Triple Crowns are not just for horse racing. Auto Racing has its version of it as well, and it comes in the land of the thoroughbred called a Super Late Model, or, more precisely, the CRA Super Series. To accomplish such a feat is rare; American Pharoah pulled it off this year and now Erik Jones is attempting to do the same.
When the winner on the NASCAR Camping World Truck and Xfinity Series goes for the victory in the Winchester 400 on October 11th in the middle of Indiana, Jones will be attempting to capture $100,000 for winning all three Triple Crown races. He won stage one at the Battle at Berlin in Marne, MI in June. Saturday night, he set up the final leg of his big money battle by capturing the Redbud 300 at Indiana’s Anderson Speedway.
Jones was driving his family-owned number-4 car that he won with at the Snowball Derby a couple years ago. With some backing his Kyle Busch Motorsports team, he led the majority of the second half of the 300-lap race to capture the checkered flag on he quarter-mile oval located less than an hour northeast of Indianapolis.
“This is pretty special for a lot of reasons; it’s only the second time I’ve run this race and I’ve never really ran well here, so getting a win here was pretty cool,” Erik Jones told Speed51.com powered by JEGS. “We put this thing together on Sunday, so to come here and be as good as we were and to give ourselves a shot at the win, then get the win, it’s pretty awesome. I definitely wanted to get this one knocked out, not only for the Triple Crown, but for the accolade of the Redbud itself.”
And Jones had to hold off a star-studded field, which inlcuded fellow NCWTS regular Daniel Hemric and ARCA winner Ross Kenseth, to pick up Saturday night’s big check.
Kenseth turned the fastest lap during qualifying in his first attempt with the Carswell Motorsports number-98 team. He started eighth after pulling the eight pill for the inversion. The son of former NASCAR Cup champ Matt Kenseth was running for a top spot when he had a tire going down early in the race. He fell back in the field and his car was never quite the same after.
The Y-Town Hustler Rick Turner led the majority of the first half of the race, but strategy came into play during the event’s halfway break. Your starting position for the final 150 would be determined by how many tires you took at the break. The more tires you took, the worse your starting spot would be. Longtime Midwest Late Model campaigner Jack Smith took advantage of that rule by taking no tires. He started on the front row for the final half of the race.
Erik Jones, who took on three tires, got through traffic without hesitation. The Byron, Michigan driver took the lead from Smith and held on for the remainder of the 300 laps.
“We will probably bring ole faithful (to Winchester); it seems that car has a pretty good track record. We’re 4 for 4 with it since we’ve pulled it out of the storage unit in 2012 so we will keep it rolling.,” said Jones. “It’s getting a little refresh and tune up after this race and hopefully we’ll bring it back better for Winchester.”
In October, at Winchester, Jones will be going for a $100,000 bonus put up by JEGS if he can make the sweep and take home victories in all three of the CRA Triple Crown races. Ironically, Jones is the two-time and defending champion of the Winchester 400 at the World’s Fastest Half Mile.
Story by: Mikayla Kugler – Correspondent, Speed51.com – Twitter: @mikaylakugler
Photo Credit: Speed51.com