Saturday, July 30, 2016

Erik Jones Wins U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway

Erik Jones proved that he was the driver to beat as he won the NASCAR Xfinity Series U.S. Cellular 250 at Iowa Speedway.  Jones took the lead on the start as he and polesitter Daniel Suarez set a quick pace.  A competition yellow was waved on lap 40 so that track workers could inspect a patch made to the race track in turns three and four.  However Jones continued to show the way after yellow flag pit stops cycled through.

All of the Joe Gibbs teams used pit crews with little or no experience working together, since this was a standalone NASCAR event.  Several of the other teams brought their Sprint Cup crews to service the cars and it allowed for some changes up front.

Elliot Sadler would win the race the race off of pit road and briefly took over out front leading laps 117-125 before Jones again took over the lead.  Ty Dillon also used quick pit work to take the lead during the final round of pit stops on lap 152.  Jones would use the long green flag stretch to track down Dillon in the closing laps, before taking over the lead with 15 laps remaining.

Jones would end the day leading on 4 different occasions for 154 laps.
Hear from race winner Erik Jones

Dillon appeared to be one of the few that could race with Jones, his lone stint out front yielded 83 laps in the lead, but that would only be good enough for second place.
Hear from 2nd finishing Ty Dillon

Sadler only led once for only 9 laps, but he was satisfied with the third place finish.
Hear from 3rd place Elliott Sadler

Dakoda Armstrong filling in for Matt Tifft, pulled off a pass on the final lap, to move past Sam Hornish Jr. to finish an impressive 5th.
Hear from 5th finishing Dakoda Armstrong

The biggest disappointment of the race was pole sitter Suarez who was running near the front, but a slow final pit stop shuffled him back for the final restart.  When the green waved Josh Berry who was restarting just ahead of Suarez missed a shift causing Suarez to run into the back of Berry's car.  The front end damage to Suarez's ended up causing engine failure and he retired from the race on lap 174. 

Suarez's misfortune and Sadler's third place run created a change atop the NASCAR Xfinity Point Standings as Sadler now leads Suarez by 14 points.

NASCAR Xfinity Series U.S. Cellular 250 Results from Iowa Speedway

1. Erik Jones                      250 laps   Running
2. Ty Dillon                       250 laps   Running
3. Elliot Sadler                  250 laps   Running
4. Brennan Poole               250 laps   Running
5. Dakoda Armstrong        250 laps  Running
6. Sam Hornish Jr.             250 laps  Running
7. Justin Allgaier                250 laps  Running
8. Brad Keselowski            250 laps  Running
9. Josh Berry                      250 laps  Running
10. Ryan Reed                    250 laps  Running
11. Brendan Gaughan         250 laps  Running
12. Drew Herring               249 laps  Running
13. Blake Koch                  249 laps  Running
14. JJ Yeley                        249 laps  Running
15. Ryan Sieg                     249 laps  Running
16. Brandon Jones              248 laps  Running
17. Jeremy Clements          248 laps  Running
18. Ross Chastain               248 laps  Running
19. Justin Marks                 247 laps  Running
20. Ray Black Jr.                247 laps  Running
21. David Starr                   247 laps  Running
22. Garrett Smithley           245 laps  Running
23. BJ McLeod                   245 laps  Running
24. Joey Gase                     244 laps  Running
25. Mario Gosslein             242 laps Running
26. Michael Lira                 239 laps  Running
27. Darrell Wallace Jr.        239 laps  Running
28. Mike Harmon               238 laps  Running
29. Sencer Boyd                 234 laps   Running
30. Daniel Suarez               174 laps  Engine
31. Jeff Green                     152 laps  Brakes
32. Brandon McReynolds   147 laps  Accident
33. Derrike Cope                139 laps  Brakes
34. Ryan Preece                  127 laps  Accident
35. Matt Waltz                      95 laps  Rear Gear
36. Morgan Sheperd             62 laps  Handling
37. Timmy Hill                     61 laps  Engine
38. TJ Bell                            55 laps  Electrical
39. Mike Bliss                        4 laps  Vibration
40. John Jackson                    2 laps  Electrical

Time of Race:  2 hours 5 minutes, 43 sec.          Average Speed: 104.401 mph
Margin of Victory: 3.533 seconds                      Caution Flags:  6 for 29 laps
Lead Changes:  7 among 4 drivers:  E. Jones 1-42, Yeley 43-46, E. Jones 47-116, Sadler 117-125, E. Jones 126-151, Dillon 152-234, E. Jones 235-250

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