Erik Jones and the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Extra Strength Toyota Camry team have hit their stride as the second half of the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series season begins with Sunday’s Overton’s 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
The Furniture Row Racing driver’s sixth-place finish last week at Kentucky Speedway was his fifth top-10 finish of the season and the first time the team has strung together consecutive finishes in the top 10.
“We ran well at Kentucky Speedway so it was a good building block for the 5-hour ENERGY team,” said Jones. “The crew did a great job on pit road all day and I learned a lot so, hopefully, this gives our Toyota Camry team some solid momentum heading into New Hampshire.”
Jones picked up three positions and is now 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series point standings after 18 races. He enters the New Hampshire Motor Speedway weekend 36 points behind Ryan Blaney for 13th place and 45 behind Joey Logano for 12th.
Jones now leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 193 points are four ahead of Daniel Suarez (189) and 27 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (166).
In three starts at New Hampshire Motor Speedway, Jones has one top-five and two other top-10 finishes, including a runner-up finish in last year’s NASCAR Xfinity Series race. He finished seventh in his two NASCAR Camping World Truck Series starts, in 2014 and 2015.
“I’ve been able to qualify and race well at New Hampshire in just the three times I’ve been there,” said Jones. “The pieces are really starting to come together for the whole program. Chris (Gayle, crew chief) continues to come up with great race strategy and the pit crew continues to improve every week. We’re starting to put ourselves into position more often so we just have to keep doing that and take advantage of situations when they happen.”
TIL NEXT TIME, I AM STILL WORKING ON MY REDNECK!