LOUDON, N.H. (July 16, 2017) – A cut tire and heavy contact with the outside wall ended the day early for Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota Camry in the Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Jones made contact with two other cars on pit road after stopping for service during the competition caution which slowed the field after Lap 35 of the 301-lap race on the flat 1-mile oval. The damage appeared to be minimal but Jones didn’t make a full lap once the field went back to green on Lap 41. The 5-hour ENERGY Camry made heavy contact in Turn 3 and was unable to continue.
“I guess we cut a left front or a right front – I’m not sure,” said Jones. “Just made a little contact on pit road, but didn’t have any marks on the tires. We thought it’d be fine but obviously not because we didn’t even make it a lap.
“I think we were just kind of sandwiched in there when I came out and the 11 (Denny Hamlin) was on my door and the 5 (Kasey Kahne) came out and was on my door too. It’s just really unfortunate. The 5-hour ENERGY Camry was a top-10 car for sure, so just got to keep working at it. We’ve had some really bad luck this year and this is another one of those days, so hopefully we can turn it around.”
The 39th-place finish dropped Jones three positions, to 17th, in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 19 races. He is one point behind Ryan Newman for 16th and 14 points behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for 15th.
Denny Hamlin won the race. The balance of the top-10 finishers were: Kyle Larson, Martin Truex Jr., Matt Kenseth, Kevin Harvick, Daniel Suarez, Clint Bowyer, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Jimmie Johnson.
The race had eleven lead changes among six drivers and there were seven cautions for 34 laps.
The next race is the July 23 Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.