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Blake Jones claims first ARCA win at Talladega Superspeedway


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TALLADEGA, Ala. (AP) — Blake Jones took the lead on a green-white checkered restart Friday night and won the International Motorsports Hall of Fame 200 for his first victory in the ARCA Racing Series.

The 18-year-old Jones passed teammate Tom Hessert, who led most of the way before running out of gas, after the second restart in the final three laps. Jones had been on the outside lane for the restarts at Talladega Superspeedway.

It was just his second start on a speedway. Jones said the victory "almost brought tears to my eyes."

"I thought we could get him even if he hadn't run out of fuel there," said Jones, who graduates from high school in Sevierville, Tennessee on May 26. "It would have been close. It's just a dream come true, second-ever start on a superspeedway to be standing here."

Polesitter Cody Coughlin was second and Cole Powell third after moving up 18 spots from his starting position.

Crashes took out the two points leaders, Grant Enfinger and Austin Wayne Self. Enfinger had won the first three races.

Brad Smith was taken to a hospital for further evaluation after crashing into the SAFER barrier on the inside wall.

Self spun out and back up the track, then Smith smashed into his right front. Smith walked to the stretcher and waved as he was lifted into an ambulance.

Self took the blame for the accident.

"I guess I lost it a little bit," Self said. "It was obviously my fault."

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John Zenor

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