Although eliminated from the NASCAR Playoffs in last week’s Charlotte Motor Speedway ROVAL event, Erik Jones and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing team remain determined to race strong through the end of the 2019 schedule. They approached Dover (Del.) International Speedway and the one-mile “Monster Mile” with good intentions to be competitive with the DeWalt Camry. Friday practice and then Saturday qualifying sessions showcased the speed Jones feels will put them in a good position for the Sunday main event. Jones and team qualified in the eighth position, a row-four start on Sunday afternoon.
When asked about his Dover qualifying attempt and his team’s goals for the rest of the year, the Michigan native described, “The qualifying run was okay. Kind of where I expected going out late. It’s getting hotter now. We didn’t have a great car yesterday, so just kind of working through and trying to get a good starting spot and plan to ‘out race’ people. That has been our strength – just out racing people and making good adjustments. I don’t think anyone is going to beat the 11 (Denny Hamlin) going out so early in the qualifying session. The track was definitely the coolest then. As for the rest of the season we plan to just try to win a couple. We’ve shown that we can win races and I think we can do it pretty consistently, we just have to have some things go our way and execute on our end as well. Just go in and do what we can to try to win. Dover has been an okay place for us in the past. We ran okay here in the spring. That’s the goal. We are going to try to get the DeWalt Camry some more wins.”
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series event will show the green flag on Sunday, October 6th, and will be broadcast on the NBC channel at 2:30 p.m. ET.Read More
Entering the last race of round one of the 2019 MENCS Playoffs the field took to a familiar home track, but with an unfamiliar “twist.” The traditional 1.5-mile speedway oval was converted in late 2018 to a 2.28-mile road course they now call the “ROVAL.” This 17-turn track surface has the most course changes in all of NASCAR’s Cup series schedule. This proves challenging for the Cup Series drivers, especially those competing to earn a spot in the next round of the Playoffs. Erik Jones is one of those drivers and in a tenuous position after a strong run in last week’s Richmond Raceway (Va.) event turned sour with a post-qualifying tech inspection disqualification. The No. 20 team and Jones are in a “must-win” situation going into Sunday’s main event on the Roval and started with a good first practice run on Friday, posting top-10 speeds. The team then qualified in the 15th-starting position with a two-run trial. Jones commented afterwards on his weekend outlook, “I thought we had a little bit better car than that, but I didn’t expect us to qualify much better than eighth probably. You know 15th is not where we wanted to be, we haven’t qualified well all year. It hurts pit stall more than anything and then you get some guys up in front that you’ve got to through in the first stage, get them shuffled out. We just lacked a little bit of speed obviously across the board – us the 18 (Kyle Busch), the 19 (Martin Truex Jr.) weren’t able to squeeze in (to the next round). You know definitely needed a little bit more speed to be with those guys in the top five, I mean they’re a second faster than us almost. That’s a lot, but you never know how the race will play out.”
When further asked if capturing the win in Sunday’s race was going to be difficult, Jones replied, “It won’t be easy, I mean the only good thing for us is that stage points don’t matter. Stage points aren’t going to get us in, so we can play strategy whichever way we need to, to get ourselves up front. We’ve seen you can get up front and contend. The 12 (Ryan Blaney) last year got up there and put himself in a spot and had things work out. We just need to get into position, but need some more speed. We’ll know more after tomorrow in race trim, but definitely all-out speed we’re a little behind.”
The No. 20 team with Jones spend Saturday using time to adjust their Craftsman Camry, over two more practice sessions. On Sunday the green flag will drop for the main event at 2:30pm ET found on NBCSN.Read More
The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series traveled to Watkins Glen, New York this week for another different track view, the 11-turn and 2.45-mile historic road course of Watkins Glen International. During two practice sessions on Saturday morning, the No. 20 DeWalt Camry paced the field with top-10 fastest speeds and driver Erik Jones felt good about his strong Toyota Camry. When the qualifying session ensued Saturday night Jones was poised for a good lap, when an on-track incident caused a blown tire and forced the team to obtain assistance from NASCAR to travel the 20 car back to pit road. The team changed the blown tire and the driver returned to his car for another timed-lap attempt at moving into the final qualifying round. The DeWalt Camry scored in the 14th position, a row-seven start for the Sunday main event. After qualifying Jones commented about the incident, “I just missed my mark there. I just got in too hot and locked the right-front up enough that it blew it out. That’s not what you want to do. I kind of thought we were done and I didn’t realize that the rule was that if you don’t complete a lap you get to come back in and change tires. We put another tire on it and the DeWalt Camry had good speed. I was just a little conservative on my lap, which I think you can probably understand why after the first time. Still a good starting spot. It has more speed than that so it’s frustrating in that way, but still nice that we’re starting off better than dead last where we thought we were going to be.” The GoBowling.com race will begin Sunday at 3:00 pm ET and will be broadcast on NBCSN.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series garage returned to Pocono Raceway in Pocono, Pennsylvania for the second race there in 2019 and this time with an abbreviated garage schedule. Over two practice sessions early Saturday, Erik Jones and the No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Reser’s Team practiced well, at the top of the speed chart in final practice. With that positive momentum they tackled a single car, one lap-qualifying session and earned a row two starting position, fourth quick to start the Sunday main event. After the strong qualifying run, Jones commented on his car, “We have been good. We have had good speed. The Reser’s Toyota Camry has been fast. I thought with that lap we would have it. That’s kind of frustrating. We have a fast car and I thought we had a shot at the pole. But we are starting up front either way, so we will make a good day of it. We were good in race trim and I was pretty happy with it. That’s always a good feeling.” The team will take the green flag Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm ET and the race can be viewed live on NBCSN.
The NASCAR Monster Energy Cup Series traveled to New England this week to tackle New Hampshire Motor Speedway in Loudon, New Hampshire. This is an important timeframe, with only a few weeks remaining before the first round of Playoff contenders are finalized. Having moved into the last Playoff qualifying spot last week, 16th in points now, Erik Jones is anxious to keep the positive momentum rolling, coming off a third-place finish at Kentucky Speedway in Sparta. Friday afternoon he showed everyone he’s here to battle, with a row-two, fourth-place qualifying spot earned at over 136.189 mph. When asked afterwards about his car the Michigan star commented,“It was kind of a struggle this morning, but actually there in qualifying it felt pretty good. Definitely a lot better than what we had in practice. I missed it a little bit on the lap. It had some more in it. Just didn’t hit it right. The Stanley Camry felt good there, so I think that was the first time all day I’ve had a good feel in the car and if we can kind of transfer that into tomorrow, that’d be a positive.” Jones continued his positive energy on Saturday when he topped the speed charts in practice. The No. 20 Stanley Toyota with Jones behind the wheel will take the green flag Sunday at 3:00pm ET and the race can be seen on NBCSN.Read More
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