Erik Jones Is Focused On The Final Playoff Spot At Richmond

Erik Jones
Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 SiriusXM team needs a victory Saturday night at Richmond (Va.) Raceway to make the 2017 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs and driver Erik Jones believes his team has created the perfect situation to do just that.

The Federated Auto Parts 400 at the 0.75-mile oval is the final race of the 26-race regular season and the final opportunity for Jones & Company to achieve one the rookie driver and team’s goals: earn a spot in the 16-team 10-race playoffs.

“The SiriusXM Toyota team is really strong right now,” said Jones. “They’re working really hard, bringing great cars to the race track. We’ve known that we’ve needed to win for the last month or so and we’ve had strong race cars every week since then. We’ve had a great string of top-five and top-10 finishes but we haven’t quite got the job done.

“Running well and getting top 5s and top 10s is good for me and good for the team. It boosts our confidence up to the level it needs to be and I feel like the last three races we’ve really shown what we can do and where we can run. Now we just need to capitalize on it.”

The Furniture Row Racing team’s results the past three weeks account for three of their four top-five finishes of Jones’ rookie season. They finished third at Michigan International Speedway, second at Bristol Motor Speedway after earning their first series pole, and fifth last Sunday night at Darlington Raceway.

At Richmond in April, the No. 77 Toyota was caught up in a wreck just four laps into the race and Jones was credited with a 38th-place finish. Despite that early exit, Jones feels confident headed into the final race of the regular season.

“We’ve got one more shot at it at Richmond and I know we’ll bring a good race car there,” stated Jones. “We were fast there in the spring but, unfortunately, got caught up in a wreck early. Richmond is a place where I have a lot of experience and I feel more and more comfortable every time we go there. Hopefully, we can run well and take this momentum from the last three races and turn it into a win.

“Richmond can be wild so I’m sure it will be exciting. Hopefully, we’re not too much of the excitement. I’d be fine with just being in Victory Lane … excitement at the end of the night.”

Jones is 14th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 25 races but is 19th in the playoff standings. He also leads the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings. His 238 points are 12 ahead of Daniel Suarez (226) and 61 ahead of third-place Ty Dillon (177).

The 400-lap, 300-mile Federated Auto Parts 400 will consist of three stages of 100/100/200 laps (laps 100/200/400). Saturday’s race will air live beginning at 5:30 p.m. MT (7:30 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 3:45 p.m. MT (5:45 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
TOTALS/AVG. 14.8 16.3 6200/7000 310 611

 

2017 No. 77 Furniture Row Racing Team

 

Over-the-Wall Crew

Front-Tire Changer John Royer, Otis, Kan.
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!

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