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Erik Jones was done.

D-O-N-E.

In the moments following his violent crash on Monday afternoon during practice for the Battle at Berlin 251 at Berlin Raceway, the current NASCAR Camping World Truck Series contender was ready to pack up his equipment, cut his losses, and head back home to North Carolina in order to prepare for the weekend at Iowa and Chicagoland.

He had just crashed his only Super Late Model and was still reeling from a disastrous month that saw him lose Truck Series races in every conceivable way at Charlotte, Texas and Gateway respectively.

While it took some convincing from his friend Adam Chase, Jones ultimately decided to stay, driving a Port City Chassis backup car to Victory Lane on Tuesday night and defeating a stacked field to win his first career Berlin 251 — a race founded by his boss, Kyle Busch.

Given the challenges the past month has presented, this was the positive run the Michigan native desperately needed just to clear his head before returning to his NASCAR saddle in a couple of days. Not only did he clear his head, he created some momentum as well.

“Adam had gotten us hooked up with those guys, and at that point, everything was going well — we had won the XFINITY race at Texas,” Jones said after the race. “But two weeks ago, I couldn’t wait just to get back in a Late Model and sure enough, I get here and immediately wreck it, and thought everything is going wrong.

“Adam convinced me to stay last night because I wanted to go home and it was definitely worth it.  Pretty awesome to win, get the monkey off our back, in my life in general and get things back on track.”

Jones qualified 14th in the backup car but said immediately after time trials that his car was much faster than it showed in a short run. He methodically worked his way to the front while 2014 NASCAR XFINITY Series dominated the first half of the event.

Elliott fell back in the second half however and couldn’t get around the likes of Ross Kenseth, John Hunter Nemechek and Chris Koslek — the latter of whom got into Elliott, drawing the Hendrick prospect’s ire.

By the end of the night, Elliott knew he just didn’t have the same car under lights as he did during the daytime.

“I got too tight for me and my capabilities there at the end,” Elliott said. “I hate it. I thought we had a good car there, at least to start off, but unfortunately that isn’t the part that mattered.”

Jones made the winning pass with 48 laps remaining, driving hard under Ross Kenseth who used pit strategy and older tires to get to the front but just couldn’t hold off the Port City house car. Kenseth continued to struggled, holding up the cars behind him, allowing Jones to escape with the win when the race stayed green the rest of the way.

While the caution never came, Koslek wishes he had received just one shot at Jones.

“I was hoping for one,” Koslek said. “I knew we could roll the outside and Erik would have chosen the bottom. If we would have had a green-white-checkered, we would have had a chance.”

Nemechek, Elliott and Kenseth completed the top-5, followed by Jay Niewiek, Chris Bell, Brian Campbell, Andrew Nylaan and Grant Quinlan.

Results

  1. Erik Jones
  2. Chris Koslek
  3. John Hunter Nemechek
  4. Chase Elliott
  5. Ross Kenseth
  6. Jay Niewiek
  7. Chris Bell
  8. Brian Campbell
  9. Andrew Nylaan
  10. Grant Quinlan
  11. Bubba Pollard
  12. Lauren Bush
  13. Ali Kern
  14. Brett Robinson
  15. Mark Lambert
  16. Dalton Armstrng
  17. Dan Leeck
  18. Hunter Baize
  19. Wes Griffith Jr
  20. Barry Hartwell
  21. Thomas Woodin
  22. Terry Senneker
  23. Chad Finley
  24. Travis Braden
  25. Dominique Van Wieringen
  26. Donnie Wilson
  27. Jordan Pruitt
  28. Terry VanHaitsma
  29. Rick Turner
  30. Jon Beach
  31. Eddie VanMeter

Matt Weaver is the owner and founder of Short Track Scene. Weaver grew up in the sport, having raced himself before becoming a reporter in college at the University of South Alabama. He is also the associate motorsports editor of Autoweek Magazine and its website, which allows him to cover the highest levels of the sport.

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