18-year-old Erik Jones made the most of his debut in the Nationwide Series Saturday night, finishing seventh in the EnjoyIllinois.com 300 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Illinois. Joe Gibbs Racing driver Elliott Sadler also earned a top 10 finish Saturday night, while Sam Hornish Jr. had an uncharacteristically tough night in the No. 54 Monster Energy Toyota Camry, finishing 36th after engine problems very early in the race.
Jones, who qualified fourth in the No. 20 NarcolepsyLink.com Toyota for JGR, has two wins over the last two seasons in the Camping World Truck Series, racing part-time for Kyle Busch Motorsports. Jones led once for two laps in his first start in the Nationwide Series.
Sadler, who qualified seventh in the No. 11 OneMain Financial Toyota, led one lap on Saturday night, and now sits eight points back of race winner and new points leader Chase Elliott in third place; Regan Smith is second in points, seven points behind Elliott.
Hornish Jr., who qualified sixth but started at the back of the field due to unapproved adjustments, made his way up to mid-pack in the race’s first few laps only to have an engine failure in his Camry just eight laps into the race. “It felt like we were going to have a really good day and felt like this was going to be a race where we had opportunity to lead laps and potentially win,” said Hornish Jr.
The Nationwide Series is back on track next Saturday, July 26th at Indianapolis Motor Speedway. The Sprint Cup Series returns from its week off next Sunday, July 27th, also at “the Brickyard.” Keep up with the action at joegibbsracing.com.
Quotes in this piece provided by NASCAR.
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