Date: March 1, 2020
Event: Auto Club 400 (Round 3 of 36)
Series: NASCAR Cup Series
Location: Auto Club Speedway (2.0-mile oval)
Format: 200 laps (Stages: 60 laps/60 laps/80 laps)
Start/Finish: 29th/10th (Running, Completed 200 of 200 laps)
Point Standings: 18th (67 points, 55 points out of 1st)
Race Winner: Alex Bowman
Stage 1 Winner: Alex Bowman
Stage 2 Winner: Ryan Blaney
Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1 – 60)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 Reser’s Toyota Camry team started Sunday’s race at Auto Club Speedway from the 29th position and finished stage one in 15th.
- Under cloudy skies and dodging rain showers, the Auto Club 400 got under way Sunday afternoon and Jones was able to quickly gain several positions to move in to the top 20 on lap 10 and take over 15th on lap 20.
- Radioing the team early in the stage about the handling of the No. 20 Camry, crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road on lap 26 for a scheduled green-flag stop for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments to help with tight-handling conditions. Jones cycled out to 11th on lap 40.
- The first caution of the race waved on lap 60 to end the stage with Jones in the 15th position. Continuing to have a tight-handling Camry, Jones again pitted for four tires, fuel and a round of adjustments.
Stage 2 Recap (Laps 61 – 120)
- Jones started the second stage from the 11th position and finished the stage in ninth.
- Dropping a few positions on the lap 66 restart, Jones settled in and was scored in the 12th position when he made a green-flag stop on lap 88 for four tires, fuel and adjustments to continue working on the handling of the Reser’s Camry.
- Jones cycled back to 11th before the caution waved on lap 91 for a single-car incident. Gayle called Jones back to pit road for four fresh Goodyear tires and fuel. The race restarted on lap 95 with the No. 20 team in the 15th position.
- Moving up to eighth following the restart, Jones slipped to ninth before the caution waved on lap 120 to end the stage. With his Camry handling better, but still on the tight side, Jones pitted for four tires, fuel and adjustments.
Stage 3 Recap (Laps 121 – 200)
- Jones started the final stage from ninth and finished the race in 10th.
- With the final stage running green for all 80 laps, Jones was able to run in the top 12 for most of the stage, making his final scheduled green-flag pit stop on lap 158 for four tires and fuel.
- Jones crossed the finish line in 10th to score his first top-10 finish of the season.
ERIK JONES, No. 20 Reser’s Toyota Camry, Joe Gibbs Racing
Finishing Position: 10th
“It was a step in the right direction. I don’t think any of us really had race-winning speed. I think Kyle (Busch) got some good track position on that restart and was able to maintain. We got shuffled back and kind of had to come back from 15th. I don’t know, I think we’re off. We didn’t have anything for the 88 (Alex Bowman) or anything like that. We have to get faster, but I think we learned a lot. Just have more to get. Don’t know how to get there, but we have more to get.”
- Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Kyle Busch finished second, Denny Hamlin finished sixth and Martin Truex Jr. finished 14th.
Up Next: The NASCAR Cup Series finishes the west coast swing at Phoenix Raceway for the Fan Shield 500k on Sunday, March 8, 2020 at 3:30 p.m. ET on FOX.
– JGR –