Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR XFINITY Series – O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge
TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 GameStop Call of Duty Black Ops III Toyota Camry
- Strapping in for his second of three races of the weekend at Texas Motor Speedway, Erik Jones rolled off the starting grid for the O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge in the third position for 200 laps around the 1.5-mile track in his No. 20 GameStop Call of Duty Black Ops III Toyota Camry. With qualifying canceled due to track drying efforts, the field was set by the rulebook and a competition caution was scheduled for lap 25.
- Losing a few spots on the start, Jones settled in to the fifth position and quickly radioed crew chief Mike Wheeler that his Camry was really tight in the center and on the exit of the turns. With the field slowing for the first time on lap 25 for the scheduled competition caution, Wheeler called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help with the handling of the Black Ops III Camry. The race restarted on lap 31 with Jones in the sixth position and immediately after the green-flag waved, Jones found himself in the middle of a three-wide battle dropping to seventh when things settled on track.
- Making his way back to fourth on lap 38, Jones slipped to sixth while battling the handling of his Toyota Camry and was scored in the sixth position when the caution flag waved again on lap 77. After a solid stop of four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments, the No. 20 Black Ops III Toyota Camry slightly stalled exiting the pit stall. The race returned to green on lap 83 with Jones in the sixth position.
- Gaining several positions, Jones moved up to fourth by lap 88 and remained in that position until the third caution on lap 114. Still reporting that his Camry was too tight, Wheeler brought Jones back to pit road for another routine pit stop. Following a solid stop by the No. 20 crew, Jones restarted the race on lap 121 in the third position.
- Continuing to run in the top five, Jones reported that the previous changes helped the handling of the No. 20 Black Ops III Camry, but that he still needed a little more help with the handling.
- With 50 laps to go and with track conditions changing as the sun began to set, Jones maintained his position in the top five before making a green-flag stop on lap 164 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. As the field cycled through stops, Jones returned to the top five but reported that his Camry was tighter than it was before the green-flag stop.
- When the final caution of the race waved on lap 176, Jones reported that his Camry had come around and he just needed a small adjustment. Wheeler brought the No. 20 Camry to pit road for four tires, fuel and a final round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 184 with Jones in the fourth position.
- Battling the leaders over the closing laps, Jones crossed the finish line in the fourth position.
- Brad Keselowski won the race followed by Kevin Harvick, Austin Dillon, Jones and Ty Dillon.
Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:
“It was a good day, we just never quite broke into that top-three segment. That last restart we were kind of there, but maybe if we could have got the lead we could have done something. Just never really had that speed. Other than that, the GameStop Camry was good, just weren’t quite there. For tomorrow, I think it will help. Anytime you’re on the track and learning, especially today – this race is going to start and end around the same conditions with the longer race. It helped me a lot just learning what the track did when it got dark here and got shaded up and gripped up and also with some cycles on tires since we’re running the same tire. It should be helpful to take some of that tomorrow to Jason (Ratcliff, 20 NSCS crew chief) and see if we can do something.”