Erik Jones may have been in Las Vegas, but no gambling was necessary to win the Rhino Linings 350 Saturday night at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. He picked up his second checkered flag of the 2014 Truck Series season, as NASCAR Trucks shared:
The No. 51 truck made its move in the 133rd lap, passing Darrell Wallace Jr. From there, it was only a matter of holding off Wallace for another 13 laps, as outlined in a NASCAR Trucks tweet:
However, as the race entered the final laps, his lead had grown to an insurmountable distance. When the white flag was waved, nothing short of a total mechanical failure was going to wrest the win away from Jones. He finished ahead of Wallace by 1.329 seconds.
The race capped off a great day for Kyle Busch. First he won the Nationwide Series race at Dover earlier in the day, and then two of his drivers finished first and second in Vegas, a successful day highlighted in a Kyle Busch Motorsports tweet:
Jones hasn't featured in the full slate of Truck Series races this year, but he's maximized his impact in the limited amount in which he's participated, per the Kentucky Speedway:
Former NASCAR driver Michael Waltrip congratulated the conquering teenager:
The top 10 shook out as such below, courtesy of NASCAR.com.
|Rhino Linings 350 Leaderboard|
|2||Darrell Wallace Jr.||Toyota||1.329|
|9||Tayler Malsam||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
|10||Joey Coulter||Chevrolet||1 Lap|
Here's a look at how Saturday's race impacted the points standings. You can view the full list on NASCAR.com.
|Truck Series Points Standings|
|4||Darrell Wallace Jr.||611||-33||2|
|6||German Quiroga Jr.||559||-85||0|
|10||Ron Hornaday Jr.||484||-160||0|
The story of the night was how often the lead changed hands. No one driver enjoyed too much of an advantage because somebody else was waiting in the wings to grab the top spot. In the end, the race featured 19 different lead changes, according to NASCAR.com.
Wallace owned the largest lead of the night, 43 laps, which began on the 62nd lap. Not coincidentally, the No. 54 truck led for the most laps as well, with 84.
Wallace will likely feel a little hard done by considering he looked to be the best driver on the night but was undone in the final 13 laps.
Those lost points could also be huge in the final points standings. Wallace wouldn't have overtaken points leader Matt Crafton on Saturday with a win anyway, but he could've at the very least edged a little bit closer.
Before the race, the 20-year-old tried to play down his championship chances.
"I'm excited for Vegas," said Wallace, per NASCAR.com's Zack Albert. "Got a brand-new Toyota Tundra going there, and we should be OK, but I'm not worried about the championship. I'll just let the crew worry about that, and I'll go out and try to win races."
Wallace can try to deflect that pressure all he wants, but he's definitely in a fight for the championship.
Overtaking Crafton won't be easy, though, especially when he's finishing in the top five. The No. 88 truck ended Saturday night in third and strengthened its position atop the points standings.
The Truck Series takes a two-week break before the Fred's 250 on Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Talladega Superspeedway.
All eyes will certainly be on Crafton to see if he slips up and opens the door for a challenger to threaten for the top spot.