Erik Jones Darlington win Sep 4, 2022; Darlington, South Carolina, USA; Erik Jones, driver of the (43) FOCUS Factor Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the COOK OUT Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway. Mandatory Credit: David Yeazell-USA TODAY Sports

It was 55 years to the day that Richard Petty wheeled the #43 into victory lane at Darlington for his first and only Southern 500 win. A lot has changed but one thing remained the same, the #43 was in victory lane at Darlington.

Thanks to a late blown engine from leader Kyle Busch, Erik Jones wheeled the Petty GMS Motorsports Chevy for the last 24 laps to earn his first victory with the team. Jones had two wins back when he was with Joe Gibbs Racing, one of them in the Southern 500.

Jones survived a typical Darlington race that had a lot of attrition. Especially for the Playoff drivers. Kyle Larson had engine troubles early but compared to some of the others, he rebounded well. Chase Elliott spun and finished last. Kevin Harvick’s car caught fire. And along with Busch having his engine troubles, Martin Truex Jr. had trouble and was out early.

This was a very popular win. Darlington’s throwback weekend may have moved to May but it sure felt like a throwback race. The last time a Petty owned car won a NASCAR Cup Series race was Aric Almirola in 2014. It’s the 274th Cup win for a Petty owned car and the 200th win for the #43 itself. Many people were happy with the result, along with King Richard, who is giving Jones one of his trademark hats.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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