Christopher Bell Grabs First NXS Victory At Kansas

Christopher Bell

Saturday’s Kansas Lottery 300 may have been the opening race in the Round of 8 of the NASCAR XFINITY Series Playoff, but the real drama involved two Joe Gibbs Racing teammates outside the championship battle.

On Lap 197 of 200 at Kansas Speedway, Christopher Bell caught and passed Erik Jones for the lead, clearing Jones’ No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota with a slide job and drifting up to the outside wall right in front of his JGR teammate.

Under a full head of steam, Jones plowed into the back of Bell’s No. 18 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, wrecking the No. 20 Camry, which slowed markedly and finished 15th, a lap down.

Bell took the checkered flag with polesitter Tyler Reddick and some hard feelings on Jones’ part in his wake.

“It’s not dirt racing,” Jones complained, referencing Bell’s dirt-track background. “He’s not clear. I can’t just stop on the top. I didn’t expect him to drive in on the bottom so hard he wouldn’t be able to hold his lane.

“It’s unfortunate. I thought we were going to race for the win, and unfortunately, it wasn’t much of a race—it was more of a wreck. We’ll just have to move on.”

Jones had led four times for 186 laps before Bell ran him down from more than two seconds back in the closing laps. The series leader in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series, Bell got the victory in his fifth start, becoming the first driver to get his maiden XFINITY win at the 1.5-mile track.

Bell also is the 10th straight different winner in the series.

“I never want to wreck anyone, especially my teammate,” Bell said. “I don’t know. My spotter said ‘Clear.’ I drove it in really deep. I felt like I cleared him – I don’t know.

“It’s my first XFINITY win. I’m sorry that Erik didn’t finish the race, but, man, I’m just stoked. This thing was awesome. To be able to win in the XFINITY Series is something I dreamed of as a kid. We were both on old tires. We were sliding around…

“Bummed for the way it finished, but I’m glad it held on, man. I was getting tire smoke in the car there those last couple of laps, and I was worried we weren’t going to make it.”

Ryan Blaney ran third, followed by playoff drivers and JR Motorsports teammates William Byron and Justin Allgaier, the latter of whom collected 11 stage points and took over the top spot in the standings by two points over Byron, who had to start from the rear of the field because of unapproved pre-race adjustments to his No. 9 JR Motorsports Chevrolet.

Elliott Sadler, another JRM entry, recovered from a spin in Turn 4 on Lap 76 to finish seventh and is third in the Playoff standings, 11 points behind Allgaier.

“A tire came apart—I don’t know whether I ran over something or not,” said Sadler, who turned sideways in the path of oncoming traffic. Eventual sixth-place finisher Austin Dillon did a masterful job of avoiding Sadler’s spinning car.

“I gave ‘em a big target, but nobody hit us,” a relieved Sadler said after the race.

Beyond the top three Playoff positions, little was decided. With two races left in the Round of 8, there’s an eight-point gap between fourth-place Brennan Poole, who ran 12th on Saturday, and eighth-place Cole Custer, who brought his No. 00 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford to pit road with two laps left because of a cut tire and finished 19th, two laps down.

Check out the unofficial results of the Kansas Lottery 300 at Kansas Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Would Like To Prove A Point At Kansas

Erik Jones
With five races remaining in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season, Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team return to Kansas Speedway for the Hollywood Casino 400 with a couple of points to prove.

Point No. 1 is that the pre-season goal of winning a race during Jones’ Sunoco Rookie of the Year season is still very much alive and attainable. Despite an early exit last week at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway, the Furniture Row Racing team has earned very respectable averages in both starts (15.5) and finishes (16.7) after the first 31 races. Continuing to build on that now solid foundation creates the drive to achieve all they can.

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team has been able to learn and get better every week of the season, regardless of some of the results we’ve had,” said Jones. “Sure I’d like to get rid of some of the bad finishes we’ve had but a lot of them were out of our control so there’s really not a lot you can do about it. We keep chipping away at it and I feel confident we’re going to be ready when the opportunity comes our way.”

The second point is that the Furniture Row Racing team has been learning and progressing since the season’s first race at Kansas Speedway in May when they finished 22nd. Handling issues on the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota hampered the team’s efforts throughout the day. Jones, however, showed flashes of promise during the race, finishing ninth in the second stage and running ninth again with 60 laps remaining. A spin and later contact with another car with less than 10 laps remaining resulted in the 22nd-place finish.

“The last time we were at Kansas it was a bit of learning experience,” said Jones. “I said at the time it was something we just had to put behind us and focus on the next race, which was at Charlotte. We ended up getting our best finish of the season to date there (7th) so that showed me early in the season that our team was going to be strong.”

Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 31 races. He trails Joey Logano for 17th place by 45 points. Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 256 points, six ahead of Daniel Suarez (250) and 71 ahead of Ty Dillon (185).

The 267-lap, 400-mile Hollywood 400 will consist of three stages of 80/80/107 laps (80/160/267). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 1 p.m. MT (3 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 4:15 p.m. MT (6:15 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
24 8/19 Bristol 1 2 500/500 260 Running 50 15
25 9/3 Darlington 10 5 367/367 0 Running 37 14
26 9/9 Richmond 10 6 404/404 0 Running 43 18
27 9/17 Chicago 24 33 259/267 0 Running 4 19
28 9/24 New Hampshire 8 6 300/300 0 Running 45 19
29 10/1 Dover 10 12 400/400 0 Running 25 19
30 10/8 Charlotte 38 17 337/337 0 Running 20 19
31 10/15 Talladega 23 36 26/188 0 Crash 1 19
TOTALS/AVG. 15.5 16.7 7926/8896 310 749

 

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer David Mayo, Byron, Ga.
Front-Tire Carrier Richard Coleman, Orlando, Fla.
Rear-Tire Changer Brian Eastland, New Bern, N.C.
Rear-Tire Carrier Blake Haugland, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Jackman David O’Dell, Springfield, Ill.
Gasman Matt Tyrell, Plantation, Fla.

 

Road Crew

President Joe Garone, Denver, Colo.
Crew Chief Chris Gayle, Little Rock, Ark.
Car Chief Todd Brewer, Manassas, Va.
Race Engineers James Small, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Barber, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Engine Tuner David McClure, Carmichael, Calif.
Engine Builder Toyota Racing Development (TRD)
Spotter Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.
Shock Specialist Alex Michie, Woodslee, Ontario, CANADA
Tire Specialist Scott Simmons, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
Front-end Mechanic John Furino, East Meadow, N.Y.
Underneath Mechanic Cesar Villanueva, Parsippany, N.J.
Floater Mechanic Henry Katzke, Wausau, Wis.
Transportation Mike Clementson, Cambridge, Md.

Jason Taggart, Castleton, Vt.

Dave Shano, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Behind the Wall Support Gene Cornwell, Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach Driver Henry Benfield, Taylorsville, N.C.
IT Support Eric Cragun, Pleasant View, Utah

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones’ Day Ends Early At Talladega

Erik Jones
Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team were involved in a multi-car accident early on in the Alabama 500 at Talladega Superspeedway and the resulting damage left the team with a 36th-place finish.

Contact with the No. 1 of Jamie McMurray caused a chain reaction that gathered up two other cars in the Lap 26 melee on the 2.66-mile oval. The heavy front-end contact to the No. 77 Toyota damaged the oil pump to an extent that it was impossible to continue.

“It was kind of hard to see from my view,” said Jones. “I was behind the 18 (Kyle Busch) and he started checking up, he swerved off to the left and the 1 (Jamie McMurray) was sitting there really slow on the race track so I didn’t really have any choice. Unfortunately, I ran him over and kind of caused a chain reaction from there. It’s a bummer. We didn’t get to race today and I was hoping we’d just get a chance to go up and see what we had. It’s unfortunate, but those kind of things are going to happen here.”

The Furniture Row Racing driver is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series after 31 races. He is 45 points behind Joey Logano in 17th.

The race winner was Brad Keselowski. Rounding out the top 10 were: Ryan Newman, Trevor Bayne, Joey Logano, Aric Almirola, Denny Hamlin, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Kasey Kahne, Gray Gaulding and David Ragan.

The race had 11 cautions for 47 laps and three red flags that totaled approximately 35 minutes. There were 30 lead changes among 16 drivers. There were only 14 cars running at the end of the race.

The next race is Sunday, Oct. 22 at Kansas Speedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Talladega Is Beginning To Grow On Erik Jones

Erik Jones
Racing at Talladega Superspeedway has been called a wild card and a crap shoot but Erik Jones likes his and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota team’s odds heading into Sunday’s NASCAR Cup Series Alabama 500.

The Furniture Row Racing driver realizes he’s only competed there once in NASCAR’s premier series and already has first-hand knowledge of its well-earned reputation for quickly ending what had been a great race. But he’s a quick study and sees an opportunity where others may see just a challenge.

“Racing at Talladega is really starting to grow on me,” said Jones. “I have to admit I wasn’t a huge fan in the beginning because it seemed like there was so much out of my control. But it’s different and changes your mindset from the majority of the season so it’s kind of fun.

“I’ve learned from this season’s superspeedway races that there are things in your control and more you can do on the track, like when to be aggressive and when not to. So I’m enjoying it more and looking forward to this weekend.”

Jones qualified 14th at Talladega in May but finished 33rd after getting caught up in an 18-car wreck on Lap 169. He was running in the top 10 at the time of the incident and had earned top-10 finishes in both stages of the race. Despite the poor finish, Jones is optimistic about his chances in the Alabama 500.

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, and all of the Toyotas for that matter, have been strong at the superspeedways this year so we’ve worked together to figure out the best way to approach this weekend,” said Jones. “But it’s hard to execute plans once you’re out there, especially toward the end of the race. At the end of the day you have to do what you can to win and we’re in a position that there are fewer and fewer races for us to get that first win.”

This weekend, the TV panel of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota will sport the Martin Truex Jr. Foundation logo in honor of his Furniture Row Racing teammate. The signature teal and gold logo represents an emotional time for Truex Jr., whose foundation’s dual mission is ovarian and childhood cancers. Truex Jr’s longtime partner, Sherry Pollex, is fighting a recurrence of the ovarian cancer doctors first diagnosed in 2014. In 2016, she launched SherryStrong.org, a health and wellness site for women. For more information, visit MartinTruexJrFoundation.org.

Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 30 races. He trails Clint Bowyer for 17th place by 12 points. Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 255 points, six ahead of Daniel Suarez (249) and 72 ahead of Ty Dillon (183).

The 188-lap, 500-mile Alabama 500 will consist of three stages of 55/55/78 laps (55/110/188). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Saturday at 2:15 p.m. MT (4:15 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.

 

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
24 8/19 Bristol 1 2 500/500 260 Running 50 15
25 9/3 Darlington 10 5 367/367 0 Running 37 14
26 9/9 Richmond 10 6 404/404 0 Running 43 18
27 9/17 Chicago 24 33 259/267 0 Running 4 19
28 9/24 New Hampshire 8 6 300/300 0 Running 45 19
29 10/1 Dover 10 12 400/400 0 Running 25 19
30 10/8 Charlotte 38 17 337/337 0 Running 20 19
TOTALS/AVG. 15.3 16.1 7900/8708 310 748

 

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer David Mayo, Byron, Ga.
Front-Tire Carrier Richard Coleman, Orlando, Fla.
Rear-Tire Changer Brian Eastland, New Bern, N.C.
Rear-Tire Carrier Blake Haugland, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Jackman David O’Dell, Springfield, Ill.
Gasman Matt Tyrell, Plantation, Fla.

 

Road Crew

President Joe Garone, Denver, Colo.
Crew Chief Chris Gayle, Little Rock, Ark.
Car Chief Todd Brewer, Manassas, Va.
Race Engineers James Small, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Barber, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Engine Tuner David McClure, Carmichael, Calif.
Engine Builder Toyota Racing Development (TRD)
Spotter Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.
Shock Specialist Alex Michie, Woodslee, Ontario, CANADA
Tire Specialist Scott Simmons, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
Front-end Mechanic John Furino, East Meadow, N.Y.
Underneath Mechanic Cesar Villanueva, Parsippany, N.J.
Floater Mechanic Henry Katzke, Wausau, Wis.
Transportation Mike Clementson, Cambridge, Md.

Jason Taggart, Castleton, Vt.

Dave Shano, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Behind the Wall Support Gene Cornwell, Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach Driver Henry Benfield, Taylorsville, N.C.
IT Support Eric Cragun, Pleasant View, Utah

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Broken Suspension Hurts Erik Jones’ Finish

Erik Jones
Erik Jones salved a 17th-place finish in the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway on a day that began by going from bad to worse.

The right-rear shock mount of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota broke within the first 50 laps. Multiples stops to fix the issue under caution and then the start of a green-flag run put Jones down two laps to the leaders. He successfully battled throughout the rest of the race to get his laps back but the early issues hampered the team’s overall performance.

“It was just a frustrating day because, even after we fixed the car, we were so far back in the field that there wasn’t anything we could do to move forward for such a big part of the race,” said Jones. “The guys got the 5-hour ENERY Toyota running well but then it was just a battle to get back on the lead lap. I’m proud of all their effort because we never gave up. It’s been a tough couple of weeks but I know we all learned something today that will help down the road.”

The broken shock mount and multiple stops to remedy the situation left Jones with a 34th-place finish in Stage 1. During the pit stop under caution between stages, a heat shield was installed in the floor board under Jones’ feet after he radioed in to crew chief Chris Gayle how hot his feet were getting.

The second stage found Jones’ lap times competitive with the leaders but mired that deep in the field, he was able to pick up one lap on the leaders but only advance to 29th place by the end of the stage on Lap 190.

In the final stage, the lap times remained fast while the handling went from loose to tight. Gayle’s pit strategy during cautions as well as green-flag stops put the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota back on the lead lap with less than 60 laps remaining. Jones was 19th with 50 laps remaining and moved to 18th with 26 laps to go.

A caution with nine laps remaining allowed Jones to get fresh tires for the dash to the checkered. A subsequent caution put the race into overtime with the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing entry lined up on the outside of Row 7 for the green-white-checkered finish. Unfortunately, Jones was shuffled back to 17th by the time the checkered flag waved.

Jones remained 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 30 races. However, he closed the gap to 12 points to Clint Bowyer in 17th place.

Furniture Row Racing’s Martin Truex Jr. earned his sixth victory of the season. The balance of the top-10 finishers were: Chase Elliott, Kevin Harvick, Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, Daniel Suarez, Jimmie Johnson, Ryan Blaney, Kasey Kahne and Kyle Larson.

The race had 10 cautions for 44 laps and 14 lead changes among eight drivers.

The next race is Oct. 15 at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Even Ride Arounds Can Be Perilous

Erik Jones
Erik Jones was the designated driver for TV exhibition runs at Charlotte Motor Speedway, and just before 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Jones made a rookie mistake in the NBC Sports show car.

Coming off Turn 4 and into the tri-oval at the 1.5-mile track, Jones guided the car up to the outside wall, unaware that the crossover steps leading down from a gate just before the start / finish line were still in place. You can guess the rest. The right front of the car hit the metal stairs and demolished them! Jones never saw the steps.

“It definitely was a surprise,” Jones said after the NASCAR XFINITY Series drivers’ meeting. “I knew I’d hit something, obviously, but had no idea what it was or that it was as big as it was. I would have never guessed it was some stairs. It was definitely a weird way to start the day.”

Saturday may have been weird, but Friday was downright disappointing for the driver for the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota. Jones’ car didn’t pass inspection in time to make a qualifying run for Sunday’s Bank of America 500. Accordingly, he’ll start 38th.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Views Charlotte As Another Major Opportunity

Erik Jones
Erik Jones views his last race at Charlotte Motor Speedway as a major step forward in his 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season and the driver of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota sees Sunday’s Bank of America 500 as another opportunity to progress.

It was the Coca-Cola 600 in May that Jones and the Furniture Row Racing team earned its first top-five qualifying position (5th) and second top-10 finish (7th) of the season. Jones sees it as a turning point in his and the team’s rookie campaign.

“The 5-hour ENERGY team has progressed a lot since we were at Charlotte Motor Speedway in May,” said Jones. “Charlotte was the first track we got to race on (for the All-Star race) and then go back to for the 600. It gave us our own information to work from which was huge. The 600 was one of our first races where I felt competitive all day and we ran up front.

“As a team we’ve gotten a lot better since then, especially the past couple of months. We’ve come a long way to becoming more competitive week in and week out. I think we’ve taken what we’ve learned all year and are right there at the next step of getting better.”

Jones has found his first season in the NASCAR Cup Series to be an almost continuous learning experience, something he didn’t expect at the beginning of the year.

“I’ve never experienced in my career where I have to run so hard every lap,” said Jones. “There are so many little things that the drivers in the series are good at. I now get so much more data to work with and I found out that my competitors are really good at things I wasn’t really paying attention to because I always had fast cars and trucks to make up any shortcomings. It’s being perfect on pit road, restarts, and navigating traffic. It’s all the little stuff added together that makes a big difference.”

Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 29 races. He trails Clint Bowyer for 17th place by 22 points. Jones leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 254 points, 12 ahead of Daniel Suarez (242) and 72 ahead of Ty Dillon (182).

The 334-lap, 501-mile Bank of America 500 will consist of three stages of 90/90/154 laps (90/180/334). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and PRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. MT (7 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and PRN.

 

Erik Jones

2017 NASCAR Cup Series Results

No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota Camry

 

 

No.

 

Date

 

Event

 

St

 

Fn

 

Laps

Laps

Led

 

Status

 

Points

 

Rank

1 2/26 Daytona 34 39 103/200 0 Crash 1 37
2 3/5 Atlanta 23 14 325/325 0 Running 26 29
3 3/12 Las Vegas 8 15 267/267 0 Running 22 20
4 3/19 Phoenix 8 8 314/314 0 Running 33 18
5 3/26 Fontana 14 12 202/202 0 Running 34 15
6 4/2 Martinsville 15 12 500/500 0 Running 28 13
7 4/9 Texas 36 22 333/334 0 Running 15 14
8 4/24 Bristol 14 17 499/500 0 Running 33 12
9 4/30 Richmond 20 38 4/400 0 Crash 1 16
10 5/7 Talladega 14 33 168/188 0 Crash 7 20
11 5/13 Kansas 33 22 267/267 2 Running 17 19
12 5/28 Charlotte 5 7 400/400 0 Running 39 18
13 6/4 Dover 7 15 405/406 0 Crash 27 18
14 6/11 Pocono 15 3 160/160 20 Running 39 16
15 6/18 Michigan 14 13 200/200 0 Running 24 16
16 6/25 Sonoma 30 25 109/110 0 Running 12 16
17 7/1 Daytona 17 9 163/163 9 Running 28 17
18 7/8 Kentucky 14 6 274/274 0 Running 40 14
19 7/16 New Hampshire 6 39 40/301 0 Crash 1 17
20 7/23 Indianapolis 9 31 148/167 10 Crash 13 17
21 7/30 Pocono 9 8 160/160 4 Running 4 16
22 8/6 Watkins Glen 6 10 90/90 0 Running 33 18
23 8/13 Michigan 8 3 202/202 5 Running 47 16
24 8/19 Bristol 1 2 500/500 260 Running 50 15
25 9/3 Darlington 10 5 367/367 0 Running 37 14
26 9/9 Richmond 10 6 404/404 0 Running 43 18
27 9/17 Chicago 24 33 259/267 0 Running 4 19
28 9/24 New Hampshire 8 6 300/300 0 Running 45 19
29 10/1 Dover 10 12 400/400 0 Running 25 19
TOTALS/AVG. 14.5 16.0 7563/8371 310 728

 

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer David Mayo, Byron, Ga.
Front-Tire Carrier Richard Coleman, Orlando, Fla.
Rear-Tire Changer Brian Eastland, New Bern, N.C.
Rear-Tire Carrier Blake Haugland, Mount Ayr, Iowa
Jackman David O’Dell, Springfield, Ill.
Gasman Matt Tyrell, Plantation, Fla.

 

Road Crew

President Joe Garone, Denver, Colo.
Crew Chief Chris Gayle, Little Rock, Ark.
Car Chief Todd Brewer, Manassas, Va.
Race Engineers James Small, Melbourne, Australia

Jeffrey Barber, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Engine Tuner David McClure, Carmichael, Calif.
Engine Builder Toyota Racing Development (TRD)
Spotter Rick Carelli, Arvada, Colo.
Shock Specialist Alex Michie, Woodslee, Ontario, CANADA
Tire Specialist Scott Simmons, Cambridge, Ontario, CANADA
Front-end Mechanic John Furino, East Meadow, N.Y.
Underneath Mechanic Cesar Villanueva, Parsippany, N.J.
Floater Mechanic Henry Katzke, Wausau, Wis.
Transportation Mike Clementson, Cambridge, Md.

Jason Taggart, Castleton, Vt.

Dave Shano, Toronto, Ontario, CANADA

Behind the Wall Support Gene Cornwell, Rock Hill, S.C.
Coach Driver Henry Benfield, Taylorsville, N.C.
IT Support Eric Cragun, Pleasant View, Utah

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Finishes 12th At Dover

Erik Jones
Erik Jones battled an ill-handling No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota throughout Sunday’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover International Speedway but his determination paid off with a well-earned 12th-place finish.

Jones maintained 19th place in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 29 races. His 728 points is 13 behind Joey Logano in 18th and 22 behind Clint Bowyer in 17th. He is 75 points ahead of Daniel Suarez in 20th.

“The SiriusXM Toyota was always way too tight firing off regardless of what we did,” said Jones. “Just a frustrating day. I had to chase it up the hill in the turns all day. It was like I was skiing on the track all day. Just frustrating. Somehow we were able to salvage a 12th-place finish out of it.”

Jones lined up on the outside of Row 5 for the start of the 400-mile race. The handling of the 77 SiriusXM Toyota was tight from the green flag and stayed that way throughout the first two stages despite numerous chassis and air pressure adjustments. Jones was scored 17th at the conclusion of Stage 1 and 11th after Stage 2.

Quick work by the Furniture Row Racing pit crew put Jones back on track 10th to start the final stage on Lap 249. He maintained that position until lead cars began to pit under caution on Lap 320.

Jones cycled out in 12th place after a final green-flag stop on Lap 334 set the stage for run to the checkered flag.

The handling issues continued throughout the balance of the event. Jones maintained his position to take the checkered flag 12th.

The race winner was Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top 10 were: Chase Elliott, Jimmie Johnson, Truex, Kyle Larson, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Daniel Suarez, Jamie McMurray and Brad Keselowski.

The race had four cautions for 24 laps and a red flag for nearly 16 minutes. There were 15 lead changes among six drivers.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Erik Jones Had A Very Smooth Day In The ISM Connect 300

Erik Jones
A solid day both on the track and on pit road earned Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota team a sixth-place finish in the ISM Connect 300 NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Jones started eighth, on the outside of Row 4, and ran in the top 10 throughout Sunday’s 300-mile race on the flat 1-mile oval. It was the Furniture Row Racing team’s 12th top-10 finish of the season.

The strong showing was a bit of redemption for the race here in July when Jones, who had qualified sixth, crashed on Lap 40 due to a cut tire and was stuck with a 39th-place finish.

“I thought the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota was about a third-place car all day,” said Jones. “We just kind of missed the adjustment there on that long green-flag run and lost some track position, got behind a little bit and then never could quite get the car back the way it was. Just unfortunate – we just couldn’t close out quite as good as we were running, but a top-10 day, so a strong day again for us.”

The race’s first stage ran caution-free for the entire 75 laps. Jones picked up two positions in the first 25 laps and was in fifth place by Lap 41. A loose handling race car didn’t slow him down much because he took the green-and-white checkered flag at the end of the stage in fourth place, earning seven valuable championship points.

Jones started the second stage in sixth place after a solid pit stop during the break. The car’s handling was still on the loose side but he maintained the sixth spot until a caution slowed the field on Lap 149, one lap shy of the stage finish. A multiple-car crash ahead of him, including race leader and teammate Martin Truex Jr., allowed Jones to pick up two spots to again finish fourth and collect another seven championship points.

The race was red-flagged for nearly 12 minutes to clean up the back stretch. When it was lifted, Jones dove onto pit road and another strong performance by the pit crew put him back onto the track in fourth place for the final 150-lap stage.

The adjustments made seemed to do the trick early on, as Jones settled into third place by Lap 166 and maintained the position until pitting under caution on Lap 220. Multiple cautions over the final 80 laps found him running from fourth to 10th. He ran fifth on Lap 280 and lost one position in the ensuing 20 laps to cross the finish line in sixth place.

Jones is currently 19th in the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series point standings. He is 16 points behind Joey Logano for 17th, the highest position outside of the playoff contenders.

The race winner was Kyle Busch. The balance of the top 10 were Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Truex, Jones, Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!

Furniture Row Racing Reviews the ISM Connect 300

Martin Truex, Jr and Erik Jones

A gritty Martin Truex Jr. came back from adversity to finish fifth and rookie Erik Jones had another stalwart performance with a sixth-place result Sunday in the NASCAR Cup Series race at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Truex, who led 112 laps in the 300-lap race, won the first stage and picked up another playoff bonus point, bringing his total to 59.

(Note: there were only three lap leaders in the race: Kyle Busch (187), Truex (112) and Kyle Larson (1).

Truex was easily on his way to winning the second stage, but on the final lap of the stage he got collected in a multicar accident that started in front of him on the backstretch of the 1-mile oval.

“I could not see anything and I was just approaching the smoke and I’m like, ‘Oh no, where am I going to go?’ I mean, literally I couldn’t see anything.” explained Truex about the accident. “I just kind of kept slowing down and the 33 (Jeffrey Earnhardt) came by me on the outside and hit me and spun me down through there. Just unfortunate.

“We were coming to the green-white-checkered to win the second stage that would have been another bonus point, which would be helpful and, of course, you know we had damage and had to fight from the back of the pack the rest of the day. So proud of our effort to run fifth after all that, but it definitely (the accident) hurt our day.”

Truex’s No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota Camry suffered aerodynamic damage in the melee, but fortunately his crew was able to make repairs on pit road to send him back out. He restarted the final stage 18th and fought hard on one of the most difficult tracks to pass on to capture his 12th top-five and 19th top-10 finish of the season.

“We had a fast race car that was definitely capable of winning,” said Truex. “But after the accident the aero setback was too much to contend with to challenge for the victory. We gave it everything we had to come back and get a top five.”

Furniture Row Racing crew chief Cole Pearn said, “There’s something about this track that keeps us from winning. We had fast cars here the past four races, But I am happy that we had a fast car today and the way we battled back to finish fifth.”

Following a caution on Lap 264 and running 10th, Pearn made a strategic call when he opted for right-side tires only, which put Martin in the lead when the race restarted. But the cars that took four tires were difficult to fend off. The two-tire decision did make a difference in the end with Truex advancing five positions when the checkered flag waved.

Truex continues to lead the playoff standings with a 24-point lead and has an automatic transfer into the next round of the playoffs (Round of 12) as a result of winning last week at Chicagoland Speedway.

Jones, driving the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, was steady throughout the race. But during the final 150-lap stage his car was loose, then tight and back to loose. He moved into second place on Lap 200 and was fifth when the caution slowed the field on Lap 264.

“I thought we were about a third-place car all day and just kind of missed the adjustment there on that long green-flag run and lost some track position,” said Jones. “I got behind a little bit and then never could quite get the car back the way it was. We just couldn’t quite close it out, but a strong day again for us.”

Jones finished fourth in both Stage 1 and Stage 2, picking up 14 championship points. He ranks 19th in the driver point standings.

The ISM Connect 300 race winner was Kyle Busch. Rounding out the top 10 were Kyle Larson, Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, Truex, Jones, Clint Bowyer, Daniel Suarez, Ryan Blaney and Joey Logano.

TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!