It was throwback weekend for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series and with two races left until the playoffs, it was do or die for some teams. One driver who was just above got himself locked in after a 1:45 A.M. Monday morning finish.
Erik Jones has won the Bojangles Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway for Joe Gibbs Racing. Jones 20 Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota Camry throwback would start 15th in the race, lead 79 laps and held off teammate Kyle Busch in the closing laps. This is Jones second career win (first being the 2018 Coke Zero Sugar 400), his first of 2019, and also locks himself into the NASCAR playoffs.
Speaking of Busch, the 18 Snickers Toyota started all the way back in 33rd. Busch would claim stage two, lead 118 laps, and would finish third. Martin Truex Jr in his 19 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker ATVs/Boats Toyota that threw back to his Busch series championship back in 2004 finished 15th. Denny Hamlin in his 11 FedEx Toyota throwback to Darrell Waltrip was involved in an accident later on. Hamlin finished 29th.
Three of the four Stewart Haas cars were throwing their scheme back to Tony Stewart and his championship days. Kevin Harvick was the one who ran a throwback not related to Stewart. The 4 Busch Beer/Big Duck Hunter Ford Mustang did not lead a lap but would finish fourth. Clint Bowyer had a big points day as the 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford thrown back to Tony Stewart’s 2011 come out of nowhere championship season led and lap and finished sixth. Bowyer moves from 17th out of the playoffs to 15th in the playoffs. Daniel Suárez paint scheme was close to that of Stewart’s 2005 championship. The 41 Haas Ford finished 11th. Aric Almirola in the Smithfield Ford that threw back to Stewart’s 2002 championship car struggled all night as he would finish 17th.
Hendrick Motorsports started out good but as the race went on, things began to change. Jimmie Johnson in his 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro was trying to get a win or a top five to put himself back into the playoffs and it was looking as if that was going to happen. Johnson also led three laps during that time. However, after being in the top five for most of the night, Johnson would be involved in the same crash that Hamlin was in. Johnson finished 14th and sits 18 points below 16th. Alex Bowman in the 88 Axalta Chevy finished 18th. Chase Elliott in the 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevy throwback led nine laps and finished 19th. William Byron in the 24 Days of Thunder City Chevrolet Chevy throwback won the Busch pole but finished 19th.
2018 Southern 500 winner Brad Keselowski led Team Penske in the 2 Miller Lite Rusty Wallace 90s throwback Ford Mustang. Keselowski would finish fifth leading 19 laps. Ryan Blaney in the 12 Pennzoil/Menards Ford Michael Waltrip throwback finished 13th, and Joey Logano in the 22 Kevin Harvick Pennzoil Shell Ford Throwback from 2007-2010 finished 14th.
Kyle Larson in the 42 Clover Chevrolet Camaro Ricky Craven Kodiak throwback scheme led 44 laps and finished second for Chip Ganassi Racing. His teammate Kurt Busch in the 1 Chevrolet Accessories Camaro rocking his own 1969 ride claimed stage one and finished seventh.
The next race will be the regular season finale at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the Brickyard 400. We will see who will get the final two spots.
- Erik Jones 20 Sport Clips Haircuts Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing
- Kyle Larson 42 Clover Chevrolet Camaro Chip Ganassi Racing
- Kyle Busch 18 Snickers Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing
- Kevin Harvick 4 Busch Beer “Big Buck Hunter” Ford Mustang Stewart-Haas Racing
- Brad Keselowski 2 Miller Ford Mustang Team Penske
- Clint Bowyer 14 Rush Truck Centers/Mobil 1 Ford Mustang Stewart-Haas Racing
- Kurt Busch 1 Chevrolet Accessories Chevrolet Camaro Chip Ganassi Racing
- Matt DiBenedetto 95 Toyota Racing Development 40th Anniversary Toyota Camry Leavine Family Racing
- Paul Menard 21 Motorcraft/Quick Lane Tire & Auto Center Ford Mustang Wood Brothers Racing
- Austin Dillon 3 American Ethanol Chevrolet Camaro Richard Childress Racing
- Daniel Suárez 41 Haas Ford Mustang Stewart-Haas Racing
- Chris Buescher 37 Kroger “Fast Lane to Flavor” Chevrolet Camaro JTG-Daugherty Racing
- Ryan Blaney 12 Pennzoil/Menards Ford Mustang Team Penske
- Joey Logano 22 Shell/Pennzoil Ford Mustang Team Penske
- Martin Truex Jr. 19 Bass Pro Shops/Tracker ATVs/Boats Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing
- Jimmie Johnson 48 Ally Chevrolet Camaro Hendrick Motorsports
- Aric Almirola 10 Smithfield Ford Mustang Stewart-Haas Racing
- Alex Bowman 88 Axalta Chevrolet Camaro Hendrick Motorsports
- Chase Elliott 9 NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet Camaro Hendrick Motorsports
- Ty Dillon 13 GEICO Chevrolet Camaro Germain Racing
- William Byron 24 City Chevrolet Chevrolet Camaro Hendrick Motorsports
- Ryan Preece (R) 47 Kroger Chevrolet Camaro JTG-Daugherty Racing
- Ryan Newman 6 Oscar-Mayer/Velveeta Ford Mustang Roush-Fenway Racing
- Bubba Wallace 43 Victory Junction Chevrolet Camaro Richard Petty Motorsports
- Landon Cassill 00 StarCom Fiber Chevrolet Camaro StarCom Racing
- David Ragan 38 Shriners Hospitals for Children Ford Mustang Front Row Motorsports
- Matt Tifft (R) 36 Hilliker Glass/Surface Ford Mustang Front Row Motorsports
- Ross Chastain 15 Chevrolet Camaro Premium Motorsports
- Denny Hamlin 11 FedEx Racing Toyota Camry Joe Gibbs Racing
- Reed Sorenson 77 Motor Racing Network 50th Anniversary Chevrolet Camaro Spire Motorsports
- Joe Nemechek 27 Chevrolet Camaro Premium Motorsports
- J.J. Yeley 52 Jacob Companies Chevrolet Camaro Rick Ware Racing
- Ricky Stenhouse Jr. 17 Dog’s Most Wanted Ford Mustang Roush-Fenway Racing
- Joey Gase 66 Toyota Camry MBM Motorsports
- Garrett Smithley (R) 54 AQRE Ford Mustang Rick Ware Racing
- Corey LaJoie 32 CorvetteParts.net Ford Mustang Go Fas Racing
- Daniel Hemric (R) 8 Caterpillar Chevrolet Camaro Richard Childress Racing
- Michael McDowell 34 Dockside Logistics Ford Mustang Front Row Motorsports
- B.J. McLeod 51 Jacob Companies Ford Mustang Rick Ware Racing
Ian O’Brien is a Contributor for the Unwrapped Sports Network website. Follow him @Ianthekicker41 on Twitter.