In a way, it’s sort of fitting that a lights-out performance from Erik Jones in tonight’s NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Phoenix International Raceway ended because…The lights went out.
After the start of the Lucas Oil 150 was delayed by more than an hour due to a power outage west of the city, a second outage with 24 laps left to go brought out the red flag. Shortly after, NASCAR decided to call the race, which gave Jones his third Truck win of 2014.
NASCAR senior director of communications for competition Kerry Tharp later tweeted that NASCAR couldn’t guarantee the lights would not go out again:
Jones, who won his first career Truck race last fall at PIR and led 114 of the 126 laps ran tonight, led series points leader Matt Crafton to the checkered flag. Cole Custer finished third, with Ryan Blaney and Ben Rhodes completing the Top 5.
“It’s pretty cool to pick up another win at Phoenix,” Jones told Fox Sports. “Definitely a great way to top off the year for me in this [No. 51] truck. Just a good way to start off the 2015 season.”
With the victory, Kyle Busch Motorsports breaks the single-season Truck Series record for wins by a team with 13. Busch and Jones have combined for 10 wins this year in the No. 51, while Darrell “Bubba” Wallace Jr. has won three times in KBM’s sister truck, the No. 54.
As for Crafton, he’ll take a 25-point lead over Blaney to the season finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway next weekend. If Crafton can finish 21st or better there, he’ll become the first back-to-back champion in Truck Series history.
Multiple cautions marred the early going of the race once it did get underway. A stack-up in the middle of the field took place just after the green flag and involved multiple drivers, including German Quiroga and John Wes Townley. The cleanup from the incident was extensive and included liberal amounts of speedy-dry put down around the one-mile oval.
Eventually, the green flag came back out at Lap 19 but two laps later, separate spins for Ben Rhodes and Matt Tifft triggered another yellow. Then, shortly after the restart at Lap 27, more trouble occurred when Spencer Gallagher and Timothy Peters made contact in Turn 3 and went into the wall, damaging Jeb Burton’s truck in the process.
That led to another restart at Lap 34, which was promptly followed by Joey Coulter having a tire go down and then wrecking unassisted at Lap 40.
Three laps later, the red flag was thrown so crews could get Coulter’s wounded Chevy Silverado off the track. The red flew for almost four minutes before it was swapped for the yellow.
Thankfully, things finally settled into a rhythm of sorts following the restart at Lap 46. The Trucks went all the way to Lap 99 and through a round of green flag stops before another yellow came out.