DAYTONA BEACH, Fla.—Erik Jones claimed victory on NASCAR’s largest stage Saturday night in the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway.
Jones led just one lap in the event, but it was the only lap that mattered.
The driver of the No. 20 machine for Joe Gibbs Racing took the lead from former teammate Martin Truex Jr. on the last lap to secure the win.
“When we got clear of the 78, I knew we were in a pretty good spot,” Jones said. “…Once we got off Turn 4, I felt like it was highly unlikely, unless we had a pretty severe failure, that we were going to get passed. So that was pretty exciting at that moment.”
Jones became the 190th driver to become a winner in the Cup Series. The last first-time winner was Ryan Blaney in June 2017 at Pocono Raceway.
Truex went on to finish second, followed by A.J. Allmendinger in third and Kasey Kahne in fourth. Chris Buescher rounded out the top five.
The race was slowed eight times for on track incidents and included one red flag on lap 163. There were two NASCAR Overtime attempts.
Ricky Stenhouse Jr., who led the most laps (61), was at the center of attention during the event after being the cause of three yellow flags.
Stenhouse, also the defending race winner, triggered the first two multi-car accidents on laps 55 and 66. He later made contact with Aric Almirola and lost a tire, ultimately finishing 17th.
After the conclusion of the event, NASCAR’s Content Manager Zack Albert captured Stenhouse being escorted by police to his motor coach.
— Zack Albert (@zack_albert) July 8, 2018
Kyle Busch now leads Kevin Harvick by 57 points entering next weekend’s Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway.
Matt Courson is the Managing Editor for The Racing Experts. Courson has covered NASCAR events at 19 of the 23 active racetracks. When not at the track, the 20-year-old Journalism major enjoys spending time with family and playing Ingress.