Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR XFINITY Series – O’Reilly Auto Parts 300
TRACK: Texas Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 GameStop Turtle Beach Toyota Camry
LAPS LED: Two Times for 12 Laps
- Following two off weekends for the NASCAR XFINITY Series (NXS), Erik Jones returned to the Lone Star State as the defending race winner of the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 at Texas Motor Speedway. The No. 20 GameStop Turtle Beach Toyota Camry team secured the second starting position for the 300-mile race as Joe Gibbs Racing swept the top three starting positions for the fifth straight week. Throughout the 200-lap event, Jones led the race two times for 12 laps before finishing the O’Reilly Auto Parts 300 in the second position with teammate Kyle Busch earning his fourth win of the season.
- With the race under way under the lights at Texas Motor Speedway, Jones was able to lead lap five before settling in behind Busch in the early laps of the race. Reporting to the team his Camry was too tight, crew chief Chris Gabehart and spotter Chris Lambert coached Jones around the track, reminding him to stay focused and to run his own race. As the laps continued, the No. 20 GameStop Camry began to come around allowing Jones to run lap times similar to leader Busch.
- With Busch leading the field by eight seconds, the race was slowed for the second time of the night on lap 43 for an on track incident. The team called Jones to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to help with the handling. The race restarted on lap 49 with Jones in second.
- By lap 60, Jones reported his Camry was much better during the run and began closing in on leader Busch. Jones passed the No. 18 Camry for the lead on lap 70.
- The third caution of the race waved on lap 77 when teammate Daniel Suarez spun. Jones pitted from the lead for four tires and fuel. Unfortunately, NASCAR penalized the team for the crew being over the wall too soon and Jones was forced to drop to the tail end of the longest line. Before going back to green, Gabehart called Jones to pit road to top off with fuel. The race restarted on lap 82 with the GameStop team scored 18th.
- Determined to make his way back to the front and with Lambert guiding him through the field, Jones moved in to 15th on lap 87. The team was running 11th when the caution waved on lap 98 for debris. Under the caution, Jones made his way to pit road for another routine stop of four fresh tires and fuel. With a solid stop, the No. 20 team gained three positions on pit road to move Jones up to eighth on the lap 104 restart.
- Jones reentered the top five on lap 105, took over fourth on lap 115 and third on lap 126.
- Continuing to run third behind Busch and Kyle Larson, Jones made his final stop of the race under the lap 148 caution. The team called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. With another solid stop, Jones maintained his position for the lap 151 restart. Lining up directly behind Busch on the restart, Jones was able to push Busch and the two teammates easily began pulling away from the field.
- With a strong GameStop Camry, Jones was able to hold his own against veteran Busch, but as the race closed in on the final laps and the handling of his Camry returned to being too tight, Jones settled in to second where he remained when he crossed the finish line.
- Busch won the race followed by Jones, Brad Keselowski, Chase Elliott and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.
- With his second-place finish, Jones was the top-finishing Sunoco Rookie of the Year Contender for the race and moved up to fifth in the NASCAR XFINITY Series point standings, now only 15 points behind leader Suarez.
- The XFINITY Series returns to action next Saturday, April 16, at Bristol Motor Speedway for the Fitzgerald Glider Kits 300. The race can be viewed live on Fox Sports 1 at 12:30 p.m. ET.
Erik Jones’ Post-Race Thoughts:
How was your race? “It was a good run for us overall and a solid day for our No. 20 GameStop Turtle Beach Toyota Camry. Obviously we didn’t have enough at the end. Some of that was from having to come back through the field and being able to keep up with the race track. That penalty wasn’t the reason we ran second by any means. We just need to do a little bit better job adjusting late in the race. We were able to get around him (Kyle Busch) on our second or third run and then got the penalty. A really good car overall. We made a nice adjustment there. I didn’t think we were going to be anywhere close and got it where it needed to be. Second isn’t where we want to be, we want to be able to beat the 18 (Kyle Busch) one of these days. We’re definitely the closest we have been."