Teenager Erik Jones pulled away to his first career Xfinity Series victory Friday night, outrunning Sprint Cup stars Brad Keselowski and Dale Earnhardt Jr. at the same Texas track where he picked up his high school diploma a year ago.
The 18-year-old Jones turned away a strong bid from Keselowski on a restart with 28 laps remaining, winning by 1.6 seconds as he was never seriously challenged again.
A year earlier, Jones ran a Camping World Truck race at Texas Motor Speedway in Fort Worth rather than attend his high school graduation in Michigan, and track president Eddie Gossage presented him his diploma during introductions.
Jones, who won from the pole, became the youngest winner in the truck series in 2013 at Phoenix. He won three truck races last year.
Keselowski was second, and Earnhardt Jr. was third.
Kurt Busch is on the pole for the NASCAR Sprint Cup race in Texas.
Busch edged defending series champion Kevin Harvick with a run of 193.847 mph on the high-banked 1 1/2-mile track in Fort Worth.
The Duck Commander 500 is tonight.
It’s the second pole of the season for Busch, who also took the top spot in Fontana, California. But it’s the first time he has taken the top qualifying spot in Texas, where he has three career top 10 finishes and one win.
Harvick will start on the front row in Texas for the first time after turning a lap of 193.722. Busch and Harvick, teammates with Stewart-Haas Racing, also started 1-2 in California.
Brad Keselowski was third at 193.195 mph, followed by Kasey Kahne.
Tony Kanaan’s strong early season form continued when he turned a lap at 125.058 mph to top practice for the inaugural Indy Grand Prix of Louisiana in Avondale, Louisiana.
The 40-year-old Kanaan is coming off a third-place finish in IndyCar’s opening race two weeks ago in St. Petersburg, Florida, where he was the only driver in the top five not racing for Team Penske.
After dominating St. Petersburg’s street circuit, the Penske cars have not looked quite as strong on the 2.74 mile, 13-turn road course at NOLA Motorsports Park near New Orleans.
Scott Dixon was third-fastest, giving Chip Ganassi Racing two of the top three cars, split by Penske driver and defending series champion Will Power.
Top times were posted in hot, dry conditions in the first practice of the day. The second session was delayed and shortened by rain, and cars were slower on the damp track.
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