Box Score Info:
RACE: NASCAR XFINITY Series – Zippo 200
TRACK: Watkins Glen International
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 Hisense Toyota Camry
OWNER’S POINT STANDINGS: 3rd
· The No. 20 Hisense Toyota team headed to Watkins Glen International for the first of three road course races on the 2017 NASCAR XFINITY Series schedule. Erik Jones had a fast Toyota Camry off the truck on Friday afternoon and was able to qualify the No. 20 Hisense machine sixth for Saturday’s Zippo 200. The Byron, MI., native ran most of the 82 laps in the top-five and crossed the finish line eighth in only his second-career NASCAR XFINITY Series start at the New York road course.
· With the wave of the green flag and the Zippo 200 officially underway, Jones focused on finding a rhythm and looking to advance his position on the 2.45-mile track. Jones patiently maneuvered his No. 20 Hisense Camry around the New York road course and was listed fifth on lap nine. Jones worked himself up to fourth before the caution flag flew to end Stage one on lap 20.
· Crew chief Chris Gabehart made the call to bring Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a chassis adjustment to help with the loose-handling conditions on the Hisense Camry. However, because of various pit road strategies Jones took the Stage two restart from 15th, but quickly worked his way to seventh by lap 25. The 21-year-old driver was listed fourth when a caution flag flew on lap 35 for oil on the racing surface. Gabehart opted not to pit during this caution period. The field went back to green-flag racing with only two laps remaining in Stage two. Unfortunately, Jones got squeezed out of line on the restart and crossed the finish line ninth to signal the end of Stage two on lap 40.
· Jones, along with several other drivers, did not pit under the Stage two caution period. Jones restarted ninth on lap 43. Jones made quick work of several competitors on the restart and was listed sixth just one lap later. As green-flag pit stops began on lap 49, Jones saw himself running second before Gabehart summoned his driver to pit road on lap 52. The Hisense over-the-wall crew changed four tires, added fuel and made another slight chassis adjustment to help with the handling on Jones’ Toyota Camry.
· After green-flag pit stops cycled through the field, Jones was listed fifth with just over 20 laps remaining in the race. As the laps continued to tick off, Jones passed Paul Menard for fourth and looked to be in position to score his first top-five finish on a road course. Unfortunately, a caution flag flew with just six laps remaining in the race. Gabehart immediately told his driver to save fuel and opted to keep Jones on the race track.
· The restart was a three lap dash to the end with Jones restarting fourth. However, Jones got shuffled back on the restart and crossed the finish line eighth.
· Jones’ JGR teammate Kyle Busch won the Zippo 200 followed by Joey Logano, Brad Keselowski, Justin Allgaier and Menard.
· Up next for the NASCAR XFINITY Series is the second road course of the year, Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, on Saturday, August 12. The Mid-Ohio Challenge can be viewed on NBCSN at 3:30 p.m. ET.