ERIK JONES EARNS SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH AT AUTO CLUB SPEEDWAY
March 19, 2018
Erik Jones Earns Third Top-10 Finish of Season with Seventh-Place Finish at Auto Club Speedway
Box Score Info:
RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Auto Club 400
TRACK: Auto Club Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 SIRIUS XM Toyota Camry
POINTS STANDINGS: 13th (-84 points out of 1st)
- For the final round of NASCAR Goes West, Erik Jones and the No. 20 SIRIUS XM Toyota Camry team qualified in the fourth position and after 200 laps around the two-mile Auto Club Speedway, finished the Auto Club 400 in the seventh position.
- With the green-flag waving in Southern California, the Auto Club 400 got underway with Jones quickly moving to the third position in the opening laps. Running solidly in the top five, Jones reported to crew chief Chris Gayle about the handling of the No. 20 Camry and where on the track he needed the SIRIUS XM Camry to be better. As the first stage continued under green-flag conditions, teams started making green-flag pit stops on lap 26. Jones hit pit road on lap 27 for four tires, fuel and a set of adjustments. Once the field cycled through stops, Jones was scored sixth.
- The first caution flag of the race waved on lap 38 for the 4 and 42 making contact on track. Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments to help with the handling of the No. 20 Camry. The race restarted on lap 42 with Jones in the ninth position and he was able to gain one positon before the first stage ended on lap 60. The team made a routine stop and Jones was scored in the seventh position on the lap 66 restart.
- Maintaining his position in the top 10, Jones made a second green-flag pit stop on lap 90 and returned to the seventh position once the field cycled through stops. Reporting that his Camry was still too lose and he needed more grip, Jones was able to bring the No. 20 to the attention of his crew under the lap 106 caution period. Following a routine stop, Jones restarted the race from the sixth position on lap 113. With a seven lap shootout to end the stage, Jones was able to gain one position to end stage two in the fifth position. The team again made a routine pit stop and Jones restarted the race on lap 126 from the seventh position.
- The final caution of the race waved on lap 128 with Jones in the fifth position. With a few teams opting for various pit strategies, Jones restarted the race from the seventh position on lap 132 following a quick trip to pit road.
- Focused on the leaders, Jones made his final stop of the race on lap 162 under green-flag conditions. Once the field cycled through stops, Jones was scored in the sixth position. Continuing to have a strong run, Jones slipped to seventh with less than 15 laps remaining in the race and was able to hold on to the position for his third top-10 finish of the season.
- Martin Truex, Jr. won the race followed by Kyle Larson, Kyle Busch, Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano.
- Teams now head back to the East Coast for the STP 500 at Martinsville Speedway on Sunday, March 25, 2018. Tune to FoxSports 1 for all the race action.
Post-Race Thoughts: Erik Jones:
Take us through your day?
“It was a really consistent day. We fought the handling here on the Sirius XM Camry. We couldn’t quite get it to turn the center and stay with the drive-off all day. Struggled a little bit with that in practice. A good day overall. We had about a seventh-place car and we finished there. So we did a good job of running where we were supposed to and not making any mistakes all day. We have to keep doing that. We need to be a little bit faster and I think we’ll get there. It’s going to take a little bit of time. We’re working hard, but a good finish.”
Can you talk about the racing today?
“A lot of loose cars. I was really loose. I was just hanging on the last 10 laps or so. I don’t know. It was weird. We couldn’t just turn the center without the back being out, which makes for a lot of work from the driver seat. It’s just Auto Club (Speedway). It’s getting worn out, and older and older every year. It seems like that’s more and more the trend. Definitely a challenging day but a lot of fun.”