Date: June 28, 2020
Event: Pocono 350 (Round 15 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Pocono Raceway (2.5-mile Triangle)
Format: 140 laps (3 Stages: 30 laps / 85 laps / 140 laps)
Start/Finish: 38th/3rd (Running, Completed 140 of 140 laps)
Point Standings: 16th
Race Winner: Denny Hamlin
Stage 1 Winner: Kurt Busch
Stage 2 Winner: Brad Keselowski
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1 – 30)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Toyota Camry team started the second race of the weekend at Pocono Raceway from the 38th position and finished stage one in 12th place.
- With rain in the area Sunday afternoon, Jones rolled off from the 38th position and advanced to 25th before NASCAR displayed the red flag for rain on lap five.
- Following the rain delay, the race restarted on lap 11 with Jones in the 21st position.
- Continuing to make his way forward, Jones was scored 12th when the caution waved on lap 30 to end the first stage. Pretty happy with the handling of the No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Toyota Camry, Jones stayed out and was told to save fuel under the caution.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 31 – 85)
- Jones started the second stage from the sixth position and finished the stage in 13th.
- The race restarted on lap 35 with Jones in the sixth position.
- With a quick caution on lap 38, crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments to help with the handling of the CRAFTSMAN Camry. The race restarted on lap 44 with Jones in the 24th position.
- Battling back to the top 10, Jones was scored in the sixth position on lap 75 when the caution waved. Gayle again called Jones to pit road for four tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 79 with Jones in the 12th position and before the end of the lap, the caution flag was again displayed. Reporting that he had a loose left rear wheel, Jones was forced to pit for left-side tires and fuel. Jones returned to the track and restarted the race on lap 83 from the 23rd position.
- The caution waved on lap 85 with Jones in the 13th position. Gayle made the decision to leave Jones on track and save fuel.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 86-140)
- Jones started the final stage from the ninth position and finished the race in the third position.
- For the final stage of the race, Jones restarted the race from ninth on lap 89.
- As the final stage continued under green-flag conditions and NASCAR battled the remainder of daylight, Jones was able to make his way as high as second before having to pit on lap 106 for fuel only. Returning to the track in the 14th position, Jones was able to stay focused and move his way back in to the top five in the final laps.
- Jones crossed the finish line in the third position.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Craftsman Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your race today?
“Yeah, today was a lot better than yesterday for sure. It’s great to rebound like that. Unfortunately, I think we could have – definitely could have had two top-fives, and really, I think our primary car was quite a bit better than this car. I thought we could have probably contended both days a little more towards the win if we had our primary, but the CRAFTSMAN Camry was good. We made good changes overnight. We actually changed a lot of stuff and tried to kind of rebalance with what we had with this backup car. It’s nice to get a solid finish. I mean, we came off a good run at Talladega and went right back to a DNF and to come back here with a third. We just need to be consistent from here and keep it rolling.”
How much did the track conditions change as darkness set in during the closing laps?
“They changed quite a bit as far as it did rubber in a little bit after the shower we got. It kind of changed – it got tighter and then after the sun went down, I thought it freed up the last probably 25 laps. We were pretty loose at the end. It was kind of holding us back from really doing much more than running third, but it did change a lot. It was pretty dark the last 10 laps, but I was glad we could get the race in.”
- With his third-place finish, Jones scored his fourth top-five finish of the season.
- Gaining points with his third-place finish, Jones was able to move up one position in the point standings to the 16th position.
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin won the race, Martin Truex Jr. finished 10th and Kyle Busch finished 38th.
Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series heads to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, July 5, 2020. Coverage of the race will begin at 4:00 p.m. ET on NBC, ISM radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.