Box Score Info:
Date: September 15, 2019
Event: South Point 400 (Race 27 of 36)
Series: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series
Track: Las Vegas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile)
Format: 267 Laps (Stages: 80 laps / 160 laps / 267 laps)
Start/Finish: 26th/36th (Completed 254 of 267 laps)
Point Standings: 16th (2007 points, 26 points outside the cutoff for the Round of 12)
Race Winner: Martin Truex, Jr.
Stage 1 Winner: Joey Logano
Stage 2 Winner: Martin Truex, Jr.
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-80)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Gas Monkey Garage Toyota Camry team started the race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway from the 26th position and finished stage one 10th.
- Rolling off for 267 laps around the 1.5-mile track, Jones radioed the team early in the race that the CRAFTSMAN Gas Monkey Garage Camry was too tight for his liking, but was able to slowly gain positions and moved in to the top 20 by lap 15.
- Continuing under a long green-flag run, Jones made a scheduled green-flag stop on lap 40 from the 16th position for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. Once the field cycled through stops, Jones was scored 11th.
- Running fast laps, Jones moved in to the top 10 on lap 71, but began voicing concern over the throttle sticking.
- The caution waved on lap 80 to end the stage with the No. 20 team in the 10th position. Still fighting a tight-handling car, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. A slow stop dropped the team to 17th for the start of stage two.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 81-160)
- Jones restarted stage two from the 17th position and ended the stage 39th.
- The race restarted on lap 86 for stage two with Jones in 17th. Unfortunately, on the restart, the throttle stuck and Jones was unable to get the CRAFTSMAN Gas Monkey Garage Camry in to gear. Jones pitted to work on the car and ultimately had to take the No. 20 Camry to the garage for extended repairs.
- Following repairs Jones was able to return to the race 15 laps down to the leaders.
- The caution waved on lap 160 to end the stage. Under the caution, Jones pitted for four tires and fuel.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 161-267)
- Jones restarted the final stage from 39th and finished the race 36th.
- During the final stage of the race, Jones and the No. 20 team stayed focused on running the remaining laps.
- Jones was able to gain several positons to finish the race 36th.
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex, Jr. won the race with Kyle Busch finishing 15th and Denny Hamlin finishing 19th.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Gas Monkey Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 36th
First off, you said over the radio that it was stuck in second gear. Any idea on how it happened?
“Yeah, we had an issue with the throttle sticking the run before. I think it got stuck wide open when I was trying to shift to third, and obviously, you can’t shift wide open or else it’s going to jam it in the rails. The rails got jammed there in the shifter on the actual transmission and we couldn’t get it on pit road. You had to take the shifter boot off, and get in there and fix it from the top side. Had to fix it. Just unfortunate.”
Your car was still really fast.
“Yeah, I think we had one of the better cars out there. We were 30 laps farther on tires than a lot of guys and running just as fast if not faster. It’s a bummer. I think we could have run top three. I don’t know. I didn’t race up there with those guys; we broke before the second stage even got going really. 25 points out; we just have to focus and run well the next two.”
Does that make one of the next two a must win?
“No. I think we can still get in on points. The gap is not too big to climb out of. We need to run well, no worse than top-fives the next two weeks if we don’t win. I think Richmond’s our shot to win; the Roval is kind of a wildcard for us – a tougher one to win. We have to push hard. We can’t outdo ourselves and beat outselves, but we definitely have to race hard.”
Next Race: Teams now had to Richmond Raceway to race under the lights on Saturday, September 21, 2019, for the second race of the 2019 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Playoffs. The race is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN Radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.