Recap – 2019 Gander Outdoors 400 at Pocono Raceway
July 29, 2019
Runner-Up Finish for Erik Jones and Reser’s Team at Pocono Raceway
Box Score Info:
Date: July 28, 2019
Event: Gander RV 400 (Race 21 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Track: Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile Triangle)
Format: 160 Laps (Stages: 50 laps / 100 laps / 160 laps)
Start/Finish: 4th/2nd (Completed 163 of 163 laps)
Point Standings: 13th (559 points, 265 points out of 1st)
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 2 Winner: Jimmie Johnson
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-50)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 Reser’s Toyota Camry team started the Gander RV 400 at Pocono Raceway from the fourth position and ended stage one seventh.
- In the opening laps of the 160-lap event, Jones moved as high as third before settling in to the fifth position. Jones made his first scheduled stop of the race on lap 21 under green-flag conditions for right-side tires, fuel and adjustments to help with tight-handling conditions. The No. 20 Camry was scored 27th when the team returned to the track.
- As the field cycled through pit stops, Jones moved in to the top 10 on lap 40 and advanced to seventh before the caution waved on lap 50 to end stage one. Still struggling with tight conditions, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and a major adjustment.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 51-100)
- Jones started stage two from 18th and ended the stage in seventh.
- With teams on varying pit strategies, Jones restarted the race from 18th on lap 55.
- Making his way through the field, Jones moved back in to the top 10 on lap 65 and reported to crew chief Chris Gayle that he was still too tight, mostly in turn three.
- The caution waved on lap 83 for a single-car incident with Jones running fifth. The team called Jones back to pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 87 with the Reser’s Camry in 12th.
- One lap after the restart, Jones was scored sixth and when the caution waved on lap 91 for rain, the No. 20 team was fifth. NASCAR continued to run laps under caution during the brief rain shower and restarted the race on lap 95.
- The caution waved two more times before the end of the stage on lap 100. Jones slipped to seventh in the closing laps and opted to stay out under the caution.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 101-160)
- Jones started the final stage from sixth and finished the race in second.
- The final stage of the Gander RV 400 started on lap 103 with Jones in the sixth position.
- Quickly moving in to fourth, Jones remained in the position until the caution waved on lap 114. Gayle called Jones to pit road for his final stop of the race for right-side tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. With a fast stop on pit road, Jones restarted the race on lap 118 from second.
- With the crew stressing to save fuel, Jones remained in second and was able to take over the lead when leader Kyle Busch pitted on lap 134. Leading teammates Denny Hamlin and Martin Truex, Jr., Jones remained in the lead for 10 laps before eventual winner Hamlin took over the lead. Saving fuel as the laps clicked off, Jones slipped to fourth late in the race.
- Two late-race cautions gave the team the opportunity to save fuel and bunched the field up in the closing laps. With two strong restarts, Jones was able to move in to the second position where he crossed the finish line following a green-white checker overtime finish.
- Jones led one time for 10 laps.
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Hamlin won the race with Truex, Jr. finishing third and Busch finishing ninth.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Reser’s Main St. Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 2nd
That looked like a lot of fun out there.
“It was. It was hard racing there in the end. The right restarts make for exciting finishes. Today was no exception. Wish we could have gotten up there and challenged Denny (Hamlin). Martin (Truex Jr.) gave us a great push on the final restart. The bottom just doesn’t have what the top does here on restarts, so we did all we could. The Reser’s Camry overcame a lot. We were pretty far off at the start of the race. We got it way better and had a chance to win had things worked out a little differently. We are close every week. So, it’s going to turn our way one of these times.
Erik, you led some laps, finished in the runner‑up spot today. How tough was that challenge of leading and fighting for the lead while conserving fuel?
“It’s always a challenge. Probably my least part of racing at times is just having to save fuel. Our opportunity to win when we were going green was to make it to the end. It would have been really tight. Those guys kind of gave up saving there. We were hoping it was going to stay green. Had a couple good opportunities on the restarts. The Reser’s Camry was there all day, second half of the day, we had problems at the start. Man, it’s a bummer. We’re close every week. Third, third, second. We’re right there. We’re doing great building points, but it would be great to knock a win out. We’re just so close, it stings a little bit more when you get close to it.”
What is clicking for this team so well right now?
“It’s a little bit of everything. Honestly, we started the race so far off today, I wasn’t sure how we were going to run. We were able to turn it around halfway, get back in contention. There at the end I wasn’t sure how it was all going to play out. It was nice to get some good restarts. Martin (Truex Jr.) gave me a great push at the end. We were there for second, then the top got rolling. I couldn’t really do anything. Good to get another top-three run. We just got to break through. Once we get that first one, I think we can click a few off here.”
Next Race: Teams now turn to the second road course of the season, Watkins Glen International, on Sunday, August 4, 2019 for the Go Bowling at The Glen. The race is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.