Date: June 30, 2019
Event: Camping World 400 (Race 17 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Track: Chicagoland Speedway (1.5-mile Oval)
Format: 267 Laps (Stages: 80 laps / 80 laps / 107 laps)
Start/Finish: 21st/7th (Completed 267 of 267 laps)
LAPS LED: One Time for One Lap
Point Standings: 17th (416 points, 261 points out of 1st)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman
Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin
Stage 2 Winner: Kevin Harvick
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota Camry team started Sunday’s race at Chicagoland Speedway from the 21st position and ended stage one in 14th.
- With weather in the area Sunday afternoon, NASCAR was able to go green and get 11 laps in before severe weather moved over the speedway and forced the race in to red flag conditions. Jones was scored 22nd.
- Following the three plus hour rain delay, NASCAR called drivers back to their cars to resume the race. Once the race was back under yellow-flag conditions, crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a set of adjustments. Jones was boxed into his stall following his stop, causing a delay exiting the pits resulting in a 32nd-place restart on lap 16.
- Making his move towards the front of the field, Jones was able to move up to 15th before green-flag stops started on lap 48. The team was able to cycle to the lead before pitting on lap 77 for fuel and left-side tires.
- The caution waved on lap 78 for a single-car incident. The caution served as the end of stage one on lap 80. Jones was scored 14th. Needing more grip to help with the handling of the DEWALT Camry, Jones pitted under the caution for right-side tires and fuel.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160)
- Jones started stage two from sixth and ended the stage 15th.
- With the race back to green on lap 85, Jones slipped to eighth before the caution waved on lap 102. Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 108 with the DEWALT team in seventh place.
- As the stage continued, the handling of the No. 20 DEWALT Camry slipped and Jones began to drop through the field one position at a time.
- Stage two ended on lap 160 with Jones in 15th. Struggling with the handling, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and a set of adjustments that included reversing the previous changes. With a fast stop, the No. 20 team gained several positions on pit road to restart the race on lap 166 from 11th.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267)
- Jones started the final stage from 11th and finished the race in seventh.
- The final stage started on lap 166, but a quick caution on lap 171 slowed the field fifth time. Reporting the Toyota Camry was too loose, Jones was called to pit road for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 177 with Jones in the 17th position.
- Turning his attention to the leaders, Jones moved in to the top 10 on lap 195 and pitted from fifth on lap 219 for his final stop of the day. Happy with the handling of the No. 20 Camry, the team changed four tires and added fuel. Once the field cycled through pit stops, the DEWALT team was scored sixth.
- Over the final laps of the race, Jones slipped to seventh where he remained when the checkered flag waved on lap 267.
- The finish marked Jones eighth top-10 finish of the season.
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. finished ninth with teammate Denny Hamlin finishing 15th and Kyle Busch finishing 22nd.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 DEWALT Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 7th
Solid day. Talk about your finish.
“Yeah, we put it together pretty well. The DEWALT Camry was good, and it was good at the end. I really think we had a top-four car. We just gave up to much on the second-to-last run. We were loose and fell back to 15th and just had to work up from there. It made it kind of difficult to get the track position from there. It just was a little bit tough to pass all day and get up there. The car was good; it had good speed. But good day for us.”
What can you do to build on a top-10 run like this as you try to make the playoffs?
“I think we have to keep improving our stuff. It looks like the Hendrick (Motorsports) cars were really fast this weekend. We’re going to have to keep working to keep up with them. It’s a different kind of race track; Chicago is kind of its own animal. We will keep improving our stuff; we will have to keep working to keep up with them.”
Did the new package create any problems for your team at this track?
“It changes what your mentality is. You have to look at mile-and-a-half races this year rather than last year’s Chicago race. You build your setup around that and figure out how to approach it. It’s tough to do; you don’t know what you’re going to get when you get here as far as trim level and where you need to be on that. I feel like we did a good job; we were close. But there is a little more to be gained.”
How much affect did the weather have?
“It did have more than normal because it was so cool after the rain. We were definitely more built to run in the heat, so cooling down like this changed things. We tried to band-aid it and get it better for the cool temperatures, but it really wasn’t enough, and we had to go back on it. It was tough to get our balance where we wanted it.”
Next Race: Teams now turn their attention to their second visit to the famed Daytona International Speedway on Saturday, July 6, 2019 for the Coke Zero Sugar 400. The race is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBC, MRN and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.