 20 entry for the oval rounds.

NBC Sports will provide updates on the story once more information becomes available.