Second power outage at Phoenix hands NASCAR Trucks win to Erik Jones

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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.

‘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).