WAUSAU, Wis. – Andy Jones battled hard to pick up his first career victory in the SCAG Midwest Truck Tour event in the Larry Detjens Memorial Weekend at State Park Speedway. Jones survived a late race restart and a ferocious battle with Camden Murphy in notching his first ever win.
“I’m very excited and looking forward to hopefully getting some more,” said Jones. “For now we’ll just take the first one and keep moving forward with it.”
Moving forward is exactly what Jones had to do as Justin Oertel and Jacob Van Wazer led the field of trucks to the green flag. Van Wazer grabbed the lead after a brief side by side battle with Oertel, with John Wood following into the third spot. Wood quickly closed in on Oertel and tried to duck underneath him entering turn one. Oertel came down on Wood just a tad, and made contact with Wood just enough to cause Wood to spin bringing out the first yellow of the race. Jerry Wood also spun, but his spin was to avoid slamming into his brother’s truck.
Van Wazer would get the jump on Oertel on the restart, as Oertel suddenly started to fade on the high side. Andy Jones and Camden Murphy followed Van Wazer around Oertel and was soon joined by Natalie Decker in the fourth spot.
Jones caught up to Van Wazer and made two attempts at the lead, but Van Wazer was able to slam the door. Jones would get the job done on lap eight as he finally got around Van Wazer coming off of turn four. That opened the door for Murphy to follow into the second spot.
Jones pulled out to a three truck length lead over Murphy until he began to catch lapped traffic by lap 22. Jones had a little trouble clearing the lappers and Murphy moved in on Jones’ rear bumper in the process. As Murphy put the pressure on Jones for the lead, the caution would fly on lap 32 for debris.
Murphy and Natalie Decker took to the outside when the cone came out setting up two rows of side by side racing when the green flag flew. Jones and Murphy bumped as they raced side by side, and Decker and Van Wazer resumed their battle from Grundy last week as they battled for the third spot.
Jones and Murphy raced door handle to door handle for several laps, with each driver trading the lead at the finish line. Natalie Decker moved around Van Wazer for the third spot and caught up to the rear bumpers of the Jones and Murphy battle for the lead.
With just ten laps to go it was a dead heat at the line between Jones and Murphy. The next two laps saw Jones and Murphy Continue to race side by side. Jones on the inside tried running Murphy up the hill in the corners, but Murphy wouldn’t give an inch and at times got a better bite off the corners. The pair bumped in turn one with seven laps to go causing Murphy to bobble just enough to allow Jones to sneak past. Decker was quick to try to pounce on the opening, but Murphy slammed the door on Decker’s attempt.
Decker wasn’t going to give in that easily, as she chrome horned Murphy in the middle of turns three and four, however that only seemed to push Murphy closer to Jones coming off the fourth turn. Decker wasn’t giving up and continued to pursue Murphy for the second spot. Going into turn one slight contact between Decker and Murphy forced Decker wide and almost around. Decker quickly recovered, but Van Wazer capitalized and moved back into the third spot.
Jones was able to stretch out his lead coming to the white flag while the field fought behind him. Van Wazer moved in on Murphy and looked to make a move to gain the second spot. As they entered turn one contact between the two caused them both to slide up in the corner. Van Wazer’s truck climbed up over Murphy’s right front fender before backing into the turn two wall.
Since the full field took the white flag, the yellow and checker flew simultaneously giving Jones his first career victory in the SCAG Midwest Truck Tour.
“We got up front early and picked off a couple of guys and moved into second,” said Jones. “We got into the lead and after that we were able to trade the lead with Camden (Murphy). I was just hoping that it was going to go green until the end but the cautions kind of threw that off. We got a somewhat good restart and battled side by side and pulled through for the win.”
Once Jones pulled alongside Murphy, he couldn’t shake him for several laps.
“Yeah, it was a little bit tight and he wasn’t giving me very much room,” said Jones. “He really shouldn’t. It’s his job to hold me down, so I had to make the best of it. We put on a little bit of good action there side by side and we were luckily able to get out front and pull away for the win.”
The carnage between Murphy and Van Wazer allowed Jerry Wood to sneak into the second spot, and Natalie Decker into third. Joshua James backed up his strong qualifying run with a fourth place finish, while John Wood recovered from his early spin to come home in fifth.