Box Score Info
RACE: NASCAR XFINITY Series – NASCAR XFINITY Series 300
TRACK: Homestead-Miami Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 GameStop Power A Toyota Camry
LAPS LED: One Time for Three Laps
FINAL POINT STANDINGS: 4th
· Entering the final race of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, Erik Jones had his eyes set on the prize as one of four driver’s eligible for the 2016 XFINTY Series Championship. Jones and his No. 20 GameStop Power A Toyota Camry team secured the third position for the 200 lap race, but fell short at the end of the race and crossed the finish line at Homestead-Miami Speedway in the ninth position.
· With the green-flag in the air on Saturday afternoon, Jones quickly slipped from third to seventh before the first caution waved on lap three. Jones stayed out and restarted the race on lap seven from the seventh position.
· As the race continued, Jones began reporting to Crew Chief Chris Gabehart that his Camry wasn’t driving to his liking and lacked grip. The second caution of the race waved on lap 23, giving the No. 20 team an opportunity to adjust on the GameStop Camry. Jones pitted under the caution for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 32 with Jones seventh.
· Continuing to fight a loose-handling Camry, Jones was able to maintain his position and pitted from seventh on lap 78 for his second stop of the day and first under green-flag conditions. The team changed four tires, added fuel and made another round of adjustments. Once pit stops cycled through the field, Jones was scored ninth.
· Reporting the GameStop Camry was “all over the place,” Jones was able to remain focused and stay in the top 10 before the fourth caution of the race on lap 124. Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and another set of adjustments. With only 15 cars on the lead lap, the team held Jones on pit road to make repairs to a hole on the right side of the nose from contact with a competitor and to make sure the tires were clear of damage on the right-side from contact with the wall. The race restarted on lap 131 with Jones 15th.
· Focused on the leaders, Jones was able to move up to ninth before a multi-car accident on lap 137 brought out the caution and red flag for clean-up. Following the 4 minute, nine second red flag, the race returned to yellow and Gabehart called Jones to pit road for four tires and fuel. With varying pit strategies taking place, Jones restarted the race from the 10th position on lap 143.
· With four fresh tires, Jones was able to move up to fifth on lap 144 and took the lead on lap 157 before the caution waved on lap 158 for debris. Jones again pitted four four tires and fuel. With varying pit strategies again coming in to play, the race restarted on lap 163 with Jones fifth.
· In the closing laps, Jones was able to move up to second and close in on the leader before the final caution waved with 10 laps to go. Jones pitted for fuel and four tires. The race restarted on lap 197 with Jones fourth after teams again opted for varying pit strategies and a competitor stayed out under the caution. Unfortunately, the car in front of Jones did not get going on the restart, stacking up the outside line. Jones lost multiple positions and finished the race ninth.
· Teammate Daniel Suarez won the race and the 2016 NASCAR XFINTY Series Championship. Suarez was followed across the line by Ty Dillon, Elliott Sadler, Ryan Blaney and Austin Dillon.
· Jones finished the season as the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Rookie of the Year and fourth in the final point standings.
Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:
How was your race?
“Yeah. I mean, didn't start out the way we wanted to. Didn't have the car we needed to at the beginning of the day and really through the mid part of the race. Didn't get where we needed to be until about lap 150 or so, and the sun started to go down, track cooled down, and our stuff kind of came around to us. After that, I felt like we had a pretty good car. I don't know if we were quite as good as the 19 (Daniel Suarez) or the 7 (Justin Allgaier), but we were able to get up there and run the wall a little bit better than those guys were and make some time and chase them down. Had a shot before the last caution came out, but didn't have any sticker tires remaining after that. It's a little unfortunate, but it just didn't work out.”
What happened at the end of the race?
“Right there at the end the sun went down and the track cooled down and the car came around a little bit and we were able to run the 19 (Daniel Suarez) down and if the caution didn’t come out, I think we had a pretty good shot at getting around him there. We didn’t have any sticker tires left at the end. I don’t know if it would have worked out or not, the 14 (Cole Whitt) didn’t even attempt to go and sacked the whole top line – wasn’t spinning his tires or nothing. I don’t know what was going on there. Either way, it’s unfortunate. We did a really nice job making our stuff better, getting to where it needed to be to have a shot. It just didn’t work out.”