Erik Jones Eyes Bristol For Possible First Cup Victory

Erik Jones
Erik Jones ran in the top five for the majority of his first NASCAR Cup Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway and has every reason to believe Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race is his best shot for taking the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota to victory and making the playoffs.

Though the final results of the April race show a 17th-place finish, the Furniture Row Racing driver finished Stage 1 in third place and Stage 2 in sixth. He ran as high as third in the final stage and was eighth on Lap 420 of 500 when contact with a lapped car sent the No. 77 Toyota into the Turn 3 wall. Jones was able to continue but his chances for victory were dashed.

“I think we’ve all got Bristol circled as a team,” said Jones. “We ran really well there in the spring. We didn’t get the finish we wanted, but we had a really fast race car. We’ve kind of got that one circled.

“We’ve been able to string together top-10 finishes over the last three races and three completely different types of tracks (Pocono, Watkins Glen, Michigan). That gives our 5-hour ENERGY team a lot of confidence heading into Bristol. Everything happens so fast there and we know for sure that things can happen out of our control but it’s always great racing there.”

Jones is currently 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 23 races. He’s just 12 points behind Ryan Newman for 15th but knows it’s going to take a win in one of the last three regular season races to make the playoffs. Crew chief Chris Gayle returns to the pit box after a two-week absence.

“It will be great having Chris back at the track,” Jones continued. “He’s obviously the leader of the team so we’re glad to be back at full strength. But I definitely want to thank James Small for everything he did in Chris’s absence the past couple of weeks.

“Obviously it’s a huge goal to make the playoffs, and I know we’re capable of it,” Jones continued. “The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota team just has to go out and make it happen, and it goes back to execution. I mean, we’ve had fast race cars at a number of races, we just haven’t put the whole day together, whether it be we didn’t qualify well or we qualified well and had a bad stop late or whatever else. It’s just going to take putting an entire weekend together.”

The 21-year old is second in the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 217 points are seven behind Daniel Suarez (224) and 43 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (174).

The 500-lap 266.5-mile Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race will consist of three stages of 125/125/250 laps (laps 125/250/500). Saturday’s race will air live beginning at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on NBC, SiriusXM 90 and PRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 3:45 p.m. MT (5:45 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM 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
TOTALS/AVG. 15.6 17.4 5333/6133 50 524

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

Martin Truex, Jr. Is Closing On The Regular Season Championship

Martin Truex, Jr.

After two consecutive drama-filled races that saw Martin Truex Jr. score a win at Watkins Glen International and runner-up at Michigan International Speedway, the Furniture Row Racing driver is now in position to mathematically clinch the regular season championship.

Truex enters Saturday night’s Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race with a 129-point lead over second place Kyle Larson. Truex will need to leave Bristol with at least a 121-point margin to clinch the NASCAR Cup Series regular season championship with two races remaining.

Winning the 26-race regular season championship is significant not only for prestige, but more importantly for securing an additional 15 playoff bonus points. Truex currently leads the NASCAR Cup Series with 35 playoff points. The 10-race playoffs start Sept. 17 at Chicagoland Speedway in Joliet, Ill.

Truex’s current series lead of 35 playoff points has been the result of winning four races (5 playoff points for each win) and claiming 15 stage victories (1 playoff point for each stage win).

“It might appear that we have a safe margin, but I’ve been around long enough to know that points can dwindle fairy quickly,” said Truex, who will drive the No. 78 Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Toyota at Bristol. “The next three races – Bristol, Darlington and Richmond – are at tracks where the odds are higher of your day ending prematurely.  So that’s why I am not looking ahead or counting points. All the focus right now is getting a good result in Bristol.”

The half-mile Bristol short track hasn’t been one of Truex’s best over the years with two top fives and three top 10s in 23 starts. But his performance at this year’s spring race at Bristol did show that he can be a contender at the high-banked, all-concrete oval. Truex qualified third, won the first stage and finished eighth overall. He led more laps – 116 – than he did in his previous 22 Bristol starts.

“We all know the consequences of Bristol,” noted Truex. “It’s a place where you can go from having a good day to a bad day rather quickly. Staying on the lead lap and not suffering any major damage to your car are key to having any kind of success there. The luck factor also comes into play. We had a good run there in the spring and look forward to the same in our Bass Pro Shops/Ducks Unlimited Toyota.”

Heading into Bristol Truex leads the NASCAR Cup Series in the following categories: race wins (4), top-10 finishes (16), driver points (933), playoff bonus points (35), stage wins (15), stage points (312), laps led (1372), miles led (1970), fastest laps (825), average starting position (7.3), average finishing position (10.7), average running position (7.8) and driver ranking (114.4).

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

Erik Jones Still Dreams About Winning At Michigan International Speedway

Erik Jones

Winning at his home track of Michigan International Speedway?

Of course Erik Jones thought about it. How could he not?

With the race halted by a red flag for a little over five minutes with just two green flag laps left in the Pure Michigan 400 on Sunday at Michigan International Speedway, Jones let his mind wander to what it would be like to win the race.

Not only would it have been the first win of his Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series career and lock him into the postseason, but it would have come at his home town track. A native of Byron, Mich., Jones grew up 99 miles from the racetrack.

“(The red flag) gives you a lot of time to play through scenarios on the restart and how you want it to work out. It’s very rare it ever works out the way you picture it in your head,” he said. And this one didn’t, either. Instead,  Jones settled for third.

He would have had to beat his teammate to get that win. Jones was second on the final restart alongside his Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr.

Before the question could even be asked, Truex said flatly Furniture Row Racing does not have so-called “team orders” and that there was no chance he would let Jones win.

Jones cannot make the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series playoffs on points, and will have to win one of the next three races to make the postseason.

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

Furniture Row Racing Reviews Their Qualifying Efforts At Michigan

Martin Truex, Jr and Erik Jones
Erik Jones qualified sixth and his Furniture Row Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. qualified 13th for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 at Michigan International Speedway.

Jones will line up his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota on the outside of Row 4 after a pole-round lap of 35.678 seconds at 201.805 mph around the 2-mile oval.

“It was a good effort for the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota, starting eighth on the outside so that hopefully bodes well for a strong day for us Sunday,” said Jones. “We’re going out there for a win so everything we do, all the calls we make, are going to be more aggressive. We have to take risks on the strategy side, I have to take risks on the race track just to put ourselves in position for a win. Obviously, track position is king here at Michigan so I’m just going to try to get out front and, hopefully, a great car and great strategy will get us that win.”

Truex will line up the No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota on the inside of Row 7 after a second-round lap of 35.774 at 201.263. It’s just the fifth time in 23 races this season that Truex and the No. 78 team haven’t advanced to the pole round in qualifying.

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

Erik Jones Thinks Aggressive Strategy Will Pay Off At Michigan

Erik Jones
The aggressive race strategy the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota team has developed throughout the season is something driver Erik Jones believes can pay off in a big way Sunday at Michigan International Speedway.

The Byron, Mich., native heads into the Pure Michigan 400 weekend in 18th place in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings with just four races remaining in the 26-race regular season. The need for a win in his rookie season is now paramount above earning his way into the playoffs in the point standings.

“We feel like we’ve been pretty aggressive on strategy pretty much every week and trying to give ourselves the best shot to win,” said Jones. “We’ve still gotten some good finishes out of it, but I definitely feel like we’re more aggressive on strategy than we were the first part of the year.  I think when you look at the schedule we feel like we’ve got some good tracks coming up. Michigan will be a good one for us. We’re not looking for top 10s. We’re looking to try to go out there and snag a win.”

Despite growing just 70 miles north of the 2-mile speedway in Brooklyn, Jones didn’t attend too many races there. What he may not have known at the time was he was preparing to compete twice annually at Michigan International Speedway.

“I didn’t go to MIS a ton when I was a kid” said Jones. “I actually only went a few times because we were racing. You know, I did go down there a few times. It was always just my dad and I, so that’s always a fun memory for me to look back on and think about. Obviously my dad was a race fan, and to share that time with him down there was pretty fun.

“My first truck race there (started seventh, finished third in August 2015) was a cool day, as well.  That was my first time ever at MIS (as a competitor), so I always kind of remember that day and hold it a little special. Just first race, the home track, it’s always kind of cool. I felt like I had to wait forever to get to run there with the age restrictions of NASCAR, but it was really cool to make my first start there.”

Jones has seen the improvement of both his Furniture Row Racing 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength team and that of manufacturer Toyota.

“Toyota has really come around here this part of the season I feel like,” said Jones. “We’ve been really strong now for about the last month.  We’ve had some really fast 5-hour ENERGY Toyotas and had an opportunity to win as a whole a number of races.  Being in fast race cars is always a welcome opportunity, obviously, and the start of the year we had fast race cars, but they just weren’t — I wouldn’t say they were near as good as they are now.”

The 21-year old is second in the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 203 points are 23 behind Daniel Suarez (226) and 31 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (172).

The 200-lap 400-mile Pure Michigan 400 will consist of three stages of 60/60/80 laps (laps 60/120/200).

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

The Jersey Boy Aims To Hit Another High Note This Weekend

Martin Truex, Jr.
With Michigan International Speedway (MIS) being the next stop on the NASCAR Cup Series schedule, Martin Truex Jr. has a similar feeling to what he had before last week’s race at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International.

The week leading up to Watkins Glen, Truex, a Mayetta, N.J. native, felt he was overdue on a road course after dominating the Sonoma (Calif.) road race before a late-race mechanical issue forced him to the garage. The feeling was a positive forecast for Truex, who won the drama-filled, fuel mileage race at the Glen.

Entering Michigan, Truex said the June race at MIS slipped away and feels his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota will have the power to contend for Sunday’s Pure Michigan 400 victory on the 2-mile oval.

The June race winner at MIS – Kyle Larson – said that Truex’s car was the “class of the field” and Truex agreed 100 percent. But late-race restarts in the non-preferred inside lane dropped the Furniture Row Racing driver to a sixth-place finish.

“Without a shadow of a doubt we had the best car out there,” said Truex about the Michigan race in June. “But those inside lane restarts at the end did us in. I would be awfully surprised if we’re not contending for a win this weekend. The beauty of this team and working with Cole (crew chief, Cole Pearn) is that we enter every race knowing we have a shot at a victory. They keep on bringing fast cars to the track every week.”

With four races remaining in the regular season Truex leads the NASCAR Cup Series in key categories – driver points (116-point margin over second place), wins (4), playoff bonus points (34), stage wins (14) and laps led (1315). The regular season champion will receive an additional 15 playoff points.

Truex has garnered nine top fives and 15 top 10s in the first 22 races of the season. His 9 top fives is a personal season high.

“As a group, we’ve been together for four years now, and I think it’s just evolution of our group and what we’ve been doing,” explained Truex about the team’s success. “Last year was certainly a successful season but felt like we didn’t show how good we really were. We didn’t achieve the things that we thought we were capable of, and so this year I feel like we’ve done a better job. Obviously we’ve been more consistent with the points lead and the stage wins and all those things.

“I think it’s just a credit to the team for being consistent and the pit crew being awesome and not having a lot of mistakes, So really it’s just a work in progress all the time, and I feel like we’re getting to where we want to be.  But we’ve got to keep working hard. This sport is very tough. It changes week to week. You never know what the next week is going to bring or three weeks from now, and our ultimate goal this year is to win our first championship together.”

In 23 starts at Michigan, Truex has five top fives, eight top 10s and has led 150 laps.

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

Erik Jones Earns First Road Race Top Ten Finish

Erik Jones
Erik Jones made big gains in his young road racing career by steering his No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota to a 10th-place finish in Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at The Glen.

It was Jones’ second straight top-10 finish and seventh of the season.

“The 5-hour ENERGY Toyota was good all day despite some brake issues from the beginning,” said Jones. “I thought we had a top-10 car, maybe a top-five car had circumstances played out. I had a bad stop and got boxed in behind the 43 (Aric Almirola) so we just didn’t quite get the finish that we wanted. But all in all it was a good day for our Furniture Row Racing team.”

Despite the top-10 finish, Jones dropped two positions, to 18th, in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 22 races. He is 31 points behind Daniel Suarez for 15th place.

The 21-year old qualified the Furniture Row Racing entry in the sixth position earlier in the afternoon, lining up out the outside of Row 3 for the 90-lap race on the 2.454-mile Watkins Glen International road course. He called over the radio early to interim crew chief James Small that there was an issue with the Toyota’s braking. He was able to maintain his starting position until pitting on Lap 17, three laps prior to the end of the day’s first stage. On a separate race strategy than many of the leaders, he finished the stage in the 25th position.

Those leaders did pit during the caution, however, which allowed the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota to start Stage 2 in seventh place. Jones picked up two spots in the running order by the end of the second 20-lap stage to earn six championship points for his efforts.

Small kept Jones on the racing surface during the second intermission, in doing so starting the 50-lap final stage in fifth place. Jones pitted under caution on Lap 53, taking four tires and fuel. He was boxed in by the car ahead of him while attempting to exit his pit, however, and returned to the field in 16th place for the restart on lap 55.

Jones was scored 18th on Lap 60 but picked up two positions by the end of Lap 70. He was 13th with 10 laps remaining, which was when the fuel strategy from the beginning of the race played out. Three of the cars ahead of him had to pit late for fuel which provided the opportunity for Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota to earn a solid 10th-place finish.

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

Kurt Busch Isn’t Too Worried About His Options In 2018

Kurt Busch & Gene Haas
Kurt Busch didn’t appear too stressed Saturday morning talking about his contract status.  Since Gene Haas and SHR did not pick up the contract option for 2018, he is now a free agent and able to look for 2018.   Whether he would return to Stewart-Haas Racing next season is highly questionable.

The 2004 NASCAR Cup champion has driven for SHR since 2014, but his sponsor Monster Energy and NASCAR title sponsor, has not announced a decision on whether it would return to SHR and Busch.

Busch, who turned 39 on Friday, won the 2017 Daytona 500 for his 29th career NASCAR Cup victory and sits 14th in the standings.

“They chose not to pick up my option, but I see it as good options for me,” Busch said Saturday before practice at Watkins Glen. “I’m not too worried about it. I feel like there’s more options out there than what exist here.

“The phone didn’t stop ringing all week and not just because it was my birthday.”

While SHR tweeted earlier this week that they expected Busch to return, Busch appears ready to move on if he gets a better or more solid offer. It likely will depend on sponsorship. Busch’s former home, Furniture Row Racing, is among those looking for funding to field a car next year, as are Hendrick Motorsports and Richard Childress Racing.

“I’m looking for the best possible options to race a competitive car that has got a chance to win races, win poles and compete for a championship,” Busch said. “There are different cars that are options for me, and Stewart-Haas is one of them.”

SHR made the transition this year to Ford, and that might have contributed to the organization not being as dominant as in the past. Busch and Kevin Harvick have wins to qualify for the playoffs. Clint Bowyer is 10th in the standings while Danica Patrick is 28th. Harvick has sponsorship for next season and the team already is committed to Bowyer. Patrick’s status remains in limbo pending sponsorship.

“The disruption of them not picking up my option [is] it gets the crew guys all flustered [and] Ford is very surprised by it,” Busch said. “We’ve just got to stay focused and stay sharp. There’s no reason to not think I couldn’t be back here. It’s a matter of making it all work out. I’m not too worried about it.”

Busch is in his 17th NASCAR Cup season.

“There’s no stress whatsoever,” Busch said. “There’s plenty of time for all different options to unfold. … There are a couple of offers already so we’ll see how things play out.”

It will be very interesting to see just where KuBu lands for 2018.  It is likely that he could land at any of the aforementioned teams, RCR, HMS, FRR or, in fact, be back in his familiar digs at SHR.

Any bets on what seat KuBu sits in to start the 2018 season?

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

Can Martin Truex, Jr. Close The Deal At The Glen?

Martin Teuex,Jr.
It’s not just one that got away, but more like three that got away from Martin Truex Jr. when it comes to road course racing.

With the second and final NASCAR Cup Series road race of the season scheduled for Sunday at Watkins Glen (N.Y.) International, Truex feels his No. 78 Furniture Row/Denver Mattress Toyota will once again be contending for a trip to Victory Lane.

Two years ago at the central New York 2.45-mile road circuit, Truex felt he was in position to win the fuel mileage race, having enough gas in the tank to pass the leaders. But a cut tire as a result of contact with another car on a late-race restart squelched his shot at a victory.

“I thought we had that one, our strategy played out perfectly until we got rammed by another car,” recalled Truex.

Last year at the Glen, Truex was running down leader Denny Hamlin but on the final lap he got bumped from behind and spun out. He still managed to pull off a seventh-place finish.

“It was close, I was right there with Denny,” said Truex. “It would have been nice to see if we could have caught him.”

And back in June at the Sonoma Raceway road course Truex’s No. 78 Camry was the class of the field, but an engine failure late in the race sent him to the garage.

“Before the engine expired, we were running on seven cylinders and still posting one of the fastest laps – that’s how good of a car we had.”

Though he has missed out on some recent road race victories, Truex knows how to finish off a NASCAR Cup road race. His second career win came at Sonoma Raceway in 2013.

“All we want this weekend is a similar performance to what we had in our recent road races,” said Truex. “Those were winning performances but problems beyond our control prevented our Furniture Row Racing team from getting the victory. Sooner than later the road races have to play in our favor.”

After 21 races, Truex has scored three wins, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. He leads the driver standings by an 85-point margin. He also leads in playoff points with 29. The driver who ranks No. 1 after the 26-race regular season will earn an additional 15 playoff points.

Truex’s career record at Watkins Glen includes: 11 starts, three top fives and six top 10s. His starting average is 15.9 and finishing average is 13.1. He has completed 100 percent of the laps – 992 out of 992.

The 90-lap I Love New York 355 at the Glen will consist of three stages of 20/20/50 laps (laps 20/40/90).

Truex’s Cup Record at Watkins Glen International

 

Year Start Finish Status/Laps Laps Led
2006 35 28 Running, 90/90 0
2007 12 6 Running, 90/90 0
2008 18 5 Running, 90/90 0
2009 23 28 Running, 90/90 0
2010 25 15 Running, 90/90 0
2011 9 4 Running, 92/92 0
2012 9 10 Running, 90/90 0
2013 3 3 Running, 90/90 0
2014 25 13 Running, 90/90 0
2015 2 25 Running, 90/90 5
2016 14 7 Running, 90/90 1

 

Watkins Glen International Totals

 

Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Laps Completed AvgSt AvgFn DNF
11 0 3 6 0 6 992 of 992

100%

15.9 13.1 0

And back in June at the Sonoma Raceway road course Truex’s No. 78 Camry was the class of the field, but an engine failure late in the race sent him to the garage.

“Before the engine expired, we were running on seven cylinders and still posting one of the fastest laps – that’s how good of a car we had.”

Though he has missed out on some recent road race victories, Truex knows how to finish off a NASCAR Cup road race. His second career win came at Sonoma Raceway in 2013.

“All we want this weekend is a similar performance to what we had in our recent road races,” said Truex. “Those were winning performances but problems beyond our control prevented our Furniture Row Racing team from getting the victory. Sooner than later the road races have to play in our favor.”

After 21 races, Truex has scored three wins, eight top fives and 14 top 10s. He leads the driver standings by an 85-point margin. He also leads in playoff points with 29. The driver who ranks No. 1 after the 26-race regular season will earn an additional 15 playoff points.

Truex’s career record at Watkins Glen includes: 11 starts, three top fives and six top 10s. His starting average is 15.9 and finishing average is 13.1. He has completed 100 percent of the laps – 992 out of 992.

The 90-lap I Love New York 355 at the Glen will consist of three stages of 20/20/50 laps (laps 20/40/90).

Truex’s Cup Record at Watkins Glen International

 

Year Start Finish Status/Laps Laps Led
2006 35 28 Running, 90/90 0
2007 12 6 Running, 90/90 0
2008 18 5 Running, 90/90 0
2009 23 28 Running, 90/90 0
2010 25 15 Running, 90/90 0
2011 9 4 Running, 92/92 0
2012 9 10 Running, 90/90 0
2013 3 3 Running, 90/90 0
2014 25 13 Running, 90/90 0
2015 2 25 Running, 90/90 5
2016 14 7 Running, 90/90 1

 

Watkins Glen International Totals

 

Races Win T5 T10 Pole Laps Led Laps Completed AvgSt AvgFn DNF
11 0 3 6 0 6 992 of 992

100%

15.9 13.1 0

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

Erik Jones Goes To School At The Glen

Erik Jones
Erik Jones grabbed his helmet and went back to school to prepare himself for Sunday’s I Love New York 355 at the Watkins Glen International road course.

The No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota driver made the trip to Watkins Glen International on July 20 to seek out the expertise of legendary road racer and instructor Chris Cook. Jones has raced on the 11-turn, 2.45-mile road course only once, qualifying 13th and finishing 12th in last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race.

“I went up there to Chris Cook’s school, made some laps and got a good visual of the track,” said Jones. I’ve been there only once, in the NASCAR Xfinity Series, so it was nice to get a visual in something that’s a little bit slower. You can really see the whole track that way and get a good idea of where you want your car to be. Chris was able to come out and help me out with a few things that I fought in the Xfinity Series car. Hopefully, that will help and give me a head start headed into the weekend.

“I also did some simulator work this week to prepare for the race. I think it’s always helpful to get in the simulator to at least get another visual and another feel for being back on the track before I get there for real. It reiterated everything I saw there with Chris and will hopefully give me a head start when we unload the 5-hour ENERGY Toyota on Friday.”

Jones and the No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Toyota team bounced back with a resilient eighth-place finish last Sunday at Pocono Raceway after not making it to the checkered flag in the previous two races at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Indianapolis Motor Speedway. It was Jones’ sixth top-10 finish of the season and second straight top 10 at Pocono (he finished third in the June race there).

“It felt good to get another solid finish at Pocono after the previous couple of weeks,” said Jones. “Chris [Gayle, crew chief] and the engineers had another good strategy that played out pretty well until we had the gun malfunction on pit road. That put is behind but we were able to get back into the top 10. We had a top-five car at the end so it would have been nice to see what we could have done if we’d had the chance to get up there.”

Jones is 16th in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 21 races. He is 22 points behind Ryan Newman for 15th place.

The 21-year old is second in the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 202 points are 10 behind Daniel Suarez (212) and 31 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (171).

The 90-lap I Love New York 355 at the Glen will consist of three stages of 20/20/50 laps (laps 20/40/90). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at 1 p.m. MT (3 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, two rounds) is also scheduled for Sunday at 10:05 a.m. MT (12:05 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM 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 29 16
TOTALS/AVG. 16.4 18.5 5041/5841 45 469

 

 

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

Chris Yerges, Green Bay, Wis.

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!