The Alsco 300, NASCAR Xfinity race at Kentucky Speedway was setting up to play right into Erik Jones’ hands until he accidently hit the wrong switch under caution causing him to lose two positions. In doing so, he saw his hopes dashed of racing and beating Kyle Busch, who benefited the most from his mistake taking his 81st series victory extending his own record.
Jones had hung around the lead pack all night waiting for the right opportunity to make his strategy pay off driving on the high side clearing Busch and holding the lead with just 24 laps remaining in the race just as the yellow waved. While under caution, Jones was trying to improve his handling package accidently shut off his engine unexpectedly slowing below the pace car speed costing him too precious spots as per NASCAR rules.
“I fell back 20 feet from the pace car,” Jones lamented. “It was no different than I was saving fuel, so there was no difference. I guess I gave it away and that’s unfortunate. I wasn’t saving fuel, but doing something else. I was trying to get the best restart that I could. Unfortunately, I hit the wrong button to get going again and ended up starting from third on the restart. It’s just hard to get back up to the front when you get in traffic. I think we had the fastest car here once we got out front. We won it, but it didn’t work out.”
At the end, Daniel Suarez made an effort to run with Busch before another late race caution came out putting the race into overtime. It was Austin Dillon’s chance to pursue Busch on the restart. He made it three wide and covered enough turf to claim second letting Busch slide by on the outside coming off turn four on the white flag lap resigning to second.
“I didn’t think he’d be able to hold it through (Turns) 3 and 4 like that,” said Dillon, who thought he had the preferred position on the inside. “But he did a great job of holding me down. I wish we could have got it done, but it was a really close race.” Busch learned that move from Jones earlier in the race and used it to secure in fifth win of the season in just nine starts leading for 185 laps of the 201 that made up the race distance. It was his second win in the Xfinity series at Kentucky Speedway last visiting victory lane back in 2004.
Suarez raced back to third with Jones in fourth and Darrell Wallace, Jr. in fifth.
The series now moves north to the New Hampshire Motor Speedway for the AutoLotto 300 on Saturday, July 16.