Recap – 2018 Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
August 20, 2018
Strong Fifth-Place Finish for Erik Jones and Sport Clips Team at Bristol Motor Speedway
Box Score Info:
RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race
TRACK: Bristol Motor Speedway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry
POINTS STANDINGS: 13th (635 points, -368 points out of 1st)
- Qualifying in the 14th position for Saturday night’s race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Erik Jones and the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry team quickly moved in to the top 10 in the opening laps and after a solid 500-lap race where Jones ran as high as second, the team earned a fifth-place finish.
- Starting the race an hour early to avoid weather forecasted in the area, the Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race got under way for 500 laps around the Tennessee short track. Rolling off from the 14th position, Jones moved up to ninth before the first caution of the race waved on lap three for a multi-car accident. Restarting the race from ninth on lap 12, Jones was able to run in the top 10 until the competition caution on lap 60. The Sport Clips team called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and a minor adjustment. Jones restarted the race from eighth on lap 67 and was able to move up to third on lap 72 before slipping back to eighth when the caution waved on lap 125 to end stage one.
- Following a trip to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments to tighten up the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry, Jones started stage two from seventh place. Maintaining his position in the top 10, Jones made a stop during the lap 198 caution period for four tires, fuel and more adjustments to continue tightening up the No. 20 Camry. When the caution waved on lap 250 to end stage two, Jones was running in the seventh position. Still struggling with handling, the No. 20 team again called Jones to pit road for four fresh tires, fuel and multiple adjustments.
- The final stage of the race started on lap 261 with Jones in 10th place. Focused on running fast laps and making his way to the front, Jones was able to move in to the top five and worked his way as high as second late in the race. Continuing to improve on the No. 20 Toyota Camry during the final stage, Jones was able to finish the race with a strong fifth-place finish.
- Kurt Busch won the race followed by Kyle Larson, Chase Elliott, Joey Logano and Jones.
- Teams now have their final off weekend of the season before heading to Darlington Raceway on September 2, 2018.
What more did you need to get to the front?
“The run before last, we could’ve got up front when Kyle (Busch) and I were kind of running through the field. We were probably the best car, but you know there at the end, I didn’t have enough. I was too tight. I think our Sport Clips Camry was just lacking a little bit all night. We were close, but we could never find that last little bit to get up there and compete for the lead. I’m wore out. We worked hard all night trying to get ourselves a shot. It just wasn’t quite enough.”
What did you need on the short run?
“We were a little bit tight on the short run. It was good on the long run – about 80, 60 laps in we were pretty good, but just didn’t have enough. It felt like we were having to hustle really hard all night – harder than you really should to be good here. The Sport Clips Camry was alright. We got up there and contended for a bit. Restarted second, that’s all you can ask for – having a shot. Just didn’t have enough. This is a good day for us. Bristol is a good spot for us and happy to run in the top five, but obviously want to go and contend for the win.”
Was the racing aggressive tonight?
“It was just an edge. I’m wore out. It was a lot of hustling. Everybody seemed to be kind of wide open the whole time, which makes for some contact and makes for some exciting racing. It was rough at times. I roughed it up a few times. Our car has got some scars on it, but it’s fun. It’s Bristol. It’s a short track and that’s what it’s supposed to do at the end of the day.”