DARLINGTON, S.C. – Erik Jones held off Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch to win the rain-delayed Southern 500 that ended late Sunday night.
Jones took the lead from Kyle Larson 85 laps from the end and stayed in front of Busch the rest of the way to add a win at iconic Darlington Raceway with his first NASCAR Cup Series victory at Daytona in July 2018.
Some had wondered if the 23-year-old Jones was the weak link in the JGR powerhouse as Busch, Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex Jr. had all won four times apiece this season while Jones’ No. 20 was winless.
“Is there anything more to say?” Jones said with a smile.
Not anymore. Jones’ victory means all four of Joe Gibbs’ drivers has taken the checkered flag and are locked into the NASCAR playoffs that start in two weeks.
Larson was second, his third top three finish at Darlington in the past four years. He led 497 laps during that stretch, including 44 in this one.
Busch, who started in the back after swapping out an engine after qualifying, got up to Jones’ bumper near the end. But he brushed the wall on the next-to-last lap and ended third.
Kevin Harvick was fourth and Brad Keselowski was fifth.
Clint Bowyer was sixth followed by the winner of the opening stage, Kurt Busch, Matt DiBenedetto, Paul Menard and Austin Dillon.
Subscribe to the sports newsletter
Get the day’s top sports headlines and breaking news delivered to your inbox by subscribing here.