Monday, Jan 30

Cut Tire Forces Early Exit for Erik Jones at Richmond

Erik Jones’ Toyota Owners 400 at Richmond International Raceway was over almost as soon as it began.

A cut left-front tire on Lap 5 sent the No. 77 GameStop Prey Toyota Camry into the outside retaining wall and a 38th-place finish in the 400-lap NASCAR Cup Series race at Richmond International Raceway.

Contact with the No. 5 of Kasey Kahne while running three-wide on Lap 1 caused the cut tire to go flat just four laps later. The damage from the heavy contact with the outside retaining was not reparable under NASCAR’s new competition rules.

“We got three-wide right on the start and then the 5 (Kasey Kahne) ran us up into the fence,” said Jones. “I was trying not to wreck everybody and then a couple laps later the GameStop Prey Toyota Camry cut a left-front tire. It’s just really a heartbreaking day. It’s not what we wanted, but we’ll just have to come back next week with another fast race car and try to run up front again.

“We’ve been getting a lot of stage points and been running up front and should have had a lot of good finishes. I think we had another good race car today – one that definitely could have got us up into the top 10, more stage points and a good finish out of it. But there’s got to be more respect showing. I mean, we’re one lap into a 400-lap race and we’re three-wide running people into the wall. It’s just really frustrating.”

Jones dropped four positions, to 16th, in the NASCAR Cup Series driver point standings. He is eight points behind Ricky Stenhouse Jr. for 15th and 36 behind Ryan Blaney for 12th



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