Erik Jones An Opportunity to Head North
Last week at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway, Erik Jones and the No. 4 Toyota Racing team registered their sixth consecutive top-10 finish, and by finishing ahead of both points leader Tyler Reddick and second-place contender Matt Crafton, continued to close the gap in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship standings. Jones trails Reddick by seven points and is one point behind Crafton as the Truck Series heads north of the border this weekend to take on Canadian Tire Motorsport Park (CTMP), a 10-turn road course located in Bowmanville, Ont.
With 14 of 23 races completed this season, the race for the Truck Series championship is shaping up as a battle between two 19-year-olds, Jones and Reddick, and the 39-year-old two-time reigning champion Crafton. Jones fell to fourth in the standings, 33 points behind Crafton, after he was relegated to a 23rd-place finish at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison Ill., in June. The Michigan native responded with a dominant win the following weekend at Iowa Speedway in Newton, and over the last six races he has produced an average finish of 4.3 to close the gap in the standings back to single digits.
Last year's Truck Series event at CTMP was the first road-course event of Jones' career, but by the time the race came around you would have never known. The talented youngster slowly but surely got the hang of making left and right-hand turns, finishing 15th in the opening practice and improving to eighth in final practice. KBM's young driver opened eyes when he qualified third and then was able to maintain an average running position of 3.828 throughout the 64-lap event as he brought home a third-place finish.
With Reddick, a former Dirt Late Model standout, making his first road-course start and Crafton producing an average finish of eighth across two starts north or the border, this weekend's event should provide the No. 4 Toyota Racing team with another opportunity to make gains. Via a route of left and right turns, Jones is ready to seize the opportunity to head north in the championship standings.
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