Erik Jones wins at Iowa
Erik Jones celebrates winning the US Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway on July 30, 2016 (photo courtesy of Getty Images for NASCAR).
By AMANDA VINCENT
The Joe Gibbs racing domination of 2016 NASCAR Xfinity Series competition continued Saturday night at Iowa Speedway in Newton with Erik Jones’ win of the US Cellular 250. It was Jones’ third win of the season and came after the series regular led 154 laps of the 250-lap race.
“Just a really great race car — Dewalt Flexvolt Camry — so cool to get these guys to victory lane and just a great day for us,” Jones said. “It was a great race car.”
Although Jones led more than half the race, his latest win came down to a pass of Ty Dillon in the final 15 laps after Dillon ran up front for 83 laps. After losing the lead to Jones in the closing laps, Dillon was forced to settle for second for the second time at Iowa this year.
“Man, this one stings,” Dillon said. “We gave it everything we could there at the end, but just didn’t have enough to hold on. I’m grateful for this opportunity to race. I’m grateful for all the hard work that was put into this car, but, man, I really wanted to win this thing.”
The yellow flag waved six times, with all those cautions coming in the first 150 laps. Dillon got off pit road first during the final yellow flag that waved on lap 149 and ran up front until Jones took his final lead of the race.
“Our pit stops were awesome; we gained the lead on our last pit stop, and our restarts were great,” Dillon said. “We’re close to winning one. I think it will happen soon.”
Elliott Sadler finished third.
Sadler and J.J. Yeley were the only other two lap leaders throughout the race, each, like Dillon, taking the lead from Jones by beating him off pit road. Yeley led four laps, while Sadler was up front for nine circuits.
Brennan Poole was fourth after starting the race from the 25th position. Dakoda Armstrong, on loan to Joe Gibbs Racing from JGL Racing, finished fifth in the No. 18 JGR Toyota in a substitute role for Matt Tifft, who continues to recover from recent brain surgery.
One incident that didn’t result a yellow flag involved Jones’ Joe Gibbs Racing teammate, Daniel Suarez. Suarez ran second to Jones through many of the first 150 laps before sustaining hood damage on a restart that followed the final caution. At least partly due to the damage, Suarez quickly dropped outside the top-10 and eventually ended up in the garage, prematurely retired from the race.
“I’m not sure (what happened). I don’t know. I don’t really know,” Suarez said. “I just know I hit his car (No. 88 of Josh Berry). They were crashing in fnront of me, and that’s when there’s nothing you can do. I think it’s our fault to be back there with those guys.”
Sam Hornish Jr., who won in Iowa Speedway in June in JGR’s No. 18, finished sixth, this time driving a Richard Childress Racing entry. Justin Allgaier was seventh, Brad Keselowski was eighth, Josh Berry ninth and Ryan Reed was 10th.