Sunday, Dec 03

Erik Jones, No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry Race Recap for the Bluegreen Vacations 500k

Race Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 1 Winner: Denny Hamlin of Joe Gibbs Racing (Toyota)

Stage 2 Winner: Joey Logano of Team Penske (Ford)


Stage 1 Recap (Laps 1-75):

Jones started ninth and finished 13th.

● At lap 25, the driver of the No. 20 Toyota Camry reported that his racecar was “really, really tight” and “getting worse every lap.”

● Jones dropped a spot after the start and steadily ran 10th until catching up to lapped traffic with less than 20 laps to go.

● The Interstate Batteries driver fell to 11th as he maneuvered through the tail end of the lapped pack.

● When the first caution of the race came out with nine laps to go in the stage, Jones and most of the lead pack pitted.

● After quick work in the pits, Jones restarted in 10th.

● As the drivers raced the final two laps of the stage, Jones was shuffled as far back as 15th before making up two spots to finish 13th.


Stage 2 Recap (Laps 76-150):

Jones started 11th, finished 17th.

The Interstate Batteries driver was running in 13th at lap 90.

● With 35 laps to go in the stage, Jones had fallen slightly to 16th. He held steady there as racing stayed caution-free.

● Jones got passed with less than 10 laps to go and remained in 17th to finish the stage.


Stage 3 Recap (Laps 151-312):

Jones started 19th, finished seventh.

During the post-stage caution at lap 153, Jones brought the No. 20 to pit road, entering in 17th and exiting to restart 19th.

The Interstate Batteries driver quickly shot up to 12th after the lap-160 restart and was up to 11th by lap 165.

The caution came out on lap 166 for a single-car incident when the No. 9 of Chase Elliott had an issue that sent it smashing into the wall.

On the ensuing lap-173 restart, Jones vaulted up to eighth.

Jones kept the No. 20 in the eighth spot for the next 40 laps, then briefly fell back as far as 10th.

Green-flag pit stops began on lap 244, and Jones had advanced to fifth when he brought theInterstate Batteries Toyota Camry to pit road at lap 247.

Jones returned to the track in ninth, then advanced to eighth.

As Jones ran in eighth for the next 60 laps, racing stayed green until a caution was called with nine laps to go.

He pitted during the caution for four tires and fuel for the final push to the checkered flag.

Jones came out in eighth and raced up to seventh to finish the race.



● Jones’ seventh-place finish is his 16th top-10 of the season and his fourth top-10 in seven career races at Phoenix.

● Denny Hamlin won the Bluegreen Vacations 500kto score his 37th career Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series victory, his sixth of the season and his third at Phoenix. His margin of victory over second-place Kyle Busch was .377 of a second.

● There were five caution periods for a total of 32 laps.

● Only 15 of the 39 drivers in the Bluegreen Vacations 500k finished on the lead lap.


Erik Jones, driver of the No. 20 Interstate Batteries Toyota Camry for Joe Gibbs Racing:

“We struggled with the handling on our Interstate Camry early in the race. We made good adjustments but track position was everything.  We had a really fast racecar at the end but we just needed a few more cautions. We had a solid top-10 day and we’re ready to head to Homestead to finish up the season.”


Team Interstate Results:

Denny Hamlin finished first.

● Kyle Busch finished second.

● Martin Truex Jr. finished sixth.

● Erik Jones finished seventh.


Team Interstate Points:

Martin Truex Jr. (5,000 points) – CLINCHED BERTH IN CHAMPIONSHIP 4

Denny Hamlin (5,000 points) – CLINCHED BERTH IN CHAMPIONSHIP 4

Kyle Busch (5,000 points) – CLINCHED BERTH IN CHAMPIONSHIP 4

Erik Jones (16th with 2,157 points)


Next Up: The next event on the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series schedule is the season-ending Ford EcoBoost 400 on Sunday, Nov. 17 at Homestead-Miami Speedway. The final race of the 10-race playoffs starts at 3 p.m. EST with live coverage provided by NBC.



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