Date: July 19, 2020
Event: O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 (Round 18 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Texas Motor Speedway (1.5-mile Oval)
Format: 334 laps (3 Stages: 105 laps / 210 laps / 334 laps)
Start/Finish: 23rd/6th (Running, Completed 334 of 334 laps)
Race Winner: Austin Dillon
Stage 1 Winner: Ryan Blaney
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1 – 105)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Toyota Camry team started the O’Reilly Auto Parts 500 at Texas Motor Speedway from the 23rd position and finished stage one in 12th place.
- Under blue skies, Jones and the No. 20 team rolled off from the 23rd position in the Lone Star state and was able to move up to 18th before the competition caution on lap 20. Crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road for left-side tires, fuel and a round of adjustments. The race restarted on lap 25 with Jones in the ninth position.
- Jones was able to move up to seventh before green-flag stops started. As the field made scheduled stops, Jones moved to the lead before pitting on lap 94 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Returning to the track, the No. 20 CRAFTSMAN team was scored in the 12th position.
- The caution flag waved on lap 105 to end stage one with Jones in the 12th position. The team opted to stay out under the caution period.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 106 – 210)
- Jones started the second stage from the third position and finished the stage in ninth.
- The race restarted on lap 112 with Jones in the third position.
- Slipping to fifth following the restart, Jones was able to maintain his position in the top five until he made his second-green flag pit stop on lap 170 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Following the scheduled stop, Jones returned to the track in the 23rd position.
- As the field cycled through stops, Jones moved up to ninth before the caution waved on lap 210 to end stage two. Not firing off to his liking and with the handling not improving throughout the run, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 211 – 334)
- Jones started the final stage from the ninth position and finished the race with a solid sixth-place finish.
- With the final stage of the race green, Jones restarted from ninth, but the field was quickly slowed for a multi-car accident. NASCAR displayed the red flag for clean-up and the race resumed on lap 223.
- Maintaining his position in the top 10, Jones was scored 10th when the caution waved on lap 243. Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and another set of adjustments to continue improving the handling of the CRAFTSMAN Camry. The race restarted on lap 248 with Jones in the 11th position.
- Avoiding several quick cautions, Jones dropped as low as 16th before a long-green flag run forced teams to make another round of green-flag pit stops. Before the field cycled through stops, the caution waved on lap 305 with Jones in the fourth position. Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. With varying strategies at the front of the field, the race restarted on lap 311 with Jones in the ninth position.
- With several late-race cautions, Jones was able to move up several positions in the final laps to cross the finish line in the sixth position for his seventh top-10 finish of the season.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 CRAFTSMAN Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 6th
How strong was your race car today?
“It was kind of a weird day. I thought the CRAFTSMAN Camry was decent all day long and had good speed at times when we could get some clean air and make some passes here and there. It was kind of a struggle to make some of those passes. It was challenging there towards the end with the short runs and the restarts. Our car really took 15 laps or so to get rolling so that kind of hurt us at the end, but we’ll take it. Sixth place isn’t too bad. We needed a solid run and mistake free and that’s what we did. I thought coming into this race if we could just go in and have no mistakes and have decent speed we could run top-five and we came real close to that. We have to keep doing that. Obviously, we need to get some points, especially with two winners the last two weeks that have been from outside the Playoff picture. That kind of changes things for us. We’ll keep rolling, but a decent day for us.”
How difficult was the heat at Texas and how difficult are the quick race turnarounds this week from Bristol to Texas and then Kansas Thursday night for recovery?
“It’s kind of right on the limit. I usually take at least four days before the race is when I start hydrating so it’s going to be close. I know I did sweat a lot today and feel like I lost a lot of water weight. I feel dehydrated for sure. Going to take some time to get back from this one. It was obviously hot. It didn’t feel too bad in the car, but I know that I was losing a lot of water. Kansas hopefully will be a little bit cooler, that would be convenient for us, but it’s definitely been tough with the quick turnarounds of these last few races.”
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch finished fourth, Denny Hamlin finished 20th and Martin Truex Jr. finished 29th.
Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Kansas Speedway on Thursday, July 23, 2020 for another mid-week race. Coverage of the race will begin at 7:30 p.m. ET on NBCSN, MRN radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.