Date: June 22, 2020 (Postponed from June 21, 2020)
Event: GEICO 500 (Round 13 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Talladega Superspeedway (2.66-mile oval)
Format: 188 laps (3 Stages: 60 laps / 60 laps / 68 laps)
Start/Finish: 18th/5th (Running, Completed 191 of 191 laps)
Point Standings: 18th (273 Points, 190 Points out of 1st)
Race Winner: Ryan Blaney
Stage 1 Winner: Tyler Reddick
Stage 2 Winner: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1 – 60)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry team started the postponed GEICO 500 at Talladega Superspeedway from the 18th position and finished stage one in 23rd place.
- Rolling off from 18th, Jones immediately dropped to the back of the lead pack where he remained when the scheduled competition caution flag waved on lap 25. Needing to be a little tighter, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and multiple adjustments. The race restarted on lap 29 with Jones scored 23rd.
- Unfortunately, rain halted the race on lap 55 and forced NASCAR to red-flag conditions.
- Following the rain delay, NASCAR resumed the race and ended stage one under caution. Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61 – 120)
- Jones started the second stage from the 20th position and finished the stage in 29th.
- With a solid pit stop during the stage break, Jones restarted the race on lap 64 from the 20th position.
- Jones again dropped to the back of the lead pack and was scored 33rd on lap 65.
- Making routine stops throughout the stage when the caution flag was displayed, Jones finished stage two in 29th. With Jones fresh off a pit stop on lap 114, the team was planning to stay out under the caution, but a vibration on the final laps of the stage caused enough concern that the team pitted for four tires and fuel.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121 – 188)
- Jones started the final stage from the 29th position and finished the race in fifth place.
- Restarting the race on lap 125, Jones was able to make his way from 29th to 26th before the caution waved on lap 133. Opting for right-side tires and fuel, Jones restarted the race on lap 138 from the 13th position.
- Moving in to the top 10, the No. 20 team was scored ninth when the caution waved on lap 141. The team opted to stay on track and restarted the race from second on lap 146.
- Shuffled out of the front row position, Jones was running mid pack when he made a green-flag stop late in the race. Several laps later, the caution flag waved for the final time. Opting to stay out, Jones restarted the race from 13th on lap 189.
- Making a charge to the front, Jones was able to get side-by-side with the leader, but as the field approached the checkered flag, contact from a competitor caused the No. 20 to make contact with the outside wall. Despite the damage, Jones was able to cross the finish line in the fifth position.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 5th
Top-five finish. Probably not the way you wanted to cross the finish line, but a solid day. Talk about the finish.
“Yeah it was good. We kind of rode around today and just tried to stay clean – stay out of trouble – and give ourselves a chance there at the end, and that’s what we did. We got a fortunate yellow there after we had to pit for fuel. We got relined up and gave ourselves an opportunity. We had the momentum. We had the run in the end. The 12 (Ryan Blaney) kind of came up on us there. He moved us up the track, which in turn, kind of got us turned into the fence. It’s superspeedway racing. He’s doing what he has to win; I’m doing what I have to win, and it didn’t play out in our favor, so at least we were there and had a shot to win one of these things. They aren’t easy to win by any means, so it was nice to be up there.”
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin finished fourth, Martin Truex Jr. finished 24th and Kyle Busch finished 32nd.
Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Pocono Raceway for a double header weekend starting on Saturday, June 27, 2020 and Sunday, June 28, 2020. Coverage of Saturday’s race will begin at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX followed by Sunday’s race on Fox Sports 1 beginning at 4:00 p.m. ET.