Posted: May 21st, 2020

Date: May 20, 2020

Event: Toyota 500(k) (Round 6 of 36)

Series: NASCAR Cup Series

Location: Darlington Raceway (1.366-mile oval)

Format: 208 laps (Stages: 60 laps/65 laps/83 laps – Rain Shortened)

Start/Finish: 13th/5th (Running, Completed 208 of 208 laps – Rain Shortened)

Point Standings: 15th (146 points, 112 points out of 1st)

 

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin  

Stage 1 Winner: Clint Bowyer

Stage 2 Winner: Clint Bowyer

 

Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1 – 60)

  • Erik Jones and the No. 20 STANLEY Toyota Camry team started Sunday’s race at Darlington Raceway from the 13th position and finished stage one in 12th place.
  • With an unapproved adjustment on the grid before the race started, Jones had to give up his 13th starting position and start the Toyota 500(k) from the rear of the field.
  • Racing under the lights Wednesday night, Jones was able to move up to 22nd before pitting on lap 11, under caution, for four tires and his first set of adjustments to help with his tight-handling Camry. The race restarted on lap 15 with Jones 32nd.
  • The caution waved on lap 25 for a scheduled competition caution. Jones pitted from 22nd for four tires, fuel and another set of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 30 with Jones in the 20th position.
  • Making gains, Jones was able to move up to 12th before the stage ended on lap 60. Continuing to fight a tight-handling car, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and another set of adjustments.

Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61 – 125)

  • Jones started the second stage from the eighth position and finished the stage in fourth.
  • With the race back underway on lap 68, Jones was able to move up to fifth before the caution waved on lap 72. Jones stayed out under the caution and opted to pit under the lap 79 caution period for four tires, fuel and to continue adjusting on the No. 20 STANLEY Camry to improve the tight-handling condition. With teams on varying pit strategies, the race resumed on lap 86 with Jones scored 18th.
  • On lap 94, Jones moved in to the top 10 and was scored seventh when the caution flag waved on lap 107. With his car handling better, the team called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a small adjustment. The race restarted on lap 112 with the No. 20 team scored eighth.
  • Over the final laps of the stage, Jones was able to move up to fourth before the caution flag waved on lap 125 to end the stage. The team again called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a small adjustment to keep up with the handling changes of the STANLEY Camry.

 

Stage 3 Recap (Laps 126 – 208)

  • Jones started the final stage from sixth place and finished the race in the fifth position.
  • The final stage started on lap 132 with Jones in the sixth position and with quick maneuvers of the lead cars, Jones moved in to the lead on lap 134.
  • Leading the next 27 laps, Jones made contact with the wall and his car quickly transitioned to handling too tight. Jones slipped to fourth before making a green-flag pit stop on lap 175 for four tires, fuel, adjustments and to check the damage.
  • Before the field could complete green-flag stops, the caution waved on lap 178. The team opted to stay out and take the wave around to return to the lead lap. The race resumed on lap 186 with Jones scored eighth.
  • Jones made his final stop of the race on lap 194 when he pitted under caution from the fourth position. With four fresh tires, fuel and a set of adjustments, Jones restarted the race from fifth on lap 199.
  • With a quick caution following the restart, rain moved in to the area before NASCAR could restart the race and on lap 208, the red flag was displayed. Unable to get the race restarted, NASCAR ultimately called the Toyota 500(k) 20 laps short of the finish with Jones earning a fifth-place finish for the STANLEY team.

ERIK JONES, No. 20 STANLEY Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing

Finishing Position: 5th

Two great races for you at Darlington, talk about the run tonight.

“We were really strong. We had to start at the back. We had an unapproved adjustment there before the race and had to come from the back. But we made our way up pretty quick and got the car a lot better stop by stop. By the mid-part of the race, we were up contending in the top-five and challenging for the lead. Got the lead there and led for a while until I got in the wall hard enough that it made the car drive a little bit worse. Finally got the damage fixed and got back up in the top-five, and then the rain came. Good day, and a disappointing day. Disappointed that I made a mistake and cost us a shot to win a race there, but another good point’s day for us and our first top-five, so hopefully we can keep the momentum rolling. We’ve been a little bit better each race so far.”

 

Additional Notes:

  • With his fifth-place finish, Jones scored his best finish of the season and his first top-five finish of the season.
  • The finish was Jones third top-five finish at Darlington Raceway and his fifth top-eight finish at the track in just five starts.
  • Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Denny Hamlin won the race with Kyle Busch finishing second and Martin Truex, Jr. finishing 10th.

Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the annual Coca-Cola 600 on Sunday, May 24, 2020. The Coca-Cola 600 will be broadcast live on FOX and PRN radio beginning at 6:00 p.m. ET.