Austin Dillon's paint scheme for Darlington Raceway is patterned after one used by his grandfather, Richard Childress.
ELKHART LAKE, Wis. -- News of Richard Childress Racing 's crew chief switcheroo for its Nos. 3 and 33 Chevrolet teams in the NASCAR XFINITY Series might've seemed like a rash measure back in June. With Ty Dillon sitting second in the driver standings, the swap resembled an overhaul more than a tweak. Eight races later, the early returns are promising for both RCR outfits, with momentum aligning for Dillon's championship push heading into Saturday's Road America 180 Fired up by Johnsonville (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN, MRN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio). Dillon remains second in the standings with a 19-point deficit heading into the 23rd of 33 races this season, but he also has a streak of four straight top-five finishes built up for the final road course event of 2015. The Richard Childress-owned team announced its move June 24, moving Nick Harrison over to call the shots for Dillon's No. 3 operation. Danny Stockman shifted over to RCR's No. 33, a full-time team but with three part-time drivers -- Austin Dillon , Brandon Jones and Paul Menard -- sharing the seat. The younger Dillon said the change has gone smoothly so far, but that the more encouraging byproduct has been the team's ability to compete for top-five finishes rather than settle for top-10s. "It's going really good. We're all figuring it out and we've made sure we've had our communication down the last couple weeks," Ty Dillon said. "Every week, we've gotten stronger and stronger and had really good race cars. It makes it easier to finish top-five when you have such good race cars. Nick's been calling good races and we just have a lot of momentum right now, heading in the right direction. We keep finishing in the top five like we are, we're going to get some wins and really put the heat on them." The move paid some immediate dividends for Austin Dillon , who prevailed at Daytona International Speedway in the team's first event since the personnel change. The Dillon -Stockman pairing reunited the driver-crew chief combination that netted the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series championship in 2011, then the XFINITY crown two years later. Menard will participate in his fourth race under Stockman's watch this weekend, making his first XFINITY start in his home state of Wisconsin since 2010. The Sprint Cup Series regular said he understood the reasons for altering the team dynamic. "It was more for Ty, honestly," Menard said. "They called me to see if I was OK with making the switch and I said whatever is better for the company is fine with me. I know we'll run good with both those guys." Ty Dillon has methodically made up ground -- or at least held serve -- in the weeks following the change. After crashing out at Daytona and slipping to 43 points in arrears, he's chopped the deficit in half and then some, helping him apply pressure to Roush Fenway Racing 's Chris Buescher , the points leader since May. It's resulted in additional spring in the step for Dillon , noticeably so according to Harrison. "We've had a string of top-fives here, so we've got some kind of mojo rolling and we've been having fun doing it," Harrison said. "The pressure and intensity level's getting higher as we creep down toward the end of the year. Having some momentum is definitely showing to be a strength, and you can tell it's helping everybody's spirit going into the closing part of the year. "We've had two top-fives at Mid-Ohio and Watkins Glen, so coming here, I think confidence is up for not only us but especially Ty. I feel like that's real important. You can just tell his attitude and charisma is where it needs to be right now and I feel like that's going to help tremendously." The poise may come in handy this weekend on the blazing fast 4.048-mile circuit, where off-course pitfalls and the prospect of fender-bending conflicts await. Dillon has managed to steer clear of the former if not quite the latter in this month's other two road-course events, gathering top-five finishes at both. The potential for trouble -- mixed in with the uncertainty of possible racing in the rain -- hasn't done much to deter Dillon's outlook as the final third of the season begins. "We're going for it. This is definitely an opportunity," Dillon said. "We're not sitting back and trying to let things happen for us. We're going for it. You never know what can happen with rain and the way a road course races anyway, so we've got to be on the attack and try to win this race."
RELATED: Full race results " Series standings " Updated Chase Grid BROOKLYN, Mich. -- Austin Dillon raced with the big dogs on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, challenging race winner Matt Kenseth and showing that the No. 3 team has made progress in the past few weeks. In the eight races since the team switched to Slugger Labbe as its crew chief, Dillon has posted three top-10 finishes, including a career-best fourth place in the Pure Michigan 400 , where he led the second-most laps (19) to Kenseth. Dillon emerged from his Richard Childress Racing Chevrolet SS on pit road on a day when temperatures inside the vehicles rose to above 150 degrees, and he asked for a towel to wipe off his face. And despite his reddish hue, the 25-year-old still pumped his fists and gave high-fives to crew. "Well I had fun," Dillon said. "We gained a lot of spots starting 43rd and got to fourth where we qualified. Just overcame a lot today. I'm proud of my guys. Slugger made a good call at the beginning. We kind of had made that plan to ride around and save fuel and it worked out for us." Despite qualifying fourth on Friday, Dillon had to start from the rear of the field on Sunday because of an engine change. In an effort to gain track position, the No. 3 team did not pit on the Lap 20 competition caution. The gamble paid off as Dillon was able to stay up toward the front, and by the time a restart came around on Lap 126 of 200, he was in a position to battle Kenseth for the lead. Kenseth and Dillon had a classic back-and-forth on that lap, but eventually the Joe Gibbs Racing driver pulled away and finished off the win. Kenseth was asked if he was surprised by the fact the No. 3 car was the one putting up a fight toward the end of the race. "I was a little bit," Kenseth said. "He had a really good restart, and we had a little touch there on (Turn) 4. I was a little frustrated, not with him, he didn't do anything wrong, but I was a little frustrated because I was like, 'Man, we got to get away because I got a really good car.' ... It was a challenge to get away from him and you needed to get those five or six car-lengths to get him in that bad air." Unfortunately for Dillon , a slow pit stop with 32 laps to go dropped him into fourth place. And despite the career-best finish, Dillon likely needs a win to qualify for the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup . After Michigan, Dillon was 83 points behind Clint Bowyer , who currently holds the 16th and final spot in the Chase. "We're showing some speed that's solid for us the last couple weeks to be able to compete if we were in the Chase," Dillon said. "That's nice to know. For me, I just wish we could have started this just a little bit earlier." Dillon still has three more chances to capture that elusive win, which would be his first in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. And the next stop on the schedule, Bristol Motor Speedway, is somewhere Dillon had some success with a top-10 finish earlier this season. "Really looking forward to Bristol," Dillon said. "We ran third there with four to go and ran out of fuel. So if we can go to Bristol and compete, I think we can win there. I'm definitely looking forward to that race." And it wouldn't hurt if Dillon got another key call from a crew chief that has helped him during the turnaround. "He's been awesome, man," Dillon said about Labbe. "I feel like I can compete in this series, and he's given me my confidence back. And it has been nice to work with him."
RELATED: Chase Grid " Chase bubble watch " Chase Fest details A year ago, it was Kasey Kahne . Only two races remained before the start of the 2014 Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup , and the Hendrick Motorsports driver was 13th in points. Unfortunately, he was outside the top 16 in the Chase standings. Kyle Busch , Denny Hamlin , AJ Allmendinger , Kurt Busch and Aric Almirola trailed Kahne in points. But they were among those that had wins. They had invitations to the dance. At the time, Kahne had managed only two top-five finishes. His average finishing position was 16.8. He hadn't been to the victory lane since midway through the previous season. So he and his team went out and won at Atlanta Motor Speedway . It earned Kahne one of the final Chase spots and the No. 5 team a second chance. It wasn't quite as easy as it sounds. Kevin Harvick , as was often the case, was dominant at AMS. Kahne fell a lap down early. The team battled back. He didn't take the lead for the first time until Lap 303 of the scheduled 325-lap race. Suddenly, he seemed to be on his way to the win. Then cautions appeared, forcing two late restarts. Green, white, checkered late. Kahne's lead was lost on pit road. Yet somehow he muscled his way past Matt Kenseth coming to the white flag, holding on for the win and a spot in the Chase. It's a similar position for the 35-year-old this year. Two races remain -- stops at Darlington Raceway and Richmond International Raceway -- before the field is finalized for this year's 10-race run to determine the Sprint Cup champion. Kahne is once again winless. He is not alone. Teammate Jeff Gordon has finished inside the top five only three times this year. The four-time champion is ahead of Clint Bowyer in the playoff picture, with a wider margin back to folks such as Aric Almirola and Greg Biffle . A year ago Gordon had three wins and a vise-like grip on first place in the points. Bowyer's got a pair of top-fives, but much of the attention around the No. 15 team of Michael Waltrip Racing centers on where Bowyer will call home next season. Paul Menard has a razor-thin lead on Gordon in points, but taking nothing for granted. Can anyone? Matt Kenseth 's blown engine at Bristol last week, leaving the Joe Gibbs driver 42nd in the final rundown, didn't go unnoticed. Things not only can happen, they often do. With 10 drivers already secure -- 11 if you go ahead and give Kyle Busch one of the spots although he's close enough to the fault line that a misstep could make things interesting -- and two races remaining, at least three of this year's Chase spots will be filled based on the points standings after Richmond. It could be five, if no new winner emerges in the next two weeks. Few on the fringes, though, have shown signs of contending for wins. Almirola? One top five and only three laps led this season. Biffle? It's shaping up to be the wrong type of career year for the Roush Fenway Racing driver, with just two top-fives and an average finish of 20th. Austin Dillon ? Kyle Larson ? Both have shown potential. Both are winless. Kahne? Well, who knows? The question isn't can it be done. Kahne's already proven that it's possible. The question is who among those can pull it off?
Austin Dillon talks about a strong day at Michigan International Speedway as he grabs his highest Sprint Cup Series finish of his career, fourth.
Early scrape doesn't slow No. 33 Chevy, which leads 1-2-3 RCR sweep RELATED: Practice 1 results " Final practice results Austin Dillon recovered from a brush from the wall in opening NASCAR XFINITY Series practice to top the final practice leaderboard Friday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Dillon drove his freshly repaired Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet to a best lap of 130.707 mph on the 1.058-mile track. He'll be aiming for his fourth XFINITY victory of the season in Saturday's Lakes Region 200 (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). Childress Chevrolets swept the top three in the 85-minute session. Brendan Gaughan landed the second-fastest lap at 129.498 mph in the No. 62 Chevy, and teammate Brian Scott was third-fastest (129.459 mph) in the No. 2 Camaro. Sprint Cup regulars Kyle Busch and Brad Keselowski -- who collectively have won the last six XFINITY races at New Hampshire -- both secured spots in the top 10 on the leaderboard. Busch -- an XFINITY winner at the Loudon, N.H., track from 2009-11 and 2013 -- was fifth-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota. Keselowski, the 2012 and defending race winner, was seventh-best in the Team Penske No. 22 Ford. Daniel Suarez landed the fourth-best spot with a late mock qualifying run in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 18 Toyota. J.J. Yeley, who started first last weekend after a qualifying rainout at Kentucky Speedway, was sixth-fastest in the JGL Racing No. 28 Toyota. Defending series champion Chase Elliott piloted the JR Motorsports No. 9 Chevrolet to the 11th-fastest lap. Series points leader Chris Buescher was 12th-fastest in the Roush Fenway Racing No. 60 Ford. Saturday's Coors Light Pole Qualifying is set for an 11:15 a.m. ET start, to be televised on NBC Sports Network. Keselowski tops early New Hampshire practice Brad Keselowski roared to the fastest lap in Friday's first practice for the NASCAR XFINITY Series at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. Keselowski, last week's XFINITY winner at Kentucky, posted a lap of 130.122 mph in the No. 22 Ford in preparation for Saturday's Lakes Region 200 (4 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM), the 17th of 33 races this season. His top time was a solid .273-seconds better than second-fastest Denny Hamlin , who ran 128.920 mph in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. Keselowski has prevailed in two of the last three XFINITY Series races on the 1.058-mile track. Kyle Busch , seventh-fastest in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 54 Toyota, has won four of the series' last six New Hampshire events. Ryan Sieg was third-fastest in the RSS Racing No. 39 Chevrolet. NASCAR Next products Ben Rhodes and Daniel Suarez were fourth and fifth respectively in the 55-minute session. Austin Dillon , a three-time winner in the XFINITY Series this year, posted the eighth-fastest lap but damaged the right side of his Richard Childress Racing No. 33 Chevrolet after he scraped the outside wall at the exit of Turn 4. His brother, Ty Dillon , third in the XFINITY Series standings, also made contact later in the session but with less damage to his No. 3 Chevy. FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Brothers disagree on how much dirt-track racing NASCAR should have ROSSBURG, Ohio -- They're brothers, Austin and Ty Dillon , so of course they sometimes disagree. There were certainly a few differing opinions during an Abbott and Costello-esque joint media availability with the two drivers at Eldora Speedway in advance of Wednesday night's 1-800-Car-Cash Mud Summer Classic. The mid-week race is the lone yearly foray onto dirt for one of NASCAR's three national series, and Wednesday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at the half-mile, high-banked dirt oval owned by Tony Stewart is the third consecutive year the trucks stop in western Ohio. While some of the discussion between the brothers was humorous -- both considered themselves the favorite to win, with Austin asking Ty to go on the record and putting his recorded answer on Instagram -- there was a very real difference of opinion on a talking point throughout the NASCAR community. Should there be more races on dirt, and should the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series and/or the NASCAR XFINITY Series be involved? "My opinion is, I think this event has gained so much exposure and has done such a good job for the Truck Series," Ty Dillon said. "I know everyone wants to see more dirt races throughout the series, but I think we need to keep it unique to the Truck Series. What it is now is an event everybody looks forward to, and I think if you start adding too many of them, you're going to kind of cloud the specialness of the event. "And I think this is a prestigious event -- at least it is to me and the folks in the dirt world. You start adding more to the schedule, it takes a little bit away from it for me personally." It took less than three seconds for Ty's older brother to offer his retort and draw in Texas Motor Speedway President Eddie Gossage -- in town for the event, and hanging out in the media center -- into his argument. "I disagree -- guess what, we're brothers," Austin Dillon said with a chuckle. "I don't know, I like these races and I think they're fun. We've got a guy in the back (Gossage) who could make it happen if we wanted a dirt race in Texas. "It brings something new to our sport, changes it up and brings new fans who are curious to see what it's like. And it's good racing. Look at the highlights of the last two years racing here and you could probably put that in any highlight reel that NASCAR's had in the last 10 years." MORE: Ty makes light of Keselowski's asphalt background Austin Dillon won the inaugural event in 2013, with Darrell Wallace Jr . taking top honors in 2014 after outlasting Kyle Larson ; Ty Dillon finished fifth last year. The 2013 victory for Austin Dillon , who drives the No. 3 Chevrolet full time in the Sprint Cup Series, came at NASCAR's first national series event at a dirt track since 1970, when Richard Petty won at North Carolina State Fairgrounds. Austin and Ty may disagree on NASCAR's dirt future, but there was one resounding theme in which there was harmony between the two -- and everyone in the garage area Wednesday agree. "This event is very special," Austin Dillon said. "I think it's awesome to see a dirt track develop like this. I'm really thankful for what Tony (Stewart) is doing here." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Dillon hints he would have wrecked Hamlin if given the chance Saturday LOUDON, N.H. – Denny Hamlin got the best of Austin Dillon in Saturday’s XFINITY Series Lakes Region 200 race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, moving him out of the way in the corner with less than 30 laps to go to pick up his second win of the season. Don’t expect Dillon to forget about it. WATCH: Bad blood continues between Hamlin, Dillon “I missed one corner; I’ll take the blame for that. I got a little tight. … He got to me; figured he was going to race, but he never even wanted to,” said Dillon , who finished runner-up to Hamlin. “He wrecked his teammate ( Kyle Busch ) and then proceeded to try and wreck me. And if I would’ve gotten back to him, it would’ve happened to him. “What is racing if you can’t race side-by-side for more than a corner? He never even went through a corner with me. The whole race. Didn’t want to. He just moved me. Missed the corner; wrecked me. I’m fine with racing rough. I promise you I can do it to anybody. But if we’re going to race like that, I need to know before you get into the first corner, you know? Give me a corner, at least.” While the video shows Hamlin dive into the corner in an effort to gain position on Dillon ’s No. 33 Chevrolet and then drift back up and make contact, it was contact that Hamlin explained in full detail in his post-race press conference as being Dillon ’s fault. That said, it was also contact that Hamlin likely won’t lose sleep over, since he felt Dillon jumped the restart when his No. 20 Toyota was the control car. “I did feel like he left early. I was the control car and I was going to wait,” Hamlin said. “I typically start early in the box most restarts. I was going to wait until late in the box but he took off right in the middle of the box and short of just stacking the field up and not going, I didn’t want to wreck everybody behind me, so I just took off and continued that he was just going to jump the start and really nothing was going to be done about it.” Hamlin paused, before continuing to further explain why he shouldn’t take the blame. “There’s a misconception, I think, at this track on what responsibility the outside car has. The bottom lane at this track is the middle; it’s not the yellow line. Nobody runs on the apron at this race track. When you’re the outside car and you choose to run the middle and somebody is underneath you, you run a risk of that car more than likely washing up into you. Everyone’s done it. Austin ’s done it. Kyle’s done it sometimes. We’ve all done it. “When that outside car chooses to hold you down and pinch you down, typically they get the bad end of the deal. I got the worst end of the deal in the first one with Kyle. When a car is on the bottom, I typically move up to the third lane to give the person an opportunity to stay underneath me. I did it with Kyle earlier in the race. I think he passed me twice and I kind of threw my hands up, moved up high and let him have the spot. With him and Austin , they both kind of ran the middle, trying to protect their position like they’re supposed to but it gives me just no opportunity to save my car. “I’m already committed to the bottom at that point. Once you let off the throttle and you turn down in, you’re hoping they give you the true bottom line, which is the middle, but when they don’t it’s a ‘you pinch, you pay’ type problem.” The extra wrinkle to all of this: Hamlin and Dillon are both full-time Sprint Cup Series drivers who still have to race on Sunday in the 5-hour ENERGY 301 (1:30 p.m. ET, NBC Sports Network). And if Dillon ’s post-race temperament was any indication, he certainly wouldn’t shy away from any contact. Only thing is, Dillon , winless and mired in 21st in the standings, is the one that can’t afford to wreck his race car seeking retaliation. Hamlin has his Chase for the Sprint Cup all but wrapped up via a Martinsville win earlier this year. Still, is he worried? “Not really. I have a win. I have nothing to lose, basically,” Hamlin said. “It’s just heat of the moment. Obviously, as upset as he was that I moved him out of the way, I was just as upset that he jumped the restart. We’re both racing for a win and I’ve been on the other side of somebody moving me out of the way for a race win inside 20 to go and especially on a short track. It happens. It’s part of short-track racing. The two instances when I got into both Kyle and Austin , I didn’t wreck anyone. Definitely didn’t spin anyone out.” This isn’t the first time the pair have had their issues. Hamlin and Dillon got into it at Texas Motor Speedway two years ago and exchanged heated words post-race. Those words stuck with Dillon , the grandson of team owner Richard Childress. “I’ve reworked a relationship with Denny,” Dillon said. “He called me a spoiled rich kid in Texas two years ago and I hate it, you know what I mean? He said just the last name and I said, ‘My last name is Dillon , not Childress, but he is my grandfather.’ I always act with class. Everybody in the media knows that. And I’ve worked my way here just like anybody else. But Denny, acting like that, what does he want me to call him, you know? I don’t do that. I know how to act.” When asked in his press conference what Dillon should call him, Hamlin had one simple, two-word response. “A winner.” FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
No. 3 crew chief talks pressure, adjusting to rule changes RELATED: Full race results " Updated series standings LOUDON, N.H. -- Austin Dillon managed a weak smile. "I'm pretty cooked, really," the Richard Childress Racing driver said as he leaned against a car on pit road, moments after Sunday's 5-Hour Energy 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway had ended. Dillon finished eighth on an unseasonably hot day at NHMS. It was his second top 10 in three races (he was seventh earlier this month at Daytona) and just his third of the season. The No. 3 team needed a good finish. Dillon needed a good finish. It's been something of a trying year for the 25-year-old. Now, perhaps, the team has something to build on just past the halfway point of the 36-race NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season. Time will tell. "We really did," he said. "I'm just proud to finish one off strong like that. When you get a little momentum, it goes a long way." Carl Edwards finished seventh, Jeff Gordon ninth. Both stopped by to chat briefly with Dillon , recounting their race-ending battle on the 1.058-mile track. "It was a good momentum-building weekend for us, a good day in points," crew chief Richard "Slugger" Labbe said. " Austin's been beat up. He hasn't had really good finishes and he's under a lot of pressure just like all of us. "I try my hardest and I don't let the pressure get to me. It's tough. It's a tough job. Especially being on the 3 (team), working for Richard and having big sponsors like we do with Dow and American Ethanol … so many big partners. At the end of the day, you've got to perform." His top-10 result moved Dillon up two spots in the points standings – he'll head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway next weekend 19th in the standings and still searching for his first Sprint Cup win. Although he qualified 24th in the 43-car field, Dillon was working his way forward and was 16 th after pitting under green when a fire on the No. 7 of Alex Bowman brought out the second caution flag of the race. Those who hadn't pitted under green made their stops and when the field was reset, Dillon was nearly outside the top 30. Slowly, he began to work his way back toward the top 10. "We finally got our track position (back) halfway through the race," Dillon said. "That helped the most." Now, he said, "it's just about trying to figure out how to get it earlier, qualifying better." Labbe, the Daytona 500 winning crew chief for Michael Waltrip in 2003, came back on the road full-time to lead the No. 3 team in late June at Sonoma. Previously, he was overseeing Richard Childress Racing 's research and development program. "It's been tough … because the first race (back) was Sonoma, the next race was Daytona, and the next race was Kentucky with new rules. This was really the first race that's been 'normal' racing," Labbe said. "Now we go to Indy (and another rules package). It's been hard to go through four concepts with a new driver. It's been a challenge but my guys have done a really good job. "Everyone at RCR is working hard to make the cars better, faster, lighter, more aerodynamic. "The good thing is we get to go to Eldora. We built a truck in our shop for Austin . Chad Haney (car chief on the No. 3) is going to crew chief it. So there's a little play day coming up." FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule
Late spin foils Erik Jones' attempt to beat his boss at Pocono RELATED: Contact turns Jones around on restart " Full race results LONG POND, Pa. -- It looked like it was going to be the teacher battling his mentor and team owner for a victory. However, Erik Jones ' spin on Lap 60 ruined his chances of beating Kyle Busch in Saturday's NASCAR Camping World Truck Series Pocono Mountains 150 . Running second at the time, Jones was in the middle lane challenging Busch for the lead when Austin Dillon 's right front made contact with Jones' left rear, which turned the driver of the No. 4 Toyota and spun the 19-year-old into Timothy Peters . Jones rebounded from the late-race trouble thanks to three green-white-checkered finishes to finish in 10th place for his ninth top-10 finish of the season. After the race, Jones pulled up to Dillon's car on pit road and the two had a civil exchange discussing the incident, even shaking hands afterward. Dillon explained his side of things to Jones, who mainly just listened. "It was a good exchange," Dillon said after the race. "I just told him the 05 (of John Wes Townley ) was in my left rear quarter panel and that's what I heard. I haven't seen a replay. I just felt like I was getting pushed and I was already loose. And I felt like if I lifted, I'd wreck, too. I chose the path to sustain it. I hate it for him. I was hoping he'd be able to save it. There wasn't much he could do off of 2. I hate it for him because he's running for points." Jones was disappointed to not get the win, especially when he was battling his boss for most of the day. Jones did edge Busch to win the 21 Means 21 Pole Award in the morning. RELATED: Busch wins at Pocono " Jones earns fourth pole of 2015 at Pocono "It was exciting," Jones said of racing against Busch, his truck owner, for the first time in the Camping World Truck Series. "I felt like we were definitely the two best trucks out there. "Unfortunately, we got spun out. You know, nothing you can really do about that. A solid day for us overall. Pretty good points day with the 88 (of Matt Crafton ) getting wrecked. We made up some good points. Could have made up some more had we finished first or second. But we'll take it." Jones sits third in the point standings, but is just 16 points back of series points leader Tyler Reddick and only five back of Matt Crafton for second place. Busch, who won the race, discussed racing against his protégé after the race. "He wants to win and that's where it all stems from," Busch said. "It's just competition. It's just the drive. He wanted to win today. He wanted to beat the boss, and he had the opportunity to do so. I don't know that I could have passed him if he was leading. It just didn't quite work out for him today, and that's tough. "And man, I've been there. I've hated it because you're still trying to make it in this game, and to make it in this game, the best way to do that is to win races and show people that you're the best and to not settle for second. Hopefully his top 10 will still continue to help him out through the rest of the year. I'm sure he'll still get some wins, and we can see him as a champion at the end of the year." Saturday was a busy day for Jones, who was doing his own version of the "double." From Pocono, he headed to Iowa Speedway for Saturday night's U.S. Cellular 250 presented by New Holland where he finished seventh. Since he couldn't be in Iowa for practices and qualifying, Drew Herring shook down the No. 54 Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing . Jones is slated to attempt a similar double on Sept. 26 when he runs the Camping World Truck Series UNOH 175 (1 p.m. ET, FOX Sports 1, MRN, SiriusXM) at New Hampshire Motor Speedway before heading to Kentucky Speedway for the XFINITY Series VisitMyrtleBeach.com 300 (8 p.m. ET, NBCSN, PRN, SiriusXM). FULL SERIES COVERAGE • Latest news • Standings • Schedule