Jones Honors Father, Wins Battle at BerlinScott Menlen
Marne, Michigan – Although there was a new format for the ARCA/CRA Super Series Battle at Berlin 251 Presented by Primera Plastics, NASCAR Xfinity Series driver Erik Jones defended his title on Monday at Berlin Raceway.
The victory comes less than a week after the 2011 JEGS/CRA All-Stars Tour Champion lost his father after a brief battle with cancer.
Champion Racing Association and Berlin Raceway implemented two breaks in the race at the 100 and 200 lap mark. At the first break there was an invert of seven pulled by leader Tim DeVos for the start of lap 101 and at the second stop the top five drivers drew for their lap 201 starting position.
Jones took the lead from John VanDoorn on lap 196 with an inside pass coming off the second corner.
At the break Jones pulled a one to retain his position followed by Dalton Armstrong, Bubba Pollard, Cody Coughlin and VanDoorn.
Although he was pressed briefly on the final restart, Jones was able to open a gap of several car lengths over Armstrong.
VanDoorn, who led 129 of the first 200 laps, was never able to come back up to speed and rapidly dropped out of the top five. The three-time ARCA/CRA Super Series Champion pulled onto pit road on lap 215.
The driver making a late charge was Brian Campbell, who had battled a loose handling race car through must of the first 200 circuits.
He was seventh on the final restart and on lap 231 passed Armstrong for second, but he slowed and pulled onto pit road six laps later.
From there Jones maintained a comfortable margin to record his fourth consecutive JEGS/CRA $100,000 Super Late Model Triple Crown event and second consecutive Battle at Berlin 251 win at Berlin Raceway.
EDCO Welding Fast qualifier Bubba Pollard finished second followed by Phil Bozell, current ARCA/CRA Super Series point’s leader Coughlin and Armstrong.
Jones’ commented in victory lane that his dad was always with him.
“We had an awesome car,” he said. “It’s nice to be back in victory lane.”
A year ago Jones won at Berlin, the Red Bud 300 and Winchester 400 to earn the $100,000 Triple Crown Bonus. Jones is not eligible to compete for the Triple Crown Bonus in 2016 since he races full-time in one of NASCAR’s top three divisions.
“I wish I could run all three again even though I’m not eligible for the bonus this year,” he said. “But I can’t make the Anderson (Red Bud 300) race.”
Pollard said his car was a little off on the final restart and was tight coming off the corners.
“You need to be on your ‘A’ game against these guys,” he said.
Pollard, Jones and VanDoorn swapped the lead during the first 100 laps with local hot show Tim DeVos taking the point before the first break.
After the first break the dominant driver was VanDoorn, who surrendered the lead to Jones on lap 196.
Avon driver Quinnton Bear posted a strong qualifying run and started second running for much of the first 100 laps in the top five. He was still running in the top ten when Bear pulled into the pit area on lap 155.
There were five caution periods for a total of 28 laps and one red flag to clean oil from the track.
The lead was swapped nine times among four different drivers.
Erik Jones, Bubba Pollard, Phil Bozell, Cody Coughlin, Dalton Armstrong, Chris Koslek, Steve Dorer, Chad Finley, Jordan Dahlke, Travis Braden, Jay Niewiek, Lauren Bush, Dalton Sargeant, Thomas Woodin, Brian Campbell, Tim DeVos, Johnny VanDoorn, Quinnton Bear, Zane Smith, Terry VanHaitsma, Andrew Nylaan, Brandon Oakley, Grant Quinlan, John Neal, Bubba Brooks, Andy Bozell.
By: Ken de la Bastide
Photo By: Thomas Stumpfig