Erik Jones Finishes 15th at Auto Club Speedway After Losing Fuel-Mileage Gamble

Box Score Info:

RACE:  NASCAR XFINITY Series – TreatMyClot.com 300

TRACK:  Auto Club Speedway

DRIVER:  Erik Jones

CAR:  No. 20 GameStop Nyko Type Pad Toyota Camry

START: 2nd

FINISH: 15th

LAPS:  149/150

 

Post-Race Highlights:

  • For the last race of NASCAR’s West Coast Swing, NASCAR XFINITY Series teams unloaded at Auto Club Speedway for the TreatMyClot.com 300. Erik Jones and the No. 20 GameStop Nyko Type Pad Toyota Camry team secured the second starting position as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three starting spots for the fourth week in a row.
  • Slipping to fourth in the opening laps, Jones quickly radioed the team that his Camry was too tight through the center and exits of the corners. With the first caution waving on lap nine, the team opted to pit for four fresh tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to help with the handling of the GameStop Camry. Losing several spots on pit road, Jones restarted the race on lap 13 from the ninth position.
  • Making moves on the restart, Jones was in fourth place on lap 14 and third by lap 16 behind leader Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson. Following in their tracks, crew chief Chris Gabehart encouraged Jones to watch the leaders to see where he could be better on the track.
  • As the laps continued, so did Jones tight-handling Camry. The team was able to make another round of adjustments under the lap 29 caution. Jones pitted from the third position for four fresh tires, fuel and adjustments. While on pit road, the team also worked on damage sustained to the right rear from contact with the wall. Jones returned to the track in the ninth position.
  • With the green flag back in the air on lap 34, spotter Chris Lambert immediately began navigating Jones through three-wide traffic and by lap 38, Jones returned to the third position.
  • Running lap times comparable to race leader Busch, Jones reported the GameStop Camry was better, but still too tight causing him to lose his momentum exiting the corners.
  • The caution waved again on lap 45, but the team opted to stay out. The race restarted on lap 51 with Jones in the third spot and he quickly moved to second behind leader Busch.
  • Continuing under a long green-flag run, teams were forced to make green-flag stops. Gabehart called Jones to pit road on lap 72 for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments to help with the tight-handling conditions. The field cycled through stops and Jones returned to second behind Busch on lap 78.
  • Maintaining his position in second, Jones continued to battle a tight car and as the leaders encountered traffic, Jones struggled to make passes allowing the 42 car to catch and pass him for second. With encouragement from Gabehart and Lambert to stay focused on the big picture and that the team would take another big swing during the next stop, Jones was able to bring his Camry to the attention of the No. 20 crew during the lap 99 caution from the third spot. As promised, the team made multiple adjustments to the GameStop Camry, added fuel and changed four tires. With an extended stop for changes, Jones restarted the race on lap 104 from seventh.
  • Jones was able to make his way back to second by lap 113 and as the race continued under green, the team began coaching Jones to save fuel.
  • Closing in on the final laps, Jones radioed the team on lap 147 that he was out of fuel and made his way to pit road. The No. 20 GameStop Camry returned to the track to finish the race 15th, one lap down to the leaders.
  • Austin Dillon won the race followed by Busch, Darrell Wallace, Jr., Daniel Suarez and Elliott Sadler.