Date: September 19, 2020
Event: Bass Pro Shops Night Race (Round 29 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Bristol Motor Speedway (.533-mile Oval)
Format: 500 laps (3 Stages: 125 laps / 250 laps / 500 laps)
Start/Finish: 20th/3rd (Running, Completed 500 of 500 laps)
Race Winner: Kevin Harvick
Stage 1 Winner: Chase Elliott
Stage 2 Winner: Kyle Busch
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1 – 125)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry team started Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway from the 20th position and finished stage one in 16th.
- Following two pre-race inspection failures, Jones was forced to drop to the rear of the field for the initial start of Saturday night’s race.
- Focused on gaining one position at a time, Jones was scored in the 21st position when the first caution flag waved on lap 28 for a multiple-car accident. The caution also served as the competition caution scheduled for lap 30. Happy with the handling of his Camry, Jones pitted for four tires and fuel. Unable to cleanly exit the pit box, Jones had to back up before exiting and lost several positions on pit road. Jones restarted the race from 24th on lap 40.
- The stage remained green until lap 125 when the caution flag waved to end the stage. With the handling of the Auto-Owners Insurance Camry a little tight, Jones pitted for four tires and fuel.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 126 – 250)
- Jones started the second stage from the 19th position and finished the stage in ninth place.
- The race restarted on lap 136 for the start of stage two with Jones and the No. 20 team in the 19th position.
- As the race continued under a long green-flag run, the caution flag waved on lap 233. Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and an air-pressure adjustment. The race restarted with less than 10 laps remaining in stage two with the Auto-Owners Insurance team in the ninth position.
- With one lap remaining in the stage, the caution flag waved for an on-track incident on lap 249 and remained under caution to end the stage. The team opted to stay out under the caution.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 251 – 500)
- Jones started the final stage from the ninth position and finished the race with a third-place finish.
- With 240 laps remaining in the race, Jones started the final stage of the race from the ninth position.
- Closing in on a green-flag pit stop, Jones was running in the sixth position, as the last car on the lead lap, when the caution waved on lap 406. With the handling of the No. 20 Camry just a little snug, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and a small air-pressure adjustment. The race restarted on lap 418 with Jones in the fourth position.
- Quickly moving up to third following the restart, Jones was able to close in on the leaders late in the race, but was unable to get close enough to contend for the win.
- With a strong run in the 500-lap race, Jones tied his season-best finish of third.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Auto-Owners Insurance Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 3rd
How was your race tonight?
“It was, I guess, a solid day. I felt like we had a good car out there in the end. We had to start in the back and that took a while to work through there and get some track position. It’s pretty challenging to pass here even though it’s a short track. A good run. The Auto-Owners Insurance Camry got better all night, and honestly, the last run of the race was our best. We got up there into third and I kind of knew I couldn’t beat those guys straight up. So, I tried to stay a little bit on the front half of the run and run at the end hard and just kind of ran out of time. I had just got to those guys when I took the checkered, so a good day. It was nice to be up there in contention at the end, but close again at Bristol. Especially in this race. We’ve been close a few times, just want to close one out here soon.”
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch finished second, Denny Hamlin finished 21st and Martin Truex Jr. finished 24th.
Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series now heads to Las Vegas Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 27, 2020. The race broadcast will begin at 7:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on NBCSN, PRN radio and SIRIUS XM Channel 90.