Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR XFINITY Series – Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300
TRACK: Bristol Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 GameStop Performance Designed Products (PDP) Afterglow Toyota Camry
START: 1st (Heat 1); 1st (Main)
LAPS: 50/50 (Heat 1); 200/200 (Main)
LAPS LED: One Time for 50 Laps (Heat 1); Three Times for 62 Laps (Main)
- For the seventh race of the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series season, teams unloaded at the high-banked Bristol Motor Speedway for the first of four races in the ‘Dash 4 Cash’ program, introducing a new racing format. For the ‘Dash 4 Cash’ races, teams qualify, race in one of two Heat races and compete in the Main event. The initial qualifying session sets the field for the two Heat races and the Heat races set the field for the Main event. At Bristol, teams competed in one 50-lap Heat race followed by a 200-lap Main event.
- With the day underway for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300, Erik Jones and the No. 20 GameStop PDP Afterglow Toyota Camry team earned the pole starting position, securing the pole for Heat One.
- Starting on the high-side in Heat One, Jones took the lead on the initial start and with a caution-free Heat race, led all 50 laps. The win in Heat One secured Jones and the team the pole for the Main event.
- Following Heat Two and a break for teams to make adjustments to their cars, the 40-car field lined up for the 200-lap Main event.
- With the Main event under way at the Tennessee track, Jones led the first 40 laps before the first caution of the race waved on lap 40 for a spin. Having reported to the team that his Camry needed a little help with handling, crew chief Chris Gabehart called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 47 with Jones in the lead.
- Prepared to run the remainder of the race without pitting again, Gabehart reminded Jones to take care of his Camry and be smart to make it to the end. As the leaders closed in on lapped traffic, Jones lost the lead and slipped to third behind Kyle Larson and Kyle Busch after being caught behind lapped cars.
- Closing in on the halfway point, Gabehart and spotter Chris Lambert guided Jones through traffic and reminded him to stay focused on the race and the leaders. Reporting that his Camry was not handling well in traffic, Jones remained in third behind Larson and Busch.
- The second caution flag of the race waved on lap 125. Jones pitted from third for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. With a solid stop, Jones restarted the race in third on the inside line. Stuck in the bottom lane, Jones lost several positions before settling in to fifth.
- Working his way through traffic and running lap times comparable to the leaders, Jones was able to move up to fourth before the final caution waved on lap 187. The team opted to stay out and restart the race fourth.
- Restarting the race on the high side with three laps to go, Jones was able to move up to second on the restart and battle with Larson for the lead. Jones was able to clear Larson for the lead, leading the final two laps to earn his first win of the season.
- Jones was followed across the finish line by Busch, Larson, Austin Dillon and Justin Allgaier.
- With his win, Jones also secured a spot in the 2016 NASCAR XFINITY Series Chase, and won the ‘Dash 4 Cash’ $100,000 bonus.
- The XFINITY Series returns to action next Saturday, April 23, at Richmond International Raceway for the ToyotaCare 250. The race can be viewed live on Fox Sports 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:
How were you able to get to the lead in the closing laps after the restart?
“I don’t know, we had a really good restart there. The 18 (Kyle Busch) hadn’t been getting going. I lost my voice because I’ve been screaming so much on the cooldown lap. We got a really good restart and Kyle just left the top open and we went up there and he worked pretty hard to keep us behind him. We just kept digging and it worked out. Just an awesome feeling. I never thought we’d get our first win here at Bristol this year. Couldn’t be happier to get this GameStop Camry to victory lane and cool to do it with After Glow and everybody. Thank you to Chris Gabehart (crew chief) and this whole team, it’s a really young team, but we’re getting better every week and it’s cool to see it pay off here in victory lane.”
What does it mean to beat Kyle Busch and Kyle Larson here at Bristol?
“I figured at some point in the year we could get a win when those guys weren’t in the field, but it would be a tall task with them in the field. Here at Bristol for those two guys, this is one of their best tracks. I’m just so excited and you can tell, I’m out of breath. I wasn’t working that hard. Just so excited about the win and to be here in victory lane and beat those guys. This is a really big day for us.”
How does it feel to win at Bristol Motor Speedway?
“That’s pretty exciting. I’m on a list here with a lot of great guys and just proud to be a part of it and proud to be a part of this team. Couldn’t be happier to be here in victory lane. It’s a solid all around effort by these guys – from Chris Gabehart (crew chief) to the whole crew in getting this thing here. Chris said on the radio that we’re a young team, but we’re growing every week and it shows every time we hit the race track. That’s perseverance right there, that’s not giving up. I didn’t think we had a shot with 20 (laps) to go, but the caution came out, lined us back up and we just made it happen. It’s an exciting day for us and it’s cool to get GameStop back to victory lane again and really pumped up about the rest of the year.”
Did you have a strategy on the final restart?
“I knew the 18 (Kyle Busch) hadn’t been getting good restarts on the bottom. He hadn’t earlier in the day and he didn’t get a good one and we got a really good restart and we were right with the 42 (Kyle Larson). I cleared the 18 before (turn) one and tried to get to the bottom and couldn’t get him. The 42 just really left the top open where I’d been running before the yellow came out. I figured that was our only chance, we could go up there and see if it holds and I went up there and it stuck. We got the lead and he tried hard to keep me behind him, but it wasn’t enough and just pretty exciting feeling coming through three and four knowing that we were coming to the checkers and looking in the mirror and seeing the 18 and 42 back there.”
What does it mean to also capture the $100,000 ‘Dash4Cash’ bonus?
“That was the last thing I think I was thinking about crossing the line, but a nice little added bonus for us here today. Couldn’t be prouder of these guys.