Erik Jones logged time this week in both the driver’s seat and the barber chair in preparation for this week’s Apache Warrior 400 at Dover (Del.) International Speedway.
The majority of the preparation for the driver of Furniture Row Racing’s No. 77 SiriusXM Toyota came by way of his participation in a Goodyear tire test Tuesday at Bristol (Tenn.) Motor Speedway.
“You know I think Dover is just a bigger Bristol in a way,” said Jones. “So there’s similar handling characteristics, similar things you fight. Hopefully, we can take some things we learned up there (to Dover). We didn’t really get to try a lot setup wise. Maybe there were some things that we learned along the way that will apply over to it.”
At Dover in June, Jones lined up the No. 77 Toyota in sixth place for the overtime restart but was collected in a multicar crash on the final lap. The team settled for a 15th-place finish.
“We learned a lot from the Dover race in June about what we need to do to be a little bit better this weekend,” said Jones. “We had probably a top-7 car but got caught up in a wreck there at the end. Dover is a track I really like and am comfortable at so we just need to keep the momentum rolling.
“We’ve had a lot of good weeks the past couple of months so hopefully we can run in the top five all day and keep that trend doing. Eventually, one of these races is going to work into our hands.”
Jones is 19th in the NASCAR Cup Series standings after 28 races. He trails Joey Logano for 17th place by 16 points. Jones continues to lead the 2017 Sunoco Rookie of the Year standings with 253 points, 16 ahead of Daniel Suarez (237) and 72 ahead of Ty Dillon (181).
Jones also took time this week to get his hair cut, ending the era of his mullet hairdo which had taken on a popularity of its own since getting it cut it into the style on his 21st birthday in May.
“It was hot, got really long and I just honestly got tired of it every day when I was getting up in the morning,” said Jones. “I was just ready to go back. I was done with it. I had my fun but it was over.”
The 400-lap, 400-mile Apache Warrior 400 will consist of three stages of 120/120/160 laps (120/240/400). Sunday’s race will air live beginning at noon MT (2 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN. Qualifying (multi-car, three rounds) is scheduled for Friday at 1:40 p.m. MT (3:40 p.m. ET) on NBCSN, SiriusXM NASCAR Radio Channel 90 and MRN.