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More NASCAR at Kansas: Jones wins Xfinity; Hill and Crafton each win one of the Trucks pair

More NASCAR at Kansas: Jones wins Xfinity; Hill and Crafton each win one of the Trucks pair

NASCAR Xfinity Series Kansas Lottery 250 at Kansas Speedway
Brandon Jones lead final overtime lap to steal the win

Kansas City, KS, July 25/20 (GRW): By rights this race should have gone to Harrison Burton or Austin Cindric but Brandon Jones, who had only held the lead for the first nine laps of the race, and who took the final restart in seventh place in the fourth row, popped out into the lead on the final lap to win the race.

For most of the race, it looked like Cindric was on track to win his fourth Xfinity race in a row. Up until lap 158 of the 167-lap race, when Burton got past Cindric, the Penske driver had had control of the race, having led 130 laps up to that point. But, once Burton raced his way past Cindric into the lead with only a few laps remaining in the race, it looked like Burton was on his way to the win.

When the race’s fourth yellow flew on lap 165 – just two laps to go – Harrison Burton was still in the lead. But now, he had a slowish pit stop and Cindric beat him out of the pits. Ryan Sieg, who had been the last to pit in the preceding round of green-flag pit stops was the only one still on the lead lap who did not pit for fresh tires as the race was going into overtime, so he lined up on the front row, pushing Burton back to the second row.

Now Burton was faced with the obstacle of getting past two cars to regain the lead but, when the green flew, there was a massive jam among many front runners and Burton found himself – rather than shooting forward – being overrun, while Cindric took over the lead from Sieg who had the older tires. Before Cindric could take the white flag, another yellow flew, regrouping the field.

Once again, the front row for the restart was Cindric (at the top) and Sieg (below), Burton was in fifth (in the third row) and Jones was in seventh (in the fourth row). This time there were no more yellows and Jones caught and passed Cindric on the final lap to take the win.

Cindric crossed the line a half-second behind while Burton managed to recover enough to finish in third place. Sieg had to settle for fourth while Ross Chastain was fifth.

Jones said,“We’re never out of this thing — that’s what I love about these guys (the No. 19 team). We keep our head in the game. We don’t get excited during these races. We continue to make changes.”

Cindric said, “There’s about 20 things I feel like I should have done differently. It was difficult, because up higher was preferred all day, and you could usually generate momentum. I didn’t know that we didn’t quite get the right adjustment there at the end, so I was probably tighter than I needed to be, but, overall, watching the replay, (Jones) got a hell of a run on the bottom, and I knew he had some momentum... Overall, it just wasn’t in the cards for four in a row.”

• Click HERE for the results of the Xfinity race at Kansas

• The next Xfinity race will held on Saturday, August 8 at Road America.

PHOTO NGROTS 1 KS FinishLine 072420Austin Hill crosses the finish line to win the Kansas 200 (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

NASCAR Truck Series Blue-Emu 200 (Race #1) at Kansas Speedway
Austin Hill takes his first win this year

Kansas City, KS, July 24/20 (GRW): Austin Hill won four Truck Series races last year but, despite winning the finale at Homestead, he failed to win the championship, finishing fifth in the final standings. So far this year, his best result had been a second-place finish at Atlanta. However, here at Kansas, he won the race by a three-second margin over Brett Moffitt. Grant Enfinger finished in third place ahead of Matt Crafton, Derek Kraus and Zane Smith.

Moffitt had won the series title in 2018, driving the Hattori team entry which Hill took over last year – so that is, no doubt, the source of some hard feelings on Moffitt’s part.

With this win here Hill increased his points lead to a 40-point margin over Ben Rhodes. "Oh, man, it’s awesome," said Hill. "We’ve been working so hard this season. We’ve been really consistent. Last week was a bummer, having engine troubles. I told the guys before coming here, ‘You know we finished fourth here last year – let’s finish three spots better.’ And I’ll be danged if we didn’t."

Hill led the most laps in the race – 65 of the race’s 134 laps, including the final 39. Moffitt had won the first Stage while Hill was the winner of the second Stage. Zane Smith took the lead for 17 laps during the final Stage but he lost ground when he pitted during the race’s fourth caution, falling back to fifth. This set up the late-race battle between Hill and Moffitt which ended in Hill’s favour.

• Click HERE for the results of Truck Series Race #1 at Kansas

PHOTO NGROTS 2 NGROTS KS VL 072520 Matt Crafton celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the e.p.t 200 (Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
NASCAR Truck Series e.p.t 200 (Race #2) at Kansas Speedway
Finally, defending series champion Crafton wins a race.

Kansas City, KS, July 25/20 (GRW): Despite having won the Truck Series championship last year, Matt Crafton had not won a truck race since 2017 – so long ago that it had to be getting embarrassing. Here at Kansas, he turned that around, winning the second of the pair of truck races on this weekend.

Up until the race’s final caution Crafton had led only one lap, on the restart after the race’s second Stage on lap 67 of the 134-lap race. But after the sixth caution, which ended on lap 87, he was challenging Brandon Jones for the lead – and they were still duking it out with Hill and Sheldon Creed through the seventh and eighth restarts as well. On the eighth restart, on lap 107, Creed and Hill started on the front row but, when the green flew, Creed crashed out immediately bringing out yet another yellow.

This cycled Crafton up onto the front row alongside Hill for the restart with Christian Eckes and Jones in the second row. On this the final restart, Crafton got the edge over Hill as did Eckes. Crafton held on over the final 22 laps to take the checker by a 0.3-second margin over Eckes. Meanwhile, Hill was sliding back and he finished in sixth place. Grant Enfinger was third, Tanner Gray fourth and Ben Rhodes was fifth.

Crafton said, “It was good on that last run, as well. The 18 (Eckes) had a little bit of speed — he was making me nervous right there. I kept trying to take his line away and make him tight and loose. … At the end of the day, I can’t thank these guys enough for working so hard each and every week on this thing.”

“What a comeback for our team,” said Eckes. “We sucked yesterday. You can’t sugar-coat it — we were terrible. (Crew chief) Rudy (Fugle) and the guys worked really, really hard last night and this morning to get it better. We still started the race a little bit off, but the track kind of came to us. It was perfect at the end.”

As for the two Canadian drivers, Stewart Friesen was involved in the big wreck on lap 83 and he was knocked out of the race, while Raphael Lessard had a fairly good day, finishing in eleventh place. In the truck race the previous day, Lessard had finished in 16th place (on the lead lap) while Friesen was 27th, two laps down.

• Click HERE for the results Truck Series Race #2 at Kansas

• The next NGROTS Truck Series race will be held on Friday, August 7th at Michigan Intl. Speedway.Sunday


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