ERIK JONES EARNS SEVENTH-PLACE FINISH AT KC MASTERPIECE 400
May 14, 2018
Box Score Info:
RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – KC Masterpiece 400
TRACK: Kansas Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Camry
POINTS STANDINGS: 13th (-218 points out of 1st)
- Erik Jones and the No. 20 Reser’s Fine Foods Toyota Camry team scored the 12th starting position for the KC Masterpiece 400 at Kansas Speedway and after running solidly in the top 10 for most of the 267-lap race, crossed the finish line in seventh place. The finish marked the No. 20 team’s fifth top-10 finish of the 2018 season.
- Under the lights Saturday night, the KC Masterpiece 400 got underway with Jones moving up to 10th early in the race before slipping to 11th where he remained when the competition caution was displayed on lap 30. Reporting that the No. 20 was too tight, Jones was able to pit under the caution period for four tires, fuel and an adjustment. The race restarted on lap 35 with Jones in the 11th position. The race remained green until lap 80 when the field was slowed for a caution to end stage one. Still needing help with the handling, Jones pitted from 12th for four tires, fuel and adjustments. With a solid pit stop, the team gained two positions to restart the race from 10th on lap 88.
- Stage two stayed green until lap 160 when the caution flag was displayed. During the long green flag run, teams were forced to make a green-flag stop. Jones pitted on lap 122 under green and again during the lap 160 caution. On each stop the team changed four tires, added fuel and continued to adjust on the No. 20 Camry to improve the handling and keep up with the changing track conditions. The final stage of the race started on lap 167 with Jones in the 13th position.
- As the race continued under another long green-flag run, Jones moved back in to the top 10 on lap 180 and as both spotter Rick Carelli and crew chief Chris Gayle continued to coach the 21-year-old driver, he was able to move up to eighth before making a green-flag stop on lap 211 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. Once the field cycled through stops, Jones was scored seventh.
- Closing in on the end of the race, the caution was displayed on lap 237 for a two-car incident involving the 19 and 88. Jones reported to the team that he had no grip and the team called him to pit road for a routine stop. The No. 20 Reser’s Toyota Camry team restarted the race on lap 242 from eighth place.
- Focused on the leaders, Jones was able to move up to sixth before the caution waved on lap 252 for an incident involving the 42 and 12. The team opted to leave Jones on track and he restarted the race on lap 252 from the third position. Making an attempt for the lead, Jones was three-wide with the 22 and 78 before settling in to third when the caution waved for a big wreck involving multiple cars. NASCAR displayed the red flag and following the cleanup, the race restarted with 10 laps to go. Unable to advance forward, Jones fell to several cars with fresher tires and finished the race in the seventh position.
- Kevin Harvick won the race followed by Martin Truex Jr., Joey Logano, Kyle Larson and Denny Hamlin.
- Teams now head to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the All-Star race on May 19 followed by the Coke 600 on May 27.
How did it feel to get your best finish at Kansas?
“We had a really good car. Our Reser’s Camry was about a seventh-place car and that’s where we ended up. We have to keep working. We’re getting close. There are some other teams that have some more speed right now and we’re trying to close the gap on them. We have to keep working on that and hopefully find our way to get there sooner rather than later.”