Recap – Winning the Coke Zero Sugar 400 at Daytona International Speedway
July 9, 2018
Erik Jones Earns First-Career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Win at Daytona International Speedway
Box Score Info:
RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Coke Zero Sugar 400
TRACK: Daytona International Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 BuyAToyota.com Toyota Camry
LAPS LED: One Time for One Lap
POINTS STANDINGS: 13th (448 points, -301 points out of 1st)
- Erik Jones started the No. 20 BuyAToyota.com Toyota in 29th and finished stage one in 23rd. He was caught in a lap 65 accident but managed to avoid major damage and remain in the race a lap down to the leaders. Jones finished stage two in 26th and still a lap down but fought his way back to the lead lap and found himself in fourth as the field lined up for an overtime restart. Jones managed to drive his way into second and appeared positioned well for a final run to the checkered flag before another big wreck created yet another restart. Jones would use the outside line to move to the front and held on through a thrilling final lap to win his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory.
- Starting the race from 29th, Jones settled in and stayed cautious throughout stage one. When the stage ended on lap 40, Jones and the No. 20 team were scored 23rd. Opting to pit under the caution, Jones missed his pit box and had to back up on pit road and get in to the pit box before the 20 team could service his Camry. Changing four tires, adding fuel and making a round of adjustments, Jones restarted the race on lap 46 from the 31st position.
- Making his way back in to the top 20, the caution was displayed on lap 53 for a multi-car accident involving 20 cars. Maneuvering his way through the wreck, Jones was able to make a routine stop and restart the race on lap 62 from the sixth position. The caution waved several laps late for a multi-car accident where Jones and the 20 team received right-side damage when a competitor spun and caught Jones as he was passing. Making multiple stops under the caution, Jones lost one lap and was forced to restart the race on lap 69 in the 26th position. Stage two ended on lap 80 with the No. 20 team scored 26th, one lap down.
- Jones restarted the race on lap 86 from the 26th position and as the stage continued under a long green-flag run, teams started to make green-flag pit stops on lap 120. Jones pitted for right-side tires and fuel. Shortly after completing green-flag stops, the caution was displayed on lap 124 for a multi-car accident. Under the caution, Jones was able to get the ‘lucky dog’ and returned to the lead lap of competition. Jones pitted for left-side tires and fuel under the caution and restarted the race on lap 128 from the 18th position. Making his way through the field with spotter Rick Carelli coaching him on every lap, Jones returned to the top 10 and cracked the top five on lap 155 before the caution waved for a multi-car accident. Heading in to overtime, Jones restarted the race on lap 161 from fourth, but the caution waved again before the field took the white flag. NASCAR restacked the field and restarted the race on lap 166 with Jones second to Toyota teammate Martin Truex Jr. Battling side-by-side with Truex Jr., Jones was able to clear the 78 and stay out front to earn his first-career MENCS win in just his 57th-career start in the series.
- Truex Jr. followed Jones across the finish line with AJ Allmendinger, Kasey Kahne and Chris Buescher rounding out the top five.
- Next up for the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, teams head to Kentucky Speedway on July 14, 2018.
Post-Race Thoughts: Erik Jones:
Erik, how do you feel buddy?
“Oh, boy. How about that race, boys and girls? That was something else. I thought that we were out of it and we were right back in it. Took the lead and ran away. Wow, what an awesome race. To have buyatoyota.com on here and my first win at Daytona. My first superspeedway win. What an awesome day. I am out of breath. Too much smoke in the car from that burnout. I can barely breathe. What an awesome finish.”
What do you want to say to the fans?
“Thank you. Thank you, so much. A lot of hard work to be here. I was thinking about my mom and dad after the checkered. My mom stayed home from this one. She missed my first Cup Series win. So, hi, mom. My dad would have been so proud of the work we did to get here. It’s just an awesome day for us.”
You’re locked into the Playoffs with this win, how does it feel to get your first at Daytona?
“What a day. I didn’t think we were going to have a shot to win this one about halfway. Got ourselves back into contention and our guys did a great job getting this thing fixed up and getting the buyatoyota.com into Victory Lane. I’ve never been that good on superspeedways and never thought this was our shot to win. But to get here tonight, that’s pretty awesome. It’s our first win and not much that has felt better than this one.”