Jones Leads 1 Lap But Wins Saturday Night’s Wild Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla – For the second race in as many Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points paying races at the Daytona International Speedway in 2018, the race winner led just one lap. In February, Austin Dillon led really just a 1/2 of a lap en route to a Daytona 500 victory. On Saturday night, Erik Jones got by his former Furniture Row Racing teammate of Martin Truex Jr. in Turn 2 on the final lap around the 2.5-mile track and won the Coke Zero Sugar 400 as a result. It was Jones’ first career Cup Series victory as the last lap was his only lap led of the entire night.

Jones, also gives Toyota their second points paying victory at Daytona, the other being when Denny Hamlin won the 2016 Daytona 500. Truex, finished second in both race for a Toyota 1-2 finishes in each one.

Erik Jones during the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway on July 7, 2018 in Daytona Beach, Florida.

Jones’ No. 20 Toyota leading just the final lap was just the second time that a feat like that has ever occurred in the annual July summer classic. Jimmy Spencer accomplished that feat back in 1994 too.

But, this was a much needed victory for Jones. He now solidifies his playoff standing and makes Joe Gibbs Racing the fifth straight different organization to win this race. Richard Petty Motorsports got it all started with Aric Almirola’s victory in 2014. Dale Earnhardt Jr. (Hendrick Motorsports) was next in 2015. Then came Team Penske (Brad Keselowski), Roush/Fenway Racing (Ricky Stenhouse Jr.) and now JGR (Jones).

The race went into overtime for the fourth consecutive year when a four car crash on the tri-oval sparked the ninth caution flag of the night to fly on Lap 155. Then, on the first overtime restart, Jones pushed his former teammate Truex to the lead. It appeared that they’d finish 1-2 in that order instead. But, another big crash in the tri-oval occurred before Truex took the white flag.

We’d go to a second overtime.

On that final restart, Jones got a great push and moved around Truex for the lead and held him off by just 0.125-seconds.

It was Jones’ third straight top 10 finish. Truex, earned his third straight top five finish and seventh top four effort over the last eight races.

Due to some early race carnage that took out all the heavy hitters, some smaller teams took the next five finishing spots.

Both JTG Daugherty Racing cars would nab top five finishes with AJ Allmendinger bringing his No. 47 Chevrolet home third while his teammate Chris Buescher came home fifth in his No. 47 Chevrolet. The duo had dual top 10 finishes in February’s Daytona 500 as well as this very race last year.

For the second straight year the Leavine Family Racing No. 95 Chevrolet finished fourth in the ‘400. Michael McDowell drove it to a fourth place run last year with Kasey Kahne doing so on Saturday night.

Ty Dillon (Germain Racing) and Matt DiBenedetto (GoFas Racing) finished sixth and seventh respectively.

Ricky Stenhouse Jr. looked to have the car to beat tonight as he won both stages and led a race high 51 of 168 laps, but his No. 17 Ford was a pin ball tonight. He got into Brad Keselowski causing a 25 car pile up on Lap 53. Then, on Lap 64, he caused another six car crash in Turn 4 when he got into Kyle Busch in trying to side draft him.

The series heads towards another Saturday night race next week for the Quaker State 400 (7:30 p.m. ET/NBCSN/PRN/SiriusXM NASCAR Radio) at the Kentucky Speedway.

Coke Zero Sugar 400 Results

  1. 20 Jones
  2. 78 Truex Jr.
  3. 47 Allmendinger
  4. 95 Kahne
  5. 37 Buescher
  6. 13 T Dillon
  7. 32 DiBendetto
  8. 31 Newman
  9.  3 A Dillon
  10. 88 Bowman
  11.  7 Earnhardt
  12. 62 Gaughan
  13. 96 Kennington
  14. 43 Wallace Jr. R -1
  15. 38 Ragan -1
  16. 51 Black Jr. -1
  17. 17 Stenhouse Jr. -1
  18. 23 Yeley -2
  19.  4 Harvick OUT
  20.  6 Bayne OUT
  21. 15 Chastain OUT
  22. 14 Bowyer OUT
  23. 48 Johnson OUT
  24. 99 Cassill -6
  25. 00 Gase OUT
  26. 34 McDowell OUT
  27. 10 Almirola OUT
  28. 21 Menard -16
  29. 42 Larson OUT
  30.  1 McMurray OUT
  31. 72 LaJoie OUT
  32. 24 Byron R OUT
  33. 18 KyBusch OUT
  34.   9 Elliott OUT
  35. 19 Suarez OUT
  36.  2 Keselowski OUT
  37. 41 KuBusch OUT
  38. 11 Hamlin OUT
  39. 22 Logano OUT
  40. 12 Blaney OUT

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