AVONDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Matt Crafton took all the drama out of the Truck Series championship Friday night with a solid finish at Phoenix International Raceway.
He left the hard racing to kids at the front of the pack.
Erik Jones became the youngest winner in series history, racing to his first win on NASCAR's national level, at 17 years and 4 months. He broke the mark set in September by Chase Elliott, who was five months older when he won in September in Bowmanville, Ontario.
"It's everything I want, just to be a winner in NASCAR," Jones said. "I'm not sure what I'm doing next year, hopefully we know in the next few months, and hopefully this helps me."
It was Jones' fifth start for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and he got his shot in the Toyota when he caught Busch's eye by beating him last December in the Snowball Derby.
"When you are driving Kyle Busch's stuff, there's a lot of pressure on you," said third-place finisher Brendan Gaughan. "Kid looked like Kyle Busch tonight."
The pressure is finally off Crafton, who finished fifth. With a lead of 46 points over Ty Dillon, Crafton needs only to start next Friday night in the finale at Homestead to win the championship.
"I can sleep a lot better, I can promise you that," Crafton said. "The last month-and-half, I haven't slept worth a damn."
Crafton thought he might have finished a little higher — and possibly wrapped up the title — if not for a brake problem.
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