Erik Jones skipped his high school graduation ceremony to drive in the NASCAR Truck Series at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth.
On the night of his graduation ceremony in Swartz Creek, Michigan, the 18-year- old Jones was instead at the track making his first national- level start on a 1 1/2-mile oval.
Before driver introductions, “Pomp and Circumstance” played while Jones went across the stage wearing a cap and gown. He then received his actual diploma from TMS President Eddie Gossage.
Last November at Phoenix, Jones became the youngest winner in truck series history, winning at 17 years, 4 months on the mile track.
Friday’s race at Texas came a week after his 18th birthday, making him eligible to race on the bigger tracks. He finished 11th.
Defending series champion Matt Crafton won Friday’s race for his second victory of the season, running the final 61 laps on one tank of fuel.
The defending series champion led 118 of 167 laps on the 1 1/2-mile track, and beat pole-sitter Justin Lofton by 13.302 seconds. Crafton’s ThorSport Racing Toyota ran out of fuel on the way to Victory Lane.
Joe Nemechek finished third, followed by Ryan Blaney, John Wes Townley, Ron Hornaday Jr., Sauter, Bryan Silas, Joey Coulter and Darrell Wallace Jr.
Denny Hamlin turned a track-record lap of 181.415 mph to win the pole at Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pennsylvania.
Hamlin is a four-time winner at Pocono and won his third pole at the track. Kurt Busch joins Hamlin on the front row for Sunday’s race.
Brad Keselowski, Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon round out the top five.
IndyCar Series points leader Will Power will start on the pole tonight at Texas Motor Speedway for the second consecutive year.
Power had a two-lap average of 218.896 mph in qualifying at the high-banked, high-speed 1 1/2-mile track for his 34th career pole.
Josef Newgarden qualified second at 217.835 mph. That was just ahead of Tony Kanaan.
IMSA’s Bishop dies
Sports car racing’s John Bishop, co-founder of the International Motor Sports Association, has died. He was 87.
Bishop died Thursday in San Rafael, California, of complications from a recent illness.
Bishop co-founded IMSA in 1969 with wife Peggy and NASCAR founder Bill France Sr.