Jones wins Xfinity race; Sieg, Koch earn final Chase spots
JOLIET, Ill. (AP) Erik Jones passed Elliott Sadler with nine laps to go and held off Kyle Larson to win the NASCAR Xfinity Series race Saturday at Chicagoland Speedway, allowing Ryan Sieg and Blake Koch to claim the final two spots in the Chase for the championship.
The 20-year-old Jones' series-high fourth win of the season left him as the top seed for the seven-race Chase. Jones won the Truck Series title a year ago and will move to the Sprint Cup next year.
Sprint Cup champion Kyle Busch dominated most of the race, leading 154 of the first 181 laps until he cut a tire and spun out. Clint Bowyer had the lead on the re-start with 14 laps left before Sadler passed him. But Bowyer couldn't hold off the charging Jones in the 200-lap race.
Sadler was third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Illinois native Justin Allgaier. Busch finished 13th.
Jones has been the only Xfinity driver to have consistent success on the lower-tier circuit. Sadler and Suarez are the only other full-time drivers to win a race this season.
Sieg finished 12th and Koch 15th to earn the final spots in the 12-driver Chase field.
They'll be joined by Allgaier, Ty Dillon, Brennan Poole, Brandan Gaughn, Ryan Reed, Brandon Jones and Darrell Wallace Jr.
The Chase begins next week at Kentucky and will have two elimination rounds before a champion is determined Nov. 19 at Homestead.
Busch, the top-seed in the Sprint Cup Chase this year, won the Truck Series race Friday night before failing a post-race inspection. He beat Jones off pit road during a green-flag stop with just over 40 laps remaining and held the lead after a later restart. He seemed poised for another win until his tire mishap.
His pit crew was also penalized for having going over the wall too soon on the ensuing stop to end his chances.
Bowyer, a former series champion, finished sixth in his first Xfinity race since 2012