NASCAR Barometer: Jones Avoids Carnage, Captures Maiden Win
NASCAR Barometer: Jones Avoids Carnage, Captures Maiden Win

This article is part of our NASCAR Barometer series.

Erik Jones survived Saturday night's wild Coke Zero Sugar 400 to outduel teammate Martin Truex Jr. and collect his first series victory. Early crashes took out most of the top contenders, and most who survived were involved in later wrecks. Jones and Truex both smartly played their hands by running cautiously throughout the distance to be at the front for the final Overtime restarts. The pair battled door-to-door the final two laps until Jones received a helpful push on the back straight that put him in sole possession of the lead.

Saturday's high attrition opened the door for a first-time winner to burst through the door, but with Truex, Harvick and Bowyer still in contention in the final miles, it appeared as though no one would take advantage of the opportunity. One final crash on the first attempt at an Overtime finish took the remaining Stewart-Haas Racing drivers out of the picture, setting up the intramural battle for the Furniture Row Racing boys. Plenty of smaller teams snagged top finishes, but at least one walked away with a target on his back. Ricky Stenhouse Jr. made few friends with his aggressive driving style. He may have won the first two stages Saturday, but he also caused two of the race's biggest crashes on his way to doing so. The playoff picture isn't complete yet, but some drivers are watching their remaining chances to gain entry slip away with each passing week.

UPGRADE

Erik Jones – Jones survived the carnage Saturday

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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.J. Radune
Radune covers NASCAR, Formula 1 and soccer for RotoWire. He was named the 2015 Racing Writer of the Year by the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
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