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Erik Jones Wins Second Straight Winchester 400

Erik Jones added to his brief but illustrious short track legacy over the weekend, posting a second-consecutive victory in the prestigious Winchester 400 Super Late Model race on Sunday afternoon at Winchester Speedway in Winchester, Indiana.

Jones, now a part-time NASCAR Camping World Truck Series driver, out-dueled defending ARCA\CRA Super Series champion Travis Braden in a ferocious battle that included two lead changes over the final 10 laps of the race.

Jones led the most laps and was leading with six to go when Braden caught Jones and shoved his No. 51 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Camry up the racing surface in Turn 1 and out of the lead. But Jones immediately responded with a crossover and nudge of his own, reclaiming the stop spot by the end of the backstretch on the very same lap.

Jones then took a more defensive approach for the remaining five laps, snatching the middle and bottom lanes away from Braden and his University of West Virginia No. 01 Chevrolet, leaving him very few options to complete the pass.

It was the tactic that ultimately placed Jones in Victory Lane with the legendary rifle trophy for two years in a row.

“My spotter Frank told me that we were just trying to kill is momentum, honestly, those last 10 laps,” Jones told Short Track Scene in Victory Lane. “Hugging the bottom, our car wasn’t the best the down there but it slowed him down so much and made him have to go the long way around.”

Jones was surprised that Braden shoved him up the track in the first place but said he respected how the two prospects raced in the closing stages.

“He was going to have to wreck us to get around us,” Jones said. “I didn’t think Travis would do that. We were racing hard but you know he is a great race car driver and we raced really hard. It’s just fun to race with him.”

Braden came up short in his efforts to win the race but his second-place effort was enough to clinch the CRA Series championship over Ross Kenseth. As much as he wanted to win the Winchester 400, he believes the only way to have done that was to intentionally wreck Jones, something that was never really an option.

“Turn 1 was actually our saving grace and I got into him there once because I was carrying so much speed and knocked him up the track,” Braden explained. “Then he got back around us and he defended that line, rolled in there a lot slower than usual but yeah, Erik is good. He knows what he is doing and he won the race.”

With that victory, Jones becomes the most prolific short track driver currently competing in the discipline. He has won two straight Winchester 400s, two Truck Series races this season and two straight Snowball Derbies dating back to his 2012 breakthrough over Kyle Busch.

A third straight Tom Dawson Memorial Trophy would put Jones in rarified air as no other driver has won three-straight at Pensacola Five Flags Speedway in December. It’s a task that Jones admits has crossed his mind several times since summer turned to fall.

“I’ve thought about it, especially after winning this one today, a lot,” Jones said. “We really want to get that third Derby win pretty bad. We’re building a new car and are planning to go all out to get that third one. To get three in a row, and to be the first one, agaist those guys would mean a lot.

“Chase Elliott will be really good as well a bunch of other guys but I think we have a real good race car planned for them.”

Several other drivers contended for the win and led laps but were not around for the finish, a list that included Kenseth, Daniel Hemric and Rick Turner. Kenseth developed a fuel pick-up problem, while Hemric dropped an engine. Turner qualified second but hit the wall.

The complete results for the 2014 Winchester 400 can be found below.

  1. Erik Jones
  2. Travis Braden
  3. Donnie Wilson
  4. Cody Coughlin
  5. Brian Hoar
  6. Tommy St. John
  7. JJ Haley
  8. Bubba Pollard
  9. Stephen Nasse
  10. Brandon Oakley
  11. Terry Fisher, Jr
  12. Ross Kenseth
  13. Daniel Hemric
  14. Anderson Bowen
  15. Scott Neal
  16. Dalton Sargeant
  17. Austin Theriault
  18. Augie Grill
  19. Paul Shafer, Jr
  20. Allen Karnes
  21. Will Gallaher
  22. Johnny VanDoorn
  23. Mason Mingus
  24. Rick Turner
  25. Eddie VanMeter
  26. Jeff Fultz
  27. Wes Griffith, Jr
  28. Brandon Watson
  29. Jay Niewiek
  30. Jack Smith
  31. Jon Beach
  32. Tommy Cook
  33. Mike Stacy

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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