Erik Jones Ready to Leave Las Vegas with a Winning Pair

Defending race winnerErik Jones returns to Las Vegas (Nev.) Motor Speedway for Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Rhino Linings 350. Jones and the No. 4 Toyota Racing team are in search of their first win on a mile-and-half track this season as the team looks to remain atop the Truck Series championship standings as the Truck Series heads down the homestretch of the 2015 season.
In last year's event at Las Vegas, Jones was making just his second career NASCAR start on a mile-and-half track, but was able to bring home Kyle Busch Motorsports' first-ever victory at Busch's hometown track. After starting from the 13th position, the talented youngster quickly maneuvered his way through the field and took the lead for the first time on lap 27. He ran third while battling a loose-handling Tundra during a long green-flag run in the middle stages of the race, but an adjustment on the final pit stop brought his truck to life late in the race. The Michigan native worked his way around teammate Darrell Wallace Jr., who led a race-high 84 laps, with 13 laps to go and went on to capture his third career victory in just his 14th start.
Jones has proven to be a quick learner on the mile-and-a-half tracks, both in the Truck Series and in the NASCAR XFINITY Series. Both of the 19-year-old's XFINITY Series wins this season have been collected at 1.5-mile tracks. He picked up his first career series win at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth in April, leading a race-high 79 laps and outdueling NASCAR Sprint Cup Series stars Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr on a late-race restart to seal the victory. Then in June, he hopped in the Monster Energy Camry at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill., having not been able to participate in practice due to racing in the Truck Series event at Iowa Speedway in Newton, and led a race-high 94 laps en route to the victory.
The No. 4 Toyota Racing team has showed a lot of speed on the 1.5-mile tracks this season, but has yet to collect a victory. Jones has led a remarkable 44.4 percent (399) of the 898 total laps during the six races on the mile-and-half tracks in the Truck Series this season, but has just a pair of runner-up finishes to show for it. He set a Truck Series record for most laps led in a mile-and-a-half race earlier this season, when he led 151 of 167 laps at Kansas Speedway in Kansas City, but ended the day with an 11th-place finish when the race was decided by fuel mileage. The NASCAR Next alum has also captured two of his four poles this season on the 1.5-mile tracks and has an average starting position of 2.83.
The Truck Series championship points leader enters this weekend's race with a streak of nine consecutive top-10 finishes. After the eighth race of the season at Gateway Motorsports Park in Madison, Ill., Jones found himself fourth in points, 33 behind Matt Crafton. His recent hot roll, which has included wins at Iowa Speedway and Canadian Tire Motorsport Park in Bowmanville, Ont., has propelled him to head of the table, where he sits seven points ahead of the two-time reigning champion.
Jones is one-for-one this season when he enters a race as the defending winner. He cruised to a 5.860-second victory in the American Ethanol 200 at Iowa Speedway earlier this season. The talented youngster now heads to a city known for title defenses in boxing and he's ready to leave Las Vegas with a winning pair of Rhino Linings 350 trophies.

Speedway Digest Staff

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