Erik Jones and the No. 20 Sport Clips Team Finish 8th at Darlington Raceway

DARLINGTON, S.C. (Sept. 2, 2018)

Sport Clips Racing logoBox Score Info:

RACE:  Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series – Bojangles’ Southern 500

TRACK: Darlington Raceway 

DRIVER:  Erik Jones  

CAR:  No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry

START: 7th


LAPS:  367/367

POINTS STANDINGS: 13th (679 points, -359 points out of 1st)

Post-Race Highlights:

·        Heading to Darlington Raceway for the Bojangles’ Southern 500, the No. 20 Sport Clips Toyota Camry team and Erik Jones unloaded with a throwback scheme honoring spotter Rick Carelli and his No. 6 REMAX truck scheme from 1996-1999. With a fast Camry from the start of the weekend, Jones qualified in the seventh position and after running in the top 10 for most of the 367-lap race, crossed the finish line in eighth place.

·        Following a brief delay for lightening and weather in the area, the Bojangles’ Southern 500 went green Sunday evening in front of a packed house. Firing off a little too tight, the No. 20 Camry came around after 15 laps and Jones began recording some of the fastest laps on track. Moving up to second behind Kyle Larson and pretty happy with the handling, Jones was called to pit road on lap 49 for a green-flag stop for four tires and fuel. The race remained green until the end of stage one on lap 100 with the Sport Clips team scored second. Jones made his second stop of the race for four tires, fuel and a small air pressure adjustment. An uncontrolled tire on the stop resulted in a penalty for the team and dropped Jones from second on the restart to the tail end of the field as the last car on the lead lap in 14th.

·        Making his way through the field with the help of Carelli, Jones reported that he was way too tight in traffic during the opening laps of stage two. The caution waved on lap 128 and Jones made another routine pit stop. Gaining two positions on pit road, Jones restarted the race on lap 133 from 12th. With a fast Camry and focused on the lead, Jones moved up to third before making a green-flag pit stop on lap 170 for four tires, fuel and adjustments. As teams utilized various pit strategies, Jones returned to the track one lap down in 13th. Making the most of his fast Camry and fresh tires, Jones was able to pass the leader to return to the lead lap and made his way up to fifth before the stage ended on lap 200. Crew chief Chris Gayle called Jones to pit road for a routine stop and the Sport Clips team restarted the race on lap 207 from fifth.

·        With the final stage of the Bojangles’ Southern 500 underway, Jones continued to run fast lap times and moved up to third before making a green-flag stop on lap 259 and again on lap 310 when he pitted from the second position. Unfortunately, as Jones was exiting pit road, the caution waved for a multi-car accident in turn four. The untimely caution trapped the No. 20 team one lap down. Opting to take the wave around when the leaders pitted, Jones restarted the race on lap 321 from sixth at the tail end of the field. Again navigating his way through the field with the guidance of Carelli, Jones was able to get a break on lap 328 when the caution waved for debris. The team called Jones to pit road for a routine stop and sent the Sport Clips Camry back on track in the sixth position for the lap 333 restart. The final caution waved on lap 343 and Gayle called Jones to pit road for his final stop of the race. Following the stop for four tires, fuel and adjustments, Jones restarted the race from fifth on lap 348. With the No. 20 Camry not firing off to Jones liking, he slipped several positions in the closing laps to cross the finish line in eighth.

·        Brad Keselowski won the race followed by Joey Logano, Kyle Larson, Kevin Harvick and Chase Elliott.

·        For the final regular season race, teams head to Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, September 9, 2018.


Post-Race Thoughts:

What happened tonight?

We had a really good car. It’s funny, you look at the last lap time and we were the first or second-fastest car. We just needed a long time to come in. I mean we needed 15 laps to get going and that’s just kind of how it was. I knew if they came down to some short restart stints, it was going to probably hurt us quite a bit unfortunately. The Sport Clips Camry was good. You can’t complain. We worked hard on it all night and had a fast car – had a car that I think if it would’ve stayed green, maybe we could have contended with (Kyle) Larson. You know Larson didn’t win either, so sometimes it’s just not your night to have a shot and tonight wasn’t ours.”


There was one lap where your crew chief Chris Gayle said your strategy would’ve been perfect, but it didn’t work out. Was it that kind of a night?

“We were on a different strategy than most of the other guys in the top three. We came a lap early because we were just trying to get out of that mess of cars with tires were in. It just didn’t work out. The caution came out and we got trapped a lap down and had to take a wave around and got stuck back in traffic, so along with that and not being good on the short run, it was kind of a big mess. Unfortunate we didn’t get a better result. A good night overall.”


Two top 10s at Darlington now. Do you get this place?

“I don’t know about that. I like it for sure. I enjoy coming here and I’ve had two really good cars. I’m looking forward to getting back next year. I really want to win this race someday. That’s the ultimate goal, so we’ll keep working at it. I thought today we were very close to being a car that was capable of it and just needed some longer runs and some more things to work our way and maybe we could’ve had a shot.”