In a wild war of attrition that went to two overtimes, Erik Jones outdueled Martin Truex Jr. on Saturday night at Daytona International Speedway to seize the first victory of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career.
In a Coke Zero Sugar 400 that went eight laps beyond its scheduled 160, Jones passed the reigning series champion on the backstretch of the final lap and held on to win by .125 second. Jones battled back from damage sustained in a multicar wreck on Lap 65, an accident that cost him a lap.
The final circuit was the only one Jones led.
“How about that race, boys and girls?” Jones shouted to the fans in the grandstands after his celebratory burnout in front of the flag stand. “My first Cup win, My first win at Daytona, my first superspeedway win — what an awesome day, man!
“There’s so much smoke in the car from that burnout, I can hardly breathe, but what an awesome finish.”
A.J. Allmendinger ran third after a nine-car wreck ended the first overtime attempt with Truex approaching the finish line just short of the end of the white-flag lap. That wreck provided the coup de grace for Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Jimmie Johnson and Trevor Bayne.
Only 20 of the 40 cars that started the race were running at the finish, and only 13 finished on the lead lap. Kasey Kahne came home fourth after leading 17 laps, and Chris Buescher ran fifth, matching his finish in the season-opening Daytona 500.
Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Race - Coke Zero Sugar 400
Daytona International Speedway
Daytona Beach, Fla.
Saturday, July 7
1. (29) Erik Jones, Toyota, 168.
2. (13) Martin Truex Jr., Toyota, 168.
3. (24) A.J. Allmendinger, Chevrolet, 168.
4. (28) Kasey Kahne, Chevrolet, 168.
5. (25) Chris Buescher, Chevrolet, 168.
6. (19) Ty Dillon, Chevrolet, 168.
7. (31) Matt DiBenedetto, Ford, 168.
8. (7) Ryan Newman, Chevrolet, 168.
9. (10) Austin Dillon, Chevrolet, 168.
10. (2) Alex Bowman, Chevrolet, 168.
11. (34) Jeffrey Earnhardt, Chevrolet, 168.
12. (16) Brendan Gaughan, Chevrolet, 168.
13. (35) D.J. Kennington, Toyota, 168.
14. (22) Bubba Wallace, Chevrolet, 167.
15. (21) David Ragan, Ford, 167.
16. (39) Ray Black II, Chevrolet, 167.
17. (6) Ricky Stenhouse Jr., Ford, 167.
18. (40) J.J. Yeley, Toyota, 166.
19. (5) Kevin Harvick, Ford, Accident, 162.
20. (20) Trevor Bayne, Ford, Accident, 162.
Average Speed of Race Winner: 130.435 mph.
Time of Race: Three hours, 13 minutes, 12 seconds. Margin of victory: .125 second.
Caution Flags: 10 for 46 laps.
Lead Changes: 25 among 16 drivers.