Erik Jones Finishes 10th at Phoenix International Raceway; Advances to ‘Championship 4’ at Homestead-Miami Speedway

Box Score Info

RACE:  NASCAR XFINITY Series – Ticket Galaxy 200 

TRACK:  Phoenix International Raceway

DRIVER:  Erik Jones  

CAR:  No. 20 Hisense USA Toyota Camry 

START: 2nd

FINISH: 10th

LAPS: 200/200

LAPS LED: One Time for Three Laps 

CHASE STANDINGS: 3rd; Points reset for the finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway

 

Post-Race Highlights:

·        For the second race of the season at Phoenix International Raceway and the final race in the ‘Round of 8’ to determine the ‘Championship 4,’ Erik Jones and the No. 20 Hisense USA Toyota Camry team scored the second starting position for the Ticket Galaxy 200 behind teammate and eventual winner Kyle Busch.

·        With the wave of the green-flag, Jones was able to quickly take the lead and led the first three laps before settling in to second behind Busch. Reporting that his Camry was way too loose during the early part of the race, the Hisense USA team called Jones to pit road under the lap 49 caution for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to help with the handling of his Camry. Jones restarted the race on lap 54 from the third position. Immediately after the restart, the caution waved again. The team opted to leave Jones on track and he restarted the race from fourth on lap 63.

·        Quickly moving back in to second behind Busch, Jones continued to report that his Camry was still too loose. As teams closed in on the halfway mark, the caution waved on lap 92. Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. Unfortunately, Jones overshot the pit box and a miscue from the team extended the stop dropping the No. 20 Hisense USA team to 17th on the lap 99 restart.

·        Focused on passing one car at a time, Jones was scored in the 14th position when the caution waved on lap 104. Crew Chief Chris Gabehart called Jones to pit road for fuel only and he restarted the race on lap 112 from 19th.

·        Again focused on getting back to the lead, Jones moved up to 12th before the caution waved on lap 137. Making his final stop of the race, Jones hit pit road for fuel and right-side tires. The race restarted on lap 147 with Jones eighth, but a multi-car wreck on lap 148 put the race under caution and a red-flag. After a 10 minute, 34 second red flag, the race restarted on lap 153 with the No. 20 Hisense USA team seventh.

·        In the final laps, Jones slipped to 10th before the checked flag waved on lap 200. 

·        Busch won the race followed by Austin Dillon, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., Justin Allgaier and Daniel Suarez.

·        With his 10th-place finish, Jones advances to the ‘Championship 4’ at Homestead-Miami Speedway. Jones joins teammate Suarez and JR Motorsports Elliott Sadler and Allgaier as the final four drivers still eligible for the 2016 XFINITY Series Championship. 

·        The NASCAR XFINITY Series now heads to Homestead-Miami Speedway for the season finale on Saturday, November 19. The race can be viewed on NBCSN at 3:30 p.m. ET.

 

Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:

How was your race tonight?

“It’s not what we were looking for tonight. A mistake on my end kind of put us behind the eight ball all day really and just kind of had to dig out of that hole. Unfortunate, we had a good car I thought – a better car than 10th for sure. We just got trapped back there in traffic and it’s hard to race here in traffic, so just unfortunate we didn’t have a better night, but it’s fortunate that we made it to Homestead and we have a shot to go win a championship.”

 

How do you feel about Homestead?

“I like Homestead. It’s nice. I have one race under my belt there in a XFINITY car there last year and I’ll take that hopefully into this race, so we’ll see how it all plays out, but it’s definitely a tough race. It’s a tough track running right up against the wall all night. We’ll see how it all plays out.”

 

What does it mean to you to make the ‘Championship 4’?

“Well, it’s pretty special for me having a shot to go Homestead again this year and win a championship in the XFINITY Series. It would be pretty cool to win back-to-back championships in the Truck and the XFINITY Series, so it’s pretty awesome. Not a perfect night by any means, but a night good enough to get us to Homestead and just have to get everything right and execute like we need to in Homestead and I’m sure we’ll have a good shot at it.”