Posted: March 18th, 2019

Box Score Info:

Date: March 17, 2019

Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 5 of 36)

Series:  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Track: Auto Club Speedway (2-mile Oval)
Format: 200 Laps (Stages: 60 laps / 60 laps / 80 laps)
Start/Finish: 18th/19th (Running, completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standings: 13th (133 points, 104 points out of 1st)

Race Winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 1 Winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-60)

  • Erik Jones started the Auto Club 400 from the 18th position and finished stage one sixth in the No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Toyota Camry.
  • Making moves through the field, Jones moved in to the top 10 before making a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 30 for four tires, fuel and an adjustment to help with a loose-handling condition.
  • The caution waved on lap 55 for a single-car incident and crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 59 for a single-lap shootout to end the stage. A multi-car accident brought out the caution following the restart to end the stage with Jones scored sixth. The team opted to pit after Jones had contact with a competitor following the restart. The team changed four tires and checked for damage on the left rear of the car before returning to the track in 12th.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61-120)

  • Jones started the second stage from 12th and ended the stage seventh.
  • With a fast Camry and focused on passing one car at a time, Jones moved in to the top five on lap 75.
  • The team made a routine green-flag pit stop on lap 90 and was able to run as high as third before dropping to seventh with a tight-handling car at the end of the stage.
  • Jones pitted at the end of the stage for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments.

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121 – 200)

  • The No. 20 CRAFTSMAN team started the final stage from seventh and finished the race 19th.
  • Early in the final stage, Jones reported that the CRAFTSMAN Camry was too tight. The team made adjustments during a green-flag stop on lap 160 and before the field could cycle through pit stops, the caution waved to trap the team one lap down in the 12th position. Gayle made the call to take the wave around to return to the lead lap for the final restart of the race on lap 169.
  • Continuing to fight a tight-handling Camry, Jones crossed the finish line in the 19th position.

Additional Notes

  • Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch won the race to earn his 200th NASCAR win across NASCAR’s top-three series.
  • Teammate Denny Hamlin finished seventh and Martin Truex, Jr. finished eighth.

Next Race: Teams now head to Martinsville Speedway for the STP 500. The race will be broadcast live Sunday, March 24, at 2:00 p.m. ET on Fox Sports 1 and aired on Motor Racing Network (MRN) and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.