Erik Jones Finishes Seventh at Sonoma Raceway in the Toyota Save Mart 350
June 25, 2018
Box Score Info:
RACE: Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Toyota Save Mart 350
TRACK: Sonoma Raceway
DRIVER: Erik Jones
CAR: No. 20 DEWALT Toyota Camry
POINTS STANDINGS: 14th (376 points, -320 points out of 1st)
· For the first of two road courses on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series circuit, teams headed to northern California to Sonoma Raceway. Erik Jones and the No. 20 DEWALT Toyota Camry team qualified in the 20th position and after a day spent learning and improving, crossed the finish line solidly in the seventh position.
· Rolling off the starting grid from 20th position, Jones struggled early in stage one with the handling of the No. 20 DEWALT Camry and slipped as low as 28th in the opening laps. Closing in on the end of stage one, teams opted for varying strategies with many of the leaders pitting before the end of the stage. When the caution flag waved on lap 25 to end stage one, Jones was scored in the 16th position. Crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road for four tires, fuel and adjustments. The race restarted on lap 29 with Jones 23rd.
· A single car incident brought out the caution on lap 33 and after a brief clean-up period, the race resumed on lap 36 with Jones in the 21st position. With coaching from spotter Rick Carelli, Jones was able to improve to 16th before making a green-flag stop on lap 47 for four tires, fuel and another round of adjustments. The caution came out on lap 50 to end stage two. The No. 20 DEWALT team was scored 24th, and having just pitted before the end of the stage, Gayle made the call to stay out under the caution to restart the race on lap 54 from the sixth position.
· As the final stage of the 110-lap event stretched in to a long green-flag run, Jones was able to work his way to the lead on lap 81 during a round of green-flag pit stops. Jones made his final stop of the day on lap 83 for four tires and fuel. Returning to the track in the 13th position, Jones was able to move back in to the top 10 and cross the finish line in the seventh position.
· The finish marked Jones best finish at Sonoma Raceway and his sixth top-10 finish of the 2018 season.
· Martin Truex Jr. won the race followed by Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer, Chase Elliott and Kyle Busch.
· Teams now head to Chicagoland Speedway for the Overton’s 400 on Sunday, July 1, 2018.
Post-Race Thoughts: Erik Jones:
“It was a great day for us, really. I felt like it’s a little like a win for us. We were aiming for a top-15 today and to get a top-10 is just a bonus. Our DEWALT Camry was good all day. We struggled a bit on the first run. Once we got an adjustment under it and I started to get settled in and comfortable with racing through traffic, we just kind of started plugging along and picking up spots. Our strategy worked out for us. Great day, great rebound from Michigan. We’ll go to Chicago and look to improve from here.”