Mid-Michigan NASCAR driver makes history at Darlington Raceway

The first NASCAR driver to win the first playoff race without being a member of the playoff...
The first NASCAR driver to win the first playoff race without being a member of the playoff field says it feels good.
Published: Sep. 6, 2022 at 6:03 PM EDT
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SHIAWASSEE CO., Mich. (WNEM) – Mid-Michigan’s NASCAR driver, Erik Jones, is still riding high after winning the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

It’s the Byron native’s third career victory on the NASCAR cup series circuit and first win in three years.

The victory made history on the circuit as Jones did not qualify for the cup series playoffs this season, but he becomes the first NASCAR driver to win the first playoff race without being a member of the playoff field.

Jones is only 26-years-old and has driven in more than 200 races in the cup series.

He became the first NASCAR driver to win the first playoff race without being a member of the playoff field.

It’s been a nice five weeks for Swartz Creek Academy alumni. At the end of July, he signed a multi-year extension with Richard Petty racing, keeping him in the legendary driver’s number 43 car for next season and beyond.

Jones says he wants to continue to play the spoiler role during the rest of the postseason.

“It feels good,” Jones said. “I feel like coming up we’ve got more good tracks. I wouldn’t say that this is the only race that we’ve got a shot at. Ending the year out, I feel like we can win more races and sometimes all it takes is one. I think we’ve gained a lot, a lot in the last six months of this race car and learned a lot and you know the whole group’s done a really good job. It’s a testament to the people, right? When you can win a playoff race like that.”

Jones’ win was the first by Richard Petty’s number 43 car in eight years. It had been 55 years since that car took home the checkered flag at Darlington.