Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR XFNITY Series – DRIVE4CLOTS.com 300
TRACK: Auto Club Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 GameStop NYKO Toyota Camry
LAPS LED: Two Times for 4 Laps
OWNER POINTS POSITION: 9th (47 points out of 1st)
- The NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS) embarked on week five of the 2015 season at Auto Club Speedway for the DRIVE4CLOTS.com 300 race on Saturday afternoon. Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 GameStop NYKO Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), made his first-career start at the 2.0-mile California track and managed to claim his first-career NXS pole award following the three-round qualifying event.
- Leading the NXS field to the green flag, Jones maintained the lead for the first few laps around the D-shaped oval before settling into third place. Jones told crew chief Mike Wheeler, “My center is pretty tight through the exit of (turns) 1 and 2, but it seems like everyone is dealing with it,” said Jones, “but I’m really solid through 3 and 4.” Under the first caution, the JGR crew made a slight air-pressure adjustment to the No. 20 Camry and after about 10 laps, Jones reported that his issues through turns 1 and 2 were completely fixed.
- Jones maintained his top-five position with ease until his machine began to tighten up again, this time through turns 3 and 4. “I’m getting a little snug, but it’s nothing like it was before. Give me more of what you gave me on the last stop,” Jones told Wheeler. Following a solid green-flag pit stop, Jones jumped back up to the second position with just 50 laps remaining. Trailing behind the race leader Kevin Harvick, Jones said, “There’s nothing I can do. He’s just really fast.” In the final 20 laps, the battle at the front heated up, causing Jones to drop back to third when the checkered flag waved.
- Saturday’s XFINITY Series race recorded an average speed of 147.723 mph and saw 13 lead changes across eight drivers, including Jones who led two times for four laps total. There were three caution periods over 12 laps of the 300-mile event.
- Although the NASCAR XFINITY Series will take a two-week hiatus from the race track, Jones will be back behind the seat of the No. 4 Kyle Busch Motorsports Toyota Tundra for the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race at Martinsville Speedway next weekend. The NASCAR XFINITY Series will return to the track on Friday, April 10, for the O’Reilly Auto Parts 350 at Texas Motor Speedway, live on Fox Sports1 at 8:30pm EST.
Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:
"We had a good car all weekend. The 88 (Kevin Harvick) and the 22 (Brad Keselowski) have both been so fast. Running third though, that's great. We improved from last week and just keep moving with our Toyota Camry. We’re really close. We just fought being tight all day and I couldn't seem to get it to do exactly what I wanted. I wish we could get that last little piece to get that speed that the guys that are winning races have. Getting the pole award today felt great though. We had a fast GameStop Camry, but it's hard to run third when it’s all said and done. We want to win and we're trying to get there. I’m really looking forward to the next two weeks and getting back after and trying again."