Date: March 5, 2016
Event: Boyd Gaming 300 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup Series
Location: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile oval)
Start/Finish: 2nd/3rd (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Points: 7th with 86 points, 20 points out of first
Winner: Kyle Busch of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)
• Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR), finished third in Saturday’s NASCAR Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway.
• Jones qualified second behind teammate Kyle Busch and settled into the runner-up spot during the first 47-lap run of the race.
• The Interstate Batteries driver came down for his first pit stop of the race on lap 47. However, as he entered pit lane, Jones was posted for going too fast on pit road, necessitating another trip down pit road to serve the drive-through penalty. To add insult to injury, Jones was again penalized for speeding on pit road while serving the original penalty. That meant Jones had to come back down pit road for a stop and go penalty. By the time he returned to the track he was 21st, two laps down to the leaders.
• However, the penalty didn’t deter Jones and the Interstate Batteries team. When the caution waved on lap 69, Jones was able to stay out as the leaders pitted and take the wave-around, putting him back just one lap down. The next mission was to get into the lucky dog position as the first car one lap down. Jones made quick work following the lap 78 restart and was in the lucky dog position the following lap.
• The Michigan native was in the lucky dog position for the next 60 laps as the race went on another long green flag run. But when the caution waved for an accident on lap 137, Jones was in the lucky dog position as the first car one lap down and was able to get back on the lead lap.
• He restarted 12th on lap 142 where he didn’t waste any time moving his way up through the field. He was fifth by lap 155 and third by lap 164. Still, the race went on another long green flag run – 58 laps this time – as JGR teammates Busch and Daniel Suarez were too far ahead for Jones to catch them without a caution to bunch up the field before the end of the 200-lap race.
• Still, Jones and his team made another impressive comeback from two laps down to bring home his second top-three finish of the season. To add to the strong comeback from the Interstate Batteries team, all three Team Interstate drivers finished 1-2-3 as the JGR contingent dominated the 300-mile race with Busch winning the race and Suarez finishing in the runner-up spot.
Jones Discusses the Boyd Gaming 300 at Las Vegas Motor Speedway:
How were you able to come back from the penalties and finish third?
“Overall we fought back again and made another solid day out of it and another top-three finish. The one thing is we have really good race cars and that’s shown the last two weeks with how we’ve run the last two with Kyle (Busch) winning and us being up there and having a shot. I just wish we could have been in contention. I felt like our Interstate Batteries Camry was good enough to run with Kyle at times and would have really loved the shot at having him straight up I guess you could say. We’ll go on to next week and try again. Just have to thank everyone at Interstate Batteries. This is the 25th year together with JGR and I was hoping we could start off their anniversary season with a trip to victory lane.”
What happened with the pit road speeding penalty you experienced?
“We didn’t fully figure it out. The assumption is there was a mistake made when we were calibrating the lights. You have that five mile per hour buffer on pit road, when I ran our sets of lights that we were supposed to run, we sped. I went down to the next set of lights and still sped and then at that point I was running the lights that are supposed to be pit road speed – 45 miles per hour – and that was safe. I am guessing we just miss-calibrated something along the way and will have to look into it. Not exactly sure what it is. We’ll find out during the week and fix the mistake.”
The following are the race results of Jones’s Team Interstate teammates in Saturday’s Boyd Gaming 300:
• Kyle Busch, driver of the No. 18 NOS Energy Drink Toyota, finished 1st.
• Daniel Suarez, driver of the No. 19 ARRIS Toyota, finished 2nd.
The next event on the XFINITY Series schedule is the March 12 Axalta Faster Tougher Brighter 300 at Phoenix International Raceway. The race starts at 2:30 p.m. EDT with live coverage provided by FOX.