Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR XFINITY Series – Virginia 529 College Savings 250
TRACK: Richmond International Raceway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 GameStop Lego Dimensions Toyota Camry
- For the 25th race of the 2015 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, Erik Jones rolled off seventh for the Virginia 529 College Savings 250 in the No. 20 GameStop Lego Dimensions Toyota Camry.
- With the race underway for 250 laps, the first caution flag of the race was waved on the opening lap for a multi-car accident. Restacking the field for the restart, Jones again took the green flag from the seventh spot.
- As spotter Chris Lambert coached Jones to find his rhythm on the track, Jones battled the 88 for sixth position on lap 12 before settling back in to seventh.
- The second caution of the race came on lap 17. Jones radioed the team from the eighth position that his Camry was droving good, but just couldn’t go anywhere on the track. The team opted to leave Jones on the track and he restarted the race from the eighth position on lap 24.
- Closing in on the scheduled competition caution on lap 50, the race was slowed on lap 43 for a single car incident. Close to the scheduled caution, NASCAR decided to use this caution as the competition caution. Struggling with the handling of the No. 20 Camry, Jones relayed to the team that he was lacking grip, way too loose getting in to the corners, through the center and off the corners. Crew chief Mike Wheeler made the call for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. A fast stop by the GameStop crew was slowed after the 20 car was boxed in to the pits, losing valuable track positions. When the race restarted on lap 53, Jones was scored 15th.
- Picking off one competitor at a time, Jones moved in to the top 10 on lap 82 before dropping to 11th when the caution was displayed on lap 134. Continuing to struggle with the handling of the No. 20 GameStop Lego Dimensions Camry, Jones again hit pit road for fresh tires, fuel and another set of adjustments. Maintaining his position on pit road, Jones exited pit road sixth, but with one competitor staying out under the caution, the No. 20 team took the green flag from the seventh position on the lap 168 restart.
- After 10 green-flag laps, Jones again reported to the team that his Camry wasn’t handling to his liking. Dropping to eighth, the final caution flag of the race was displayed on lap 215. The team called Jones to pit road for his final stop, changing four tires, adding fuel and making adjustments to help with the handling of the GameStop Camry. Gaining two spots on pit road, Jones restarted the race on lap 225 from the sixth position.
- With a great restart, Jones gained three spots to take over third on lap 226. Battling for his spot in the top five, Jones was able to hold off a hard charging Regan Smith in the closing laps to cross the finish line in the fifth position when the checkered flag waved on lap 250.
- Chase Elliott won the race followed by Kyle Busch, Brian Scott, Joey Logano and Jones.
Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:
How was the race tonight? “It just wasn’t really our night. We missed it pretty bad it seemed like from the start for whatever reason. Worked hard all night to get this GameStop/Lego Dimensions Camry better, it just never really did much and never really responded to much. We kind of struggled as a group today – all in all JGR (Joe Gibbs Racing) did. We’ll keep working on it, get a little bit better and figure out what we need to do better for next time.”
What happened on the final restart? “We lined up in a good spot there in sixth and got a good restart and ended up running third right after that and stayed with Kyle (Busch) and Chase (Elliott) for a minute and then they took off and we had to kind of fend off for a top-five at that point. Pretty proud of being able to run top-five with the way the day went and just being able to stick with it all.”
What did you battle with the setup on the car? “When we started out it just wasn’t really in the race track well and wasn’t doing a whole lot right. It just seemed like it was just too tight in the center and just no drive off. We got it better throughout the day of getting drive, but we just weren’t really able to improve our center turn. That kind of put us back behind the eight ball. We just missed it a little bit and that’s going to happen. We’ll get a little better for next time and see what we can do.”