WINCHESTER, Ind. – A clutch late-race pit stop on lap 352 gave Erik Jones the lead and propelled the 17-year-old driver to victory in Sunday’s ARCA/CRA Super Series Winchester 400 at Winchester Speedway.
Jones raced at or near the front of the field throughout the 42nd running of the annual 400-lap classic, but found himself running third behind Augie Grill and Johnny VanDoorn with less than 60 laps left. On lap 347 Scott Neal bounced off the wall to bring out what would turn out to be the final caution flag of the race.
The caution period led to the final round of pit stops on lap 352. Jones’ Kyle Busch Motorsports crew worked fast and got him off pit road first ahead of Chase Elliott and VanDoorn. The field returned to racing on lap 357 and Jones found himself in the middle of a three-way battle for the race lead with Elliott and VanDoorn.
On lap 366 Elliott moved around VanDoorn to take over second while Jones continued to lead the field. Elliott and Jones would wage a torrid battle for the race lead in the final 30 laps, but Elliott was never able to get enough of a run to make the pass for the lead as Jones was able to hang on and capture his first Winchester 400.
The victory made Jones only the sixth driver in history to win both the Winchester 400 and the Snowball Derby.
Elliott, who earlier in the day was involved in a crash with Ross Kenseth, settled for second. ARCA Racing Series regular Mason Mingus finished third, followed by Grill and Daniel Hemric.